Check out my guest post on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog
Check out my guest post on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed blog
Here is the first Logos video tutorial I’ve made to correspond with my intro grammar.
Greek Nouns in Bible Software (by danzac1979)
Update: thanks to Mark Goodacre for giving me some explanation - its why I love the internet! He said on FB:
BUT….if this recent book review is all that was written, then someone on the RBL review board really needs to provide some rationale. As one of my Facebook friends said, it is “the best/worst book review” he had ever seen!
What is really odd is that it is by a senior scholar in the field - in fact I consider Dale Allison to have few peers. Now again, perhaps there was an error. But perhaps he just didn’t have time to do it so he submitted an abstract. But how is it that it would still be published? I would hope that, whether you are a senior or junior scholar, the RBL would require a little more reviewing to take place in a book review.
Now having said all of that: if RBL has lowered its standards then I’ll start publishing numerous “book reviews” of the same sort right away — It will be a good way to beef up that CV of mine !
For those interested in the unfolding saga of my Greek textbook, ch.2 is embedded below. What do you think?
I think most NT scholars have been aware that the term “socio-rhetorical” is being used in different ways in the field. Vernon Robbins is the name tied to the origins of socio-rhetorical criticism, and more recently David DeSilva as well. There is a socio-rhetorical SBL group for these like-minded folk.
At the same time we have the prolific Ben Witherington III (I always refer to him by his own self-created initials now, BW3). BW3 has written commentaries that he labels “socio-rhetorical.” Yet the flavor or his work is quite different. he does focus on rhetoric, but I wouldn’t say it is so radically different from other critical commentaries in the field. Reading from the Robbins et al. camp has a different feel.
So I have wondered on occasion what the original posse of socio-rhetors thought of BW3 and vice versa. I’m pretty certain BW3 is not part of the SBL group on the subject (there is no obligation to be of course), at least he wasn’t there in the sessions I managed to attend. I also noticed that Robbins (and others) names were never really prominent in BW3’s socio-rhetorical commentaries. Again, he is not obligated to engage these texts. But given the narrow classification of “socio-rhetorical” one would think there would be engagement.
All of that to say, most NT scholars have recognized that we have two camps doing their own thing under the same banner of “socio-rhetorical criticism” to mark their camp (one camp happens to be single man tent, or perhaps a 2-man tent with Craig Keener hanging out with BW3 a little). It is annoying and probably contributes to the lack of engagement with this type of criticism at the introductory-textbook level. Reading the Robbins camp, and the fine example by David DeSilva here and here, it is pretty clear what the term means for that camp. For BW3 it seems that there is just more of a focus on rhetoric and social aspects of the text (which are important by the way!)
With the recently published review of BW3’s What’s in the Word: Rethinking the Socio-Rhetorical Character of the New Testament we have a not-so-friendly review by Vernon Robbins that makes it clear that we definitely do have different camps using the same label but meaning very different things. I don’t particularly like the review, It is clear Robbins had an axe to grind and doesn’t like that BW3 is a conservative evangelical. But on another level I can understand - Robbins has spent a lot of his life’s work on developing the official socio-rhetorical method, and BW3 doesn’t seem to care enough to even engage with his work and kind of high-jacked the term. That would bug me too.
I’ve finished writing a short introduction to my Greek textbook. If you have time or the interest, read it and let me know what you think!
I’m teaching hermeneutics at the undergraduate level this fall. I have taught the course once before, two years ago, and have decided to change the textbook.
I inherited the textbook from the previous teacher and it is a decent textbook, but I wanted to change it up a little bit. Previously we had used Grasping God’s Word.
One of the reasons I’ve thought it necessary to change is because I’ve decided to integrate Logos bible software into the course. Students will be required to have Logos and we’ll be working with it pretty quite a bit.
I originally thought I would go with the recently released All Roads Leads to the Text. I was excited when I read about the book and saw the TOC, but in reviewing it more thoroughly I’ve realized that this is a book more for graduate level, and knowledge of the languages is necessary. So I went on the hunt for something else and have found it. It is called Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation. There are several reasons I really like this textbook:
If you notice my title, I said “textbooks”. The other reason I like the above textbook is because it gives me time not only to do Logos work with the students, but also to review a great little book by Scot McKnight called The Blue Parakeet. I’ll have the last few classes dedicated to discussing this book, and incorporate part of it in the take-home exam. It will provide for some great classroom discussion.
As always, I’m looking forward to teaching with a great textbook.
Well it is getting to that point where I just need to shut up and do the work, so I thought I’d share the work with the few who are reading. Hear is the first instruction video hot off the presses. Please do let me know what you think—good or bad.
New Testament Greek vowel contraction (by danzac1979)
It isn’t a stretch to say that we are entering into a new era of publishing. E-books outsell print books now. At the same time, the major Bible software guys have great iPad apps to carry around your library on your tablet device. There are also companies like vook, Inkling, and Apple’s free iBooks Author that make it possible to create eBooks with multimedia content built right in and available to purchase right from tablets! Vook is great because it distributes via Kindle and iBooks store, Inkling is great because of its social media components and its ability to sell each book as a standalone app.
Publishing is changing, and of all of the types of books in the world, I can’t think of a better type of book to embrace these enhancements than textbooks.
Once I complete the textbook and all of its components, I want people to say WOW! Here are the WOW factors:
Most Greek teachers shy away –better yet downright discourage - the use of Bible software in the introductory courses for biblical Greek and biblical Hebrew. I was one of those for quite some time. Now I’m a tech whiz: I use accordance and Logos like a boss, I teach others how to do it, and I regularly get questions from friends, colleagues, students, and people I don’t even know on how to use Bible software. Bible software is amazing! When I stop and think about the seconds it takes me to do masterful searches compared to the time it would’ve taken senior scholars in the field and long since passed away scholars, I always remind myself to be grateful.
But—it is a crutch. It is very easy to just rely on the software to tell you everything. I acknowledge that as a danger but I also want to be realistic. Most pastors who are actually working with the original languages are doing it via Bible software. Our warnings to “keep away lest your mind become lazy” have largely been ignored. And I think they were right to ignore us.
Don’t get me wrong, I have not given up on students who sincerely want to learn how to read Greek unaided. But pastors today need such a wide skill set that, unless they are one of the determined few, they will not be sitting in their church office parsing Greek participles.
So, instead of complaining about how Bible software makes their mind the lack, let’s instead fully engage with Bible software and our students. Let’s make sure they understand all of the information that Bible software gives them fully. Let’s make sure they know how to utilize the program to save them valuable time for ministry, to prepare their sermons with rich and deep content, and to actively engage in exegesis of the original languages. It can be done!
What is needed is a conceptual grammar, like the one that I’ve written and am revising. Rather than focusing on how to recognize noun cases and how to parse them, let’s instead push the students to remember what nominative nouns do, what genitive nouns do, etc. let’s make sure they fully understand the difference between a subjunctive verb and an indicative verb. There is still a ton of learning involved in this process—if you think I am watering down Greek to be a simple course, talking to any one of my students will quickly dissuade you of this notion! I was pushing them to do 9 to 10 hours of homework every week. I just changed the questions.
This year, after my trial year, I recognized the need to work even more with the software and I had. I will now be working with Logos directly in the class and getting the students to work along with me on their own machines. Part of their exercises will be doing work in Logos Bible software as well.
Another thing that I focused on is on how to actually use the lexicon. All throughout my Greek training I was told how important it was to use the lexicon regularly. Yet, no one actually told me how. In my introductory grammar, when we talk about nouns we also talk about nouns in the BDAG lexicon. When we talk about verbs, we talk about their entries in the BDAG lexicon. I do not want lexicons to be gobbledygook, which they are for the vast majority of introductory Greek students. Every major introductory grammar on the market today does NOT teach students how to use the lexicon. Isn’t that ludicrous?! Especially now that they are so easy to access in Bible software.
Another aspect of Logos Bible software are syntax charts. Rather than teaching students how to diagram sentences, they can access syntax charts immediately. I’ll instead spend my time on showing them how to understand the syntax charts and why it’s important to know. Those who go on to the 2nd semester and beyond, those are the students who will earn how to do it on their own.
In my next post I’m going to talk about what I hope my new grammar will be once I am all done with it.