Thursday, April 28, 2011

Knowing too much?

The BibleGateway blog has this image with the question 'Why read the Bible in Greek?' Which caused me to take this thought journey.
Some years ago I was at a local church display of all sorts of interesting bits of pieces. They had some scrap of something with Hebrew writing on it carefully propped up. I looked at it for a while trying to figure out why it looked wrong and then realised that it was upside down. I agonised about it - should I turn it around or just leave it. Should I mention it to anyone? Would they care? Why should I care? I did turn it around and felt guilty later - I think I even blogged about it at the time.
The same with this fragment of Greek above. I looked at it thought - cool, a chance to try out my Greek. But it baffled me. Until I realised that words had been split across line breaks and the the letter 'mu' had gone funny in the chosen font. When I had filled in these bits of the puzzle I could work out most of the Greek.
So the answer to 'why read Greek?' might be 'so that I can see when people make silly mistakes.' But actually I don't like doing that. I'd rather be in happy ignorance of other people's weaknesses and failings. Is knowing certain things really helpful? Or does it just give one a sense of awkward superiority?
I really need to struggle with this whole idea some more . . .


Anonymous said...

I may be being totally blind, but I can't see any 'mu'. But then my Greek is clearly much worse than yours (sigh, I really am planning to pick it up!) and I suspect that the only reason I read it is to try and persuade myself that the fact that I can recognise a few words means more than it actually does!


Jenny Hillebrand said...

Hi Macrina
No you aren't blind! The lack of mu's is the problem! eg on the second line it should read κοσμον, which you would recognise. But without the mu it looks weird!
Thanks for the comment!