Sunday roundup #8: 8.17.14.

As my summer winds into its last month, I am frantically scrambling to finish my language projects: reviewing Greek grammar for the fall, working through Wheelock’s to get ready for intermediate Latin, beginning to translate Hosea for my research assistant job, and now trying to get halfway through Wheeler Thackston’s Qur’anic Arabic grammar in time for my fall (informal) Arabic class.


One of the joys of learning Arabic has been the ease of acquiring vocabulary via Hebrew cognates.  As one Amazon reviewer puts it:

YOU ALREADY KNOW 80% OF KORANIC GRAMMAR, and about 30% of the roots. [link]

So as I go through Thackston, I am noting any Hebrew cognates I come across, using this chart to look up possibilities in BDB.  I hope to post a PDF of the cognates for each chapter so that others can build their Arabic vocabulary rapidly too.  My Hebrew vocabulary is expanding as well.

Anyway, for your reading pleasure:

1.  Gabriel Said Reynolds writes on the danger of using Modern Standard Arabic to read the Qur’an:

As Mun’im Sirry points out in his recent work Scriptural Polemics: The Qurʾan and Other Religions (esp. 66-89), many modern commentators understand Qurʾanic occurrences of dīn to denote “religion,” and indeed translators almost always render dīn “religion” (for Q 3:19 I did not find any cases where it is translated otherwise). This has important consequences, especially with verses such as Q 3:19 and 85, which can be read to mean that Islam is the only acceptable religion. Yet in light of Semitic and non-Semitic cognates (such as Syriac dīnā), Qurʾanic dīn might have—in some instances at least—a more general meaning of “judgment” (hence the phrase yawm al-dīn). In other instances, dīn might mean something closer to religious disposition, rather than religion in the modern sense of a communal system of faith and worship. Accordingly, students of the Qurʾan should be wary of reading dīn, or any Qurʾanic term, through the lens of Modern Standard Arabic.

2.  Seumas Macdonald at Compliant Subversity writes two great posts introducing patristic literature: What is Patristics? and The Patristic Literature.  (Seumas, I am still working on your reader for the Martyrdom of Polycarp!)

3.  The EerdWord blog introduces two very interesting books: James R. Davila’s collection of Old Testament pseudepigrapha, and Michael Graves’ book on scripture in the early Church:

Augustine dealt with differences between the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew Masoretic Text of the Old Testament — an exegetical challenge if ever there was one — by affirming the divine inspiration of both texts. Just as the Holy Spirit inspired different messages through Isaiah and Jeremiah, he reasoned, so also the Hebrew text and the Greek text of a single passage of Scripture are both inspired by God, even though they say different things. 

4.  I am really enjoying Bill Mounce’s “Nuggets in the Biblical Greek” repostings from the archives on ἀπόλλυμι (‘to destroy’) and μυριάς (‘ten thousand,’ or more colloquially ‘a bijillion’):

Sorry to not be able to give you a cut and dry answer. There is nothing in the word that necessitates apollumi means a permanent and total destruction. I think this was the question I was asked. It certainly can carry that meaning, but it is context (including one’s theological understanding of the ideas conveyed by the word) that make the final decision.

5.  Jacob Cerone ponders the nuance of ἅπτω (‘to touch’) in Mark’s gospel:

What do you think? Does Mark use ἅπτω (to touch) in connection with Jesus’ ministry of healing, or has he departed from his established usage of ἅπτω throughout the Gospel in favor of its broader semantic range?

6.  Last but not least, for those of you with a madness for Greek — starting 2015, a group is reading through Greek Psalms in a year!


One thought on “Sunday roundup #8: 8.17.14.

  1. Seumas

    Seumas, I am still working on your reader for the Martyrdom of Polycarp

    Very glad to hear it! I am working away on preparing the Greek version of Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis at the moment.


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