Re: nt humor

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Feb 06 1998 - 07:06:30 EST

At 04:15 PM 2/5/98 +0900, Arthur Barry wrote:
>Well, even though I made an honest attempt to unsubscribe, I suppose it
>is my own fault for continuing to read this drivel about Jesus' humour.
>Maybe the historical Jesus is lost to some of you pompous academics but
>there are still those of us to whom the WORD is more than just a matter
>of good grammar or bad grammar - it is a matter of life or death! It is
>living and active.

Many of us on the list see the Word as a matter of life and death, and as
living and active, which is why we want to carefully understand what it
means. At least, that's why I'm here. However, we also assume that we can't
understand what it means without understanding the language in which it is
written and the culture to which it was written. Of course, a good
translation and some simple notes goes a long ways. Some of us want to go

This phrase about "good grammar or bad grammar" shows a fundamental
misunderstanding of why we examine the grammar of Greek. Much of the
meaning of any sentence, in any language, is contained in the grammar. If
you took the words of this sentence and rearranged them randomly, you would
have the same words, but you would have lost the grammar, and with it you
would have lost the meaning. The reason we study the grammar of Greek is
not to go over it with a red pencil like an elementary school teacher, but
to understand what it says. Few people can learn any foreign language
without careful attention to the grammar; when we learn a language as
children we can assimilate the grammar without taking a formal approach,
but this just doesn't seem to work for adults.

>If Jesus sighed with his head in his hands I doubt
>that it was because the apostles did not get the joke. It was because
>they failed to grasp the historical reality of His presence. The
>historical Jesus is not lost. It is we who are lost when we close our
>hearts to the true meaning of His Word.

I agree that our failure to grasp the true meaning of the Word is often a
heart problem rather than a head problem, but all those commentaries and
grammars on the Bible exist for a purpose: there really is a need for
academic approaches to the Bible. That's what we do here on B-Greek. And we
don't do much of the heart stuff here, since we are such a diverse bunch
and the heart stuff is controversial. (I do that in private email.)

At any rate, you are perfectly welcome to stay or leave, but I did want to
explain all this to you.

Texcel Research

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:02 EDT