Wednesday, September 30, 2009

λυω Quiz

I spent quite a bit of time on this. The coolest feature is if you get an answer wrong when filling in the answer blank on top it will turn red. This is if you're serious about learning this paradigm, accents and all.

Click to download
EDIT: Click for the file with no accents

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light, Carl Trueman

The whole article is worth reading. But a couple snippets:
Let me interject a clarification at this point lest I be misinterpreted as saying that mere Christianity is something wrong in itself, a matter to be despised. That is emphatically not what I am saying at all. Salvation does not depend upon the individual's possession of an elaborate doctrinal system or a profound grasp of intricate and complex theology. Yet this is not my point. What I am claiming is that mere Christianity, a Christianity which lacks this doctrinal elaboration, is an insufficient basis either for building a church or for guaranteeing the long-term stability of the tradition of the church, that is, the transmission from generation to generation and from place to place, of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. What is disturbing is that the advocates of postmodern mere Christianity are not debating how much one must believe to be saved; they are actually proposing a manifesto for the life of the church as a whole, a somewhat more comprehensive and ambitious project. It is the validity of this that I question."

One cannot critique the inadequacies of the past until one has understood the past; one certainly should not abandon the past on the basis of a caricature; and the kind of historical misrepresentations which undergird certain postconservative analyses of the tradition stands at odds both with the possibility of such critique and with the claims of the very same people that we need to engage with tradition in order to meet the challenges of the contemporary world. Thus, let me put this as precisely as I can: the vigor of my criticism of such writers is provoked as much by their seriously problematic historiography as by any serious heterodoxy within their theology;"

The light may well by dying, but we will rage, rage against it; and be assured, we will never go gentle into that good night."
Carl Trueman, "Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light," WTJ 70 (2008): 1-18. (LINK)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

- Dylan Thomas

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Quotable: Camus

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is
suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to
answering the fundamental question of philosophy."

Albert Camus, “The Myth of Sisyphus”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Piel and Whatnot

Found this portion of Arnold and Choi's A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax really interesting:
Traditionally the Piel has been considered intensive in meaning. Older grammars defined the idea as 'to busy oneself eagerly with the action indicated,' and even associated the doubling of the second radical of verbs in Piel as an outward expression of this intensification.(1) However, in light of today's deeper understanding of Semitic languages generally, we can no longer refer to the Piel as basically and primarily intensive.(2)...The Piel frequently expresses the bringing about of a state. Thus, the Piel focuses on causation and the outcome of the action, though with a patiency nuance rather than an agency nuance (as in Hiphil). The foregrounded interest is not the event that happens to the subject, but rather the condition attained by it. It is for all practical purposes an adjectival causation predicate. Jenni's important study proposed a basic distinction between the Piel and Hiphal as the difference between imposition of a state (adjectival) and the imposition of process (verbal).(3) So using as an example the verb חיה ('live' in Qal), the Piel is 'to cause to be alive,' whereas the Hiphil is 'to cause to live.'

Choi and Arnold, 42-43

What made me think as I read this is how much we take for granted that languages work similarly. They do in many areas. But with any language there are things which are second nature to native speakers which can be totally foreign to non-native speakers. As interesting as Choi and Arnolds section is on the Piel more ink will be spilt on what the Piel in fact meant in Biblical Hebrew. Praise the Lord for men who devote their lives to spilling this ink so that we can have our assumptions challenged about the text. The text is never just text. We need informed (read something like "right") assumptions about it to get to sound conclusions and sound applications.

(1) Kautzsch 1910, 141; and see Blau 1976, 52; Bauer and Leander 1991, 323-29; Martin-Davidson 1993, 136-37. The view that the doubling of the middle consonant is unassociated with intensification may need be reconsidered in light of recent linguistic work on iconicity, that is, the iconic nature of language (cf. Kouwenberg 1997).
(2) The Piel in recent decades has been recognized as the key to the Hebrew verbal system. Albrecht Goetze opened the discussion to new approaches with his famous survey of the Akkadian D-stem (1942, 1-8), and subsequently the significance of his work for the West Semitic languages was investigated by Earnst Jenni (1968). For useful surveys of these developments, see Waltke and O'Connor 1990, 354-59; Fassberg 2001, 243-44. For caveats on Goetze's arguments, see Kaufman 1996, 281-82.
(3) Jenni (1968), and see also Lambdin 1969, 388-89. For dissenting voices, see Joosten 1998 and Fassberg 2001, 243-44.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Brett Dennen, Ain't No Reason

There ain’t no reason things are this way.
Its how they always been and they intend to stay.
I can't explain why we live this way, we do it everyday.
Preachers on the podium speakin’ of saints in séance,
Prophets on the sidewalk beggin’ for change,
Old ladies laughing from the fire escape, cursing my name.
I got a basket full of lemons and they all taste the same,
A window and a pigeon with a broken wing,
You can spend your whole life workin’ for something
Just to have it taken away.
People walk around pushing back their debts,
Wearing pay checks like necklaces and bracelets,
Talking ‘bout nothing, not thinking ‘bout death,
Every little heartbeat, every little breath.
People walk a tight rope on a razors edge
Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons.
It could be a bomb or a bullet or a pen
Or a thought or a word or a sentence.

Brett Dennen, Ain't No Reason, from So Much More