More lore, please.

Randy Leedy (
Fri, 08 Nov 1996 14:56:12 -0500

Edgar M. Krentz wrote:

>>>Some few scholars have read enough, long enough to do that. Walter
Bauer read ALL the texts listed in the preface to his lexicon--and
went half blind doing it. Ulrich von Wilamowitz Moellendorf read most
of the surviving Greek literature. Erasmus in the sixteenth century
had read most of Latin literature and was himself a stylist in
Ciceronian prose.

These were all people who began the study of Greek at age 10 or
earlier, and read it professionally for 50+ years. They can discuss
style, as Eduard Norden did in DIE ANTIKE KUNSTPROSA.

I appreciate this glimpse of insight into what it takes to pull off a
major work of scholarship such as Bauer's WORTERBUCH. (My lack of
facility in German restricts my acquaintance with Norden, whose book
I have only been able to sample.) This post whets my appetite for
some more lore about the legends in our field. What kind of people
were they, really? Did they have families, or is family life
incompatible with the kind of dedication it takes to do this kind of
work? How fast could they read the various languages? What methods
did they use to build the data on which their scholarly works rest?
Did they all have small armies of student assistants?

Regarding scholars of NT Greek in particular, was their scholarly
work compatible with pastoral ministry? How did the truth of what the
book they studied affect them personally? For example, Jesus
identifies the Great Commandment as love for God and neighbor. Paul
further describes this love as that which "is not puffed up, doth not
behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own." Which of the legendary
NT Greek scholars evinced genuine piety and humility, and were any of
them notable for their lack of it? What can we learn from their
example, whether good or bad? Can their experiences help us set
realistic expectations for ourselves regarding our own level of
scholarship this field?

Surely there must be among our senior members a wealth of
enlightening stories and anecdotes that can help the younger
generation. We recently enjoyed a series of stories related to the
subjects with which a NT scholar needs to be acquainted, but I don't
recall stories along the lines I've described here. If there are any
storytellers out there, you have an audience of at least one if you
care to take the stage.

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC