Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lately. For lack of a better title.

Today I made the decision to drop my Ancient Greek class. This means that I will probably have to drop my Classics major altogether too, but we'll see. It isn't that the class was too hard. Actually, in my opinion Hebrew is conceptually much more difficult. However, the sheer volume of memorization required every day for this class was just too much for this girl. I am in my 3rd year of Hebrew, and I work (as an Editor no less), and there a TON of organizations I'm involved with and have responsibilities to on campus. And I have a minor. And I volunteer. And, and, and... that's all I seem to be saying lately, and this girl needs a rest! I decided that is just isn't realistic to try keep going to bed at 1 and getting up at 4 to do more homework and more studying- I just can't keep it up. Everything will be ok though. I'm glad that I at least tried it, and this really doesn't affect my future career plans. Nobody is forcing me to learn Greek, after all. And I'm way harder on myself than anybody else is, and I can always learn Greek some other time and at my own pace.

I am a little disappointed, sure. Languages just open up a whole new world to discover, especially the ancient and dead ones. I am discovering this with Hebrew. For instance, in my Lit class the other day (titled, "The Bible as Literature"), we read some of Judges. At the end of chapter three, there are these verses (KJV):

15But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

16But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.

17And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.

The story is in the little details.

First of all, it's kind of weird that the writer mentioned that Ehud was a Benjamite that was left- handed. But, in Hebrew, "Benjamin" is a name meaning "Son of my right hand," so it serves a purpose in contrasting the character's name with what he does. Then in 17, we have this nice little detail about king Eglon being "a very fat man". Why is that even in there? Because in Hebrew, "eglon" means "calf," so you have in essence "the fatted calf" that is slain later. The Israelites would have been familiar with this imagery as animal sacrifices were part of daily life. And interestingly enough, "Ehud" comes from the Hebrew word "Ikhud," which means "one" in the sense of being united- and that is what happens when the king Eglon is killed- Moab gets reunited with Israel.

Knowing Hebrew is so much fun! For my next paper in there, I'm doing a word study on Hebrew names and their literary significance in the Bible. Names really do serve a purpose quite often, the more I'm looking at them.

I am determined to learn Greek at some point, and I already know more than I did at the beginning of the year, so we'll see what happens with that. :)

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