As all SAIACS students will know… I’m right now in the peace-n-rest phase… which is the time between modules. Just finished Greek Translation. Will begin Greek Exegesis (Luke) on Monday. But these two days (Sat/Sun) Aaaah. Peace-n-rest!

Well, this week was wild. I was teaching four Research Method classes (two for MTh and two for MA), and also had to prepare an exam for the MA Research Method Class. Plus, I had to prepare for my own exam. So, while it wasn’t the busiest I have ever been, I was still quite busy. (Again many time-management lessons to be learned!)

The teaching went really well, I thought. I divided the class into two sections MTh (Theology/Pastoral Theology/Christian Ed) and MA. With the MTh I focussed on Methodological Issues, while with the MA I focussed on critical reading. I liked what I was doing, though I wish I had done the MA classes better. The MA students found the Newbigin article I gave them (a select chapter from Gospel as Public Truth) quite tough, and so I think I discouraged them a little. Unintentionally of course.

With the MTh, it went really well. I introduced them to methodology through method in Pastoral Theology. I liked the way I did it, basically seeing methodological issues in how a theologians use definitions and taxonomies. I used an excerpt of Steward Hiltner, an important name in Pastoral Theology (Preface to Pastoral Theology). I think the class found it helpful. Of course that’s my own subjective opinion, but I must admit that I wish we had something like this in our time.

I knew more Greek than I thought… I indeed need to understand/internalise Greek to be able to use it

On to Greek… my exam went well… in both senses. I knew I did well (personally)… and Cor also graded my paper and said that I did well. It was a simpler exam than I thought, but I also felt ready/prepared. Of course, John is a relatively easy Greek text. So maybe this was a nice encouraging start to advanced Greek!

The main thing I learned in these four weeks with Greek Translation was that I knew more greek than I thought; especially since last year I had focussed on understanding rather than memorizing. I felt vindicated that we indeed need to understand/internalise greek to be able to use it.

I also learned that Greek “translation” is essential for exegesis. It’s literally the first step of any interpretative exercise. I didn’t come up with any great insights… ie. the English translations were pretty accurate (as far as John was concerned), but I enjoyed looking from the greek perspective. I found myself discovering a ‘new’ emphasis which was missed in greek, or simply the way Greek was ordered or phrased was unique. It was like reading the text afresh.

Finally, I learned that biblical languages are hard, but not impossible. And I know I have overcome a lot of my phobia about languages, simply by this exercise.

Of course Cor did help a lot, simply by allowing me to continue focussing on understanding rather than memorization. Hence I used the Analytical Lexicon for everything! Still… the value of doing this, I’m sure I can’t fully specify, but it sure feels great.

End of PDP(i): Greek Translation.

Tomorrow, Monday July 3, I begin PDP(ii): Greek Exegesis Luke’s gospel.