Wild Greeks

Things went a little quiet around the site this past week. I’ve got a bit more Wilberforce to finish off but a Greek Exam created a bit of a hiccough.
The exam was on Friday afternoon from 2-4.

Really, I ask you, what maniac came up with that idea?

Greek TextAfter the past fortnight dominated by Hebrew and Greek I’ve discovered that I actually love these crazy languages. Hebrew is a wild hairy beast of a language, wrestling with it makes me feel reconnected with my primal manliness.

… Am I suffering from Stockholm syndrome?

I’m discovering that as I struggle to read the New Testament in the original Greek I grasp again the original urgency of the Biblical writers.
The power of the Christian gospel produced such drama and texture in the words of these men.
My favourite passage in Greek (and I haven’t read a lot) is the first section of 1 John.

John strings together this long list of relative pronouns (‘what/that which’) – words that are supposed to refer back to a previously used noun. But it’s the start of the book and there are no previously used nouns for the relative pronoun to refer to. It creates this incredible sense of anticipation. John claims to have seen, touched, heard, that which was from the beginning – but what was it?

1 ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς 2 καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν 3 ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ’ ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
(1 John 1:1-3)

and in English

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have observed,
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the Word of life—
that life was revealed,
and we have seen it
and we testify and declare to you
the eternal life that was with the Father
and was revealed to us—
what we have seen and heard
we also declare to you,
so that you may have fellowship along with us;
and indeed our fellowship is with the Father
and with His Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:1-3 HSCB)  

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3 thoughts on “Wild Greeks

  1. have you ever found occasion in a greek class to throw up your hands and declare "it's all to greek to me!"

    ok, that might be one of those thoughts better not shared.

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