Wednesday, June 29, 2011

hitting the books

From the comfort of my new study carrel in Wheaton's library, I'm diving back into German studies.  Why German, you ask?  In order to interact with the greater scholarly community, I have to be able to read works written in other languages.  For biblical studies, the traditional required languages are German and French.  Spanish is increasingly a language of publication, too.  German scholars have been hard at work studying the Bible for centuries, publishing commentaries and articles, and shaping the way biblical scholarship is done.  No dissertation in this field would be complete without a survey of what the Germans have said on the subject.  German is *not* an easy language, and I'm told even native speakers have trouble locating the main subject and verb of their enormously long sentences!  I'm a language junkie, though, so even German can be fun for me.  I've studied enough different languages to know that they all start out impossible, but with perseverance they all make sense after a while.  Let's hope it will be true for me this time around!

Here are a few nuggets from April Wilson's German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German:

Anfang is kein Meisterstück. (A beginning is no masterpiece.)
Geduld is der Seele ein Schild. (Patience is a shield for the soul.)
Arbeit überwindet alle Schwierigkeiten. (Work overcomes all difficulties.)

In other words, it is ok not to be an expert at this point.  We all have to start somewhere.  As much as I'd like to be fluent, there is no shortcut to learning a language.  So patience and hard work are the only ways to proceed.  To learn German I need to make a million mistakes, so I'd better keep plugging away!


  1. German. Wow. No wonder I'm a local pastor and not a bible scholar.

    Great picture in front of the waterfall! Was it taken in NC, the best state of all?

  2. Nice carrell! Someday I will have one of those all to myself...

    Sorry that we missed you guys this last trip. Good luck with the German!