Well, I’m supposed to post my “state of the projects” here, but my summer plans have been mostly upended. So I’ll just share a little about the progress I have made. This is partly for your entertainment (hah!) and partly to keep me honest.
These have been entirely dormant. I make time to write almost every day, but book reviews and blogging take up a lot of that time.
Probably the most exciting surprise of my summer has been writing about the Saint John’s Bible. Commissioned in 1998 and completed in 2011, the Saint John’s Bible is a modern illuminated manuscript of the Bible, executed by some of the best calligraphers and illuminators alive today. My university library’s archives and special collections department, where I work, has one of the high-quality “Heritage edition” facsimiles of this seven-volume set. I’ve been assigned the task of writing blurbs for the illuminations throughout the text. Basically I get to write about Scripture. And I get paid. Those things have to go in bold because they are so exciting.
This summer I am learning German with the help of two Germanophile friends and April Wilson’s German Quickly. I’m mainly doing this for my modern research language. (German is really important in biblical studies.) I can’t say I’m as far as I hoped to be. Right now I’m in chapter five, part two. That said, Wilson’s book is really fun, in the same way Wheelock’s is: the exercises are witty proverbs or funny stories rather than bland pedagogical exercises.
This summer I am reading some Homer with my friend Brian (check out his blog!). We are working through parts of Steadman’s glossed reader of Odyssey books 9-12. So far we’ve gotten through almost 200 lines after two meetings. I think that’s progress.
I’m also getting adjusted to Koine Greek with the help of Rodney Decker‘s Koine Greek Reader and Seumas (aka The Patrologist). The language is easy, but Seumas is helping me get some of the distinctive idioms and usages of Koine Greek. I’m really liking Decker’s reader because he includes not only New Testament, but also Septuagint and non-canonical early Christian literature in the reader. So far we’ve done eight readings.
As for my summer reading challenge, I’m going slower than I wanted to … however this is in part because of other reading I am doing, such as a reading group with a professor on Greco-Roman religion. (We just finished reading about Orphism: Guthrie’s classic book, the Orphic Hymns, the golden funerary tablets, and the Derveni Papyrus.) I’m shifting gears away from the Greco-Roman material and into biblical material more directly. Honestly though, I’m happy to not get all the reading done. Even doing some of it will be helpful as I begin graduate school in biblical studies.
Onward and upward!