Thursday, May 14, 2015

I am the Very Model of a Doctor of New Testament

With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan's "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General," a patter-song in The Pirates of Penzance. If you're not familiar with the tune, you can listen to the original here.
Also inspired by Josh Tyra's Old Testament-oriented "I am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist"

I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament,
I exegete pericopae in weather fine or inclement,
I know the difference between a codex and a Chester B,
and even if a manuscript is Byzantine or Westerly.

I number and eviscerate fallacies exegetical,
and teach my students to avoid those follies homiletical,
With views on the millennium I’m certain I’ll amuse yah
(Bothered for a rhyme... Amuse yah, amuse yah... Got it!)
In matters ‘pocalyptical I teach on the Parousia!

I argue ‘bout the authorship of letters Pauline and Petrine,
My research has determined that Luke finished Acts on May sixteen,
In short, I ably exegete, in weather fine or inclement,
I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament!

On Paul I can expostulate perspectives old and de novo,
I comprehend a genitive subjective or objectivo,
Of tradition and redaction I’m an expert and a critic,
I’ve determined the eye color of that healéd paralytic.

My reading’s all initialized, with titles like T-D-N-T,
I wrote a hundred entries for the lexicon B-D-A-G.
I’ve diagnosed that thorn of Paul’s that made him feel so dreary,
(Bothered for a rhyme... Dreary, dreary... Got it!)
On North and South Galatian views I’m certain of my theory!

I give opinions on accents acute and circumflexian,
And lucidly enunciate both modern and Erasmian,
In short, I ably exegete, in weather fine or inclement,
I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament!

I know what Jesus wrote upon the dust in words non-verbally,
(Yes, I know that scene’s excluded by criteria externally),
Don’t get me started talking on those Jesus Quests heretical,
I’ll quote you Schweitzer’s famous lines and slap your face polemical!

I like my eschaton inaugurated, but not realized,
I’m not Bultmannian enough to like it demythologized,
I dissect ev’ry echo or allusion, even just a hint,
           (Bothered for a rhyme... Just a hint, just a hint... Got it!)
Unlike my OT colleagues I’m a fan of the Septuagint.

I explicate the value of inscriptions and numismata
and can distinguish clearly ‘tween σαρκίνα and πνευματικά
And so I ably exegete, in weather fine or inclement,
I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament!

Encore: (or more correctly, I wrote one too many stanzas)
I can construct a diagram semantic and syntactical,
and pontificate on matters both linguistic and rhetorical,
I opine that the magi wrote a weekly Persian horoscope,
I know well that pericope rhymes not at all with periscope!

And so I ably exegete, in weather fine or inclement,
I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament!

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Hobbit in Ancient Greek, paragraphs 14-15

εἶπεν δὲ τὸ τέλος· Καλόν πρωΐ! οὐ θέλομεν τινα τολμήματα ὧδε, εὐχαριστῶ σοι. ἐπιχειροῖς ἄν ὑπὲρ Τὸ Ὄρος ἤ πέραν Τοῦ Ὕδατος. τοῦτο δὲ ἔλεγεν σημαίνων ὅτι ἐτελειώθη ὁ διάλογος.

[“Good morning! he said at last. We don’t want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water.” By this he meant that the conversation was at an end.]

ἀπεκρίθη δὲ Γανδάλφος· Πόσα σημαίνεις λέγων τὸ καλόν πρωΐ! σημαίνεις νῦν ὅτι θέλεις ἀπολῦσαι με καὶ οὐκ ἔσται καλόν ἕως ὑπάγω.Καὶ εἶπεν Βίλβος· Οὐδαμῶς, οὐδαμῶς, φίλε ἄγαθε! ἰδὲ· οὐ δοκεῖ μοι ὅτι οἶδα τὸ ὄνομα σου.

[“What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!” said Gandalf. “Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won’t be good till I move off." "Not at all, not at all, my dear sir! Let me see, I don’t think I know your name?”]

Ἀπεκρίθη Γανδάλφος· Ναί, ναί, φίλε ἄγαθε - ἐγώ δὲ οἶδα τὸ ὄνομα σου, Βίλβε Βάγινε. καὶ συ οἶδας τὸ ὄνομα μου, εἰ καὶ οὐ μιμνῄσκῃ ὅτι ἐγώ ὑπάρχω τούτῳ τῷ ὀνόματι. ἐγώ εἰμι Γανδάλφος καὶ Γανδάλφος ἐμέ σημαίνει! ποταπὴ ἀτιμία ὑπό τοῦ υἱοῦ Βελλαδόνης Τουκίτης λημφθῆναι ὡς ἐπὶ τὴν θύραν καπηλεύων πορπάς!

[“Yes, yes, my dear sir - and I do know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don’t remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think that I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took’s son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!”]

Translation notes:
  • "My dear sir": φίλε ἄγαθε, since κυριος in ancient Greek doesn't work as well as a polite address to a stranger.
  • "To think that I should live to..." is idiomatic in English, so a literal translation doesn't work at all. I have rendered it as ποταπὴ ἀτιμία, what a disgrace!
  • "to be good-morninged" is clever, but not directly translatable. I used instead λημφθῆναι, to be welcomed.
  • "selling buttons": I had to use buckles, since I don't think they had buttons.

The picture is the cover of the first edition of the Hobbit, published in 1937.