Here’s a piece that I just posted on our School of Christian Thought website at Houston Baptist University. I explore briefly what linguistics is, and why it is beneficial to study linguistics.

School of Christian Thought

Here at HBU we have a Biblical Languages program, which includes both an undergraduate degree in biblical languages (just Greek and Hebrew) and an MA in biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic).  One of the requirements that we insist on for both programs is a course in General Linguistics.  As the Director of the MABL program, sometimes I am asked questions like What is linguistics? and Why is it important to study linguistics?  In this post I will attempt to provide some brief answers to those questions.

View original post 1,265 more words

Invitation to Hebrew Lecture by Josh Westbury at HBU

This is an invitation to those in the Houston area who love Biblical Hebrew and the Hebrew Bible:  On Friday, Sept 21, at 11am at Houston Baptist University, Dr. Marshall will have as a guest lecturer in the Hebrew Reading course Josh Westbury, Hebrew Language Specialist from Logos Bible Software.  He will be talking about some of the discourse features of Biblical Hebrew from Genesis 37 and 39, as well as giving us a peek at the new Lexham Discourse Hebrew Bible database and how it can is useful for just this sort of analysis of the text.

If you are a former HBU language student, or a present/former student of Biblical Hebrew from any school or church/synagogue, we would love for you to come and hear what Josh and HBU is up to. (By the way, Josh is a graduate of HBU, and one of his majors was biblical languages!).  Here’s the stuff you need to know:

Who? Josh Westbury (see bio below, which is from the Logos Bible Software website)

Where? Atwood 2 building, in room 215, on the campus of Houston Baptist University

When? Friday, Sept 21, 2012, at 11am (class runs from 11:00-11:50am)

Why? Because we love Biblical Hebrew, we love linguistics, and we love talking about both of them together!  Oh, and we love you, too, which is why you’re invited to come. Please let me know if you are coming (and you’re not one of my Hebrew students)–you can just reply to the post here if you’d like.

A Moving Story of My Mother-in-Law’s Mom–A Life Well-Lived

I absolutely love my mother-in-law, Leona. I wish I had know her mother, too. In honor of Leona’s birthday today, my wife Cheryl posted some thoughts about the history of these two dear women. I never re-post whole blog entries, but I think this one is just too good not to share in toto. Thanks for writing this so well, Cheryl–you too are a terrific example of a woman walking wisely.  –Phillip

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. 🙂

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!

Summer Biblical Hebrew at Southwestern Seminary in Houston

ANNOUNCEMENT:  I’m teaching Turbo Hebrew at Southwestern Seminary-Houston starting Monday, May 8 9.  We will cover a full year of Biblical Hebrew in 10 wks, and the course meets Mondays/Thursdays from 8am to noon each time. In order for the course to make we need enough people committed by the end of the day tomorrow–Tuesday, May 3.  Please email me (psmarshall AT gmail DOT com) if you need details and I’ll get you set up.

Also, you could contact the following about enrolling:

Hudson Hanks (
Director of Business & Student Services
713.634.0011 ext. 222

In Memoriam: Prof. Anson Rainey (1930-2011)

I just received word today that the long and illustrious career of Anson Rainey ended yesterday when he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. If you’d like to see the scholarly achievements of a bright light in studies of ANE language and culture, click here. It appears that the list of published works was last updated around 2008, so it is incomplete. But at last count, he had authored/edited 9 books, 112 articles in scholarly journals, and 48 essays which were components of books.

I’ve recently been listening to St. Augustine’s Confessions, and I came across this gem that I didn’t remember when I read the book in college: “And this idea sprang up in my mind out of my inmost heart, and I wrote some books–two or three, I think–On the Beautiful and the Fitting. Thou knowest them, O Lord; they have escaped my memory. I no longer have them; somehow they have been mislaid.” I’m tickled to imagine that someone could have written a few books and forgotten them or misplaced them! The only type of person who can even remotely begin to empathize with Augustine is one who is incredibly prolific–and Prof. Rainey was certainly that! I wonder how many books Prof. Rainey wrote and never published. . . . May God rest his soul.

Dr. Robert Holmstedt on Writing Book Reviews

Robert Holmstedt of the University of Toronto recently posted a piece over at Ancient Hebrew Grammar on the function of book reviews, in light of a few negative reviews of his book Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text.  He makes some great comments on what a review should aim for, especially how reviews ought to assess the success of any work based on the author’s purpose (and the series’ purpose, if it is a volume in a series).  I recommend that all my students take a look at what Holmstedt has to say on this.

Handel’s Messiah

Tonight my wife, three children, and I want to First Presbyterian of Houston to our first ever Messiah Sing-Along.  The orchestra was conducted by my colleague from HBU, Dr. John Yarrington.  The music was splendid; my singing . . . well, that was clearly unworthy of the Lamb who is worthy, as the last choral piece proclaims.  I offer my congratulations to Dr. Yarrington for a beautiful performance, and my thanksgiving to God that such a work exists to draw our attention and devotion to Jesus the Lamb and the King of Glory.  I think that tonight may have been the beginning of an annual family tradition for us.

For those who are unaware, my old doctoral supervisor (when I was at Southern Seminary), Dr. Daniel Block (now at Wheaton) wrote a piece analyzing Handel’s Messiah from a biblical and theological perspective.  If you plan to listen to it or attend a performance, please do read over Block’s essay before you go; it will greatly enhance your ability to understand and enjoy the spiritual themes of the work.  You can get it here.

12-13-10  You can get the polished, published version of Dan Block’s essay in the following journal article: “Handel’s Messiah: Biblical and Theological Perspectives,” in Didaskalia 12 (2001): 1-23.  Thanks, Dan, for pointing us to this text!

Congratulations to Dr. Greg Welty

I forgot to mention this the other day when “Between the Times” made the announcement, but let me publicly join the chorus of those congratulating Dr. Greg Welty for his appointment to Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Here is the paragraph from Between the Times:

“We at BtT would like to welcome Drs. Michael Travers and Greg Welty to the faculty at Southeastern. . . .  Dr. Welty has been appointed to the faculty as Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern. Dr. Welty comes to our campus from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he has served as Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Dr. Welty comes with a credibly furrowed brow, as he completed his B. A. in Philosophy from UCLA, his M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and his M. Phil. and D. Phil. from University of Oxford.”

Southeastern will be incredibly blessed by this man of “credibly furrowed brow.”  I’ve known Dr. Welty for the past 15 years and can say that he is not only a lucid thinker and communicator, but also a man marked by faithfulness–to God, to family, to the Lord’s church.  It will be a great loss to  Southwestern Seminary, but there are bright days ahead for Southeastern.  So, congratulations to Greg Welty and to SEBTS!

SWBTS Faculty Photo of Greg Welty

Promoting the study of Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic, and Hellenistic Greek

%d bloggers like this: