When he,. as master of his college, suspected that Thomas Brown was
neglecting his studies, he threatened to "send him donw" (consilium
abeundi) unless he could translate at sight Martial's couplet"
Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare;
Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.
Brown immediately provided the following free rendering--and saved himself
from academic Coventry.
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell;
The reason why, I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
Such academic trivia are important--like the Oxford guide who asked some
visitors if they would like to see Dr. Benjamin Jowett, the famous scholar.
When they said "Yes," he picked up a feww pebbles and threw them up against
a window. When Jowett appeared, shaking his fist, the guide simply said,
"That always draws him!"
The great Platonist, by the way, was first a New Testament scolar who was
hounded for his article on how to interpret the NT, which led him to shift
to classical philosophy.
I hope that someone will add to this growing list. If one reads German,
there is a wonderful collection by Hans Freiherr von Campenhausen,
_Theologen Spiess und Spass_, which gives moments of pure joy.
And there are the theological limericks (along with the collection of
classical ones I got some years ago).
Edgar Krentz, New Testament
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Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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