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Scribal Errors and Decorative Cakes

I recently came across a few photos of signs and instructions that were spelled incorrectly or had suffered from inappropriate chopping by the word-processor. That reminded me of some cakes I’ve seen where the text of the customer’s Vorlage (the text in front of them, or in their head) did not make it onto the baker’s Big Tip With ballons and crap Blue Flowers ConformationEnjoy your VD Just a flower Just Happy Bday LowerCase Musical Notes No Periods Nothing Nuts Allergy Super Bowel Under Neat That usb-cake-mistakeWith Sprinkles Your Weedingcake unscatCongratshed. Some of these sorts of scribal errors would be classified under errors of hearing, although in many instances it’s simply a matter of faulty comprehension: they heard the word correctly, but failed to understand the intention.  Enjoy.

 

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Why Study Language? For Poetry.

This was an interesting post about why studying the original languages is important. My Hebrew students who are reading some Psalms with me this semester know this to be true! There is so much playing with language in poetry; no English translation can possibly deliver to its readers what the Hebrew readers devour with delight! [By the way, the site from which this comes is interesting, but they also post on things from the classical world that are bawdy. So reader beware, if you decide to poke around some more.]

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

From Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson:

We talked of translation. I said, I could not define it, nor could I think of a similitude to illustrate it; but that it appeared to me the translation of poetry could be only imitation. JOHNSON. ‘You may translate books of science exactly. You may also translate history, in so far as it is not embellished with oratory, which is poetical. Poetry, indeed, cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve languages; for we would not be at the trouble to learn a language, if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language.’

This is best in the original!

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Hebrew Humor for the Holiday (that’s Spring Break for non-UK folks)

I cannot take credit for the following; my MA student (at HBU) ImageBenjamin Summers forwarded these to me months ago. But they *are* enjoyable.

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Q: Why don’t Bible translators ever buy matte paint?

A: Because they’re always looking for a good gloss.

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Q: Which Hebrew letter is nothing to sneeze at?

A: Allergic nun.

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Q: Which Old Testament authors found the most gems and nuggets of wisdom?

A: The miner prophets.

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Q: What kind of machine would Siskel & Ebert use to determine whether a film gets a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down?

A: Their critical apparatus.

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Q: What story did the Hebrew professor tell around the campfire?

A: The tale of the headless relative clause.

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Q: What flavor gum does a rabbi chew?

A: Tar gum.

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Q: How is an exegete different from a submarine captain?

A: One searches through a periscope while the other searches through a pericope.

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Q: If you don’t practice using a lexicon, why will your translation stink?

A: Because not brushing up gives you HALOT-osis.

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Q: The sentence topic that was just here – where did it go?

A: It left dislocation.

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Q: Why couldn’t the overly humble student tell a direct object from an adjunct prepositional phrase?

A: He just didn’t know how to take a complement.

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Q: What moral lesson can we learn from identifying verbless clauses?

A: What’s right isn’t always copular, and what’s copular isn’t always right.

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Wait, I Thought N.T. Wright Said That First?

Nice illustration from Derek Rishmawy about how good modern insights on the text have often already found their way into the life of the Church. Calvin is still insightful, after 500 years.

Reformedish

New Creation WrightOne of my favorite things about reading the Reformers, or the Fathers for that matter, is finding that the best insights I’ve loved in modern scholars aren’t really that new at all. Take the concept of ‘new creation.’ For many of us, N.T. Wright is probably the modern scholar who brought our attention to the theology of new creation. At least for me he did. In his many works on Paul, the Resurrection, and Christian Origins, again and again, he calls us to hear the proclamation that in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection all things, the cosmos as a whole, have been renewed. God wasn’t simply concerned with saving souls off to an ethereal heaven, but rather faithfully rescuing the world from the decay into which it had fallen. Resurrection isn’t just for people, but the universe as a whole. This is bracing and beautifully good news.

As great as learning…

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Re-Blog: Psalm 121: God Our Helper and Keeper

Just posted this link to my recent message on Psalm 121 to our HBU School of Christian Thought blog. Hope it gives encouragement to someone out there!

School of Christian Thought

Earlier this month I delivered a message at Bethel Bible Fellowship on Psalm 121. In it, I explored the universality of the human condition as one of neediness:

“Let’s not fool ourselves: we are indeed needy people, when we find ourselves there at that point of deep need, we will seek help from somewhere.  The question that confronts us today is, ‘Where do you seek your ultimate source of help in this broken, sinful world?’  When the chips are down, where do you lean the hardest? Fundamentally–there are only two answers to the question, ‘Where do you seek help, ultimately?’: Either in [a] Human Resources (myself, family, merely human wisdom, technology and civilization, education, self-help books, etc.), OR in [b] Divine Resources (God: God’s wisdom, God’s power, God’s perspective, God’s instructions, God’s promises, God’s plans).”

In the message, I expound the Psalmist’s motivations for us to look to God as…

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Fun With Linguistics: Productivity

In linguistics we have a term for how you can use patterns to create new words: productivity. For example, the -ly suffix can be added to many adjectives to create new adverbs: “nice” becomes “nicely” while “able” becomes “ably.” That’s a productive pattern. What’s amazing is that children who are learning to speak a language natively start using such productive patterns intuitively, without ever being told explicitly how to do it. And they are correct most of the time. But when they misapply a productive pattern, it’s often funny. Tonight, I heard another funny. This evening Andrew and Kathryn (our 7 year old twins) decided they would sleep under a make-shift tent created by draping bed sheets over chairs and stools. As I was helping them lay down their make-shift beds, Andrew determined that he would use a huge beach towel as his “blanket.” Kathryn objected, misapplying a productive word-formation pattern:

“But . . . that’s not . . . blanketable.”

I’m still smiling. 🙂

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New Blog by Cheryl Marshall

My gracious and lovely wife has picked up her proverbial pen to begin blogging. In the last two days she is already more prolific than I am on actual blog posts for 2012! Her blog, Women Walking Wisely, provides her ruminations and biblically-informed thoughts on a variety of things that average, everyday Christian wives, mothers, daughters, and women may find interesting and helpful. I know that I have benefited over the years from her wise words and godly counsel–I hope that you will, too. You can find her blog at Women Walking Wisely. Happy New Year, and congratulations, Cheryl Marshall!

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