The Grateful Christian

Essays, opinions, and works-in-progress by a conservative Lutheran pastor.

My Photo
Location: West Michigan, United States

In order of importance, I am a: Husband, father, pastor, hobby programmer, writer. Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust instead
Of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head.

--C.S.Lewis, The Apologist's Evening Prayer

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

An Ash-Wednesday Tribute

In Memoriam: Arthur Sekki, who was my Biblical Hebrew professor in my last two years of college, 1976-78, Concordia College, Ann Arbor, MI. He died in July of 2003. He had been out of academia for many, many years, and had returned to his earlier vocation of commercial driver. Here is a photo I found from 2001 from the newsletter of Laketran, an outfit he worked for upward of a dozen years, I think.

Art was deeply interested in philosophy, and often liked to talk about the roots of modern liberalism in Schleiermacher. He had an idea that I am trying to pursue: why not learn Biblical Hebrew according to the frequency of the actual forms, the forms that you find in the text? Once you've learned the basic verb paradigms and constructions, for reading skill it is much more important to be able to recognize wayyomer (top item below) as "and he said" than to learn another form of the verb root amar (lower right), since "and he said" occurs hundreds of times more frequently than, e.g., "they will say" in the text.

"Whence comes it...?"

This is late, since it really is an Epiphany theme. Sorry.
Withe his kind mother who partakes thy woe,

Joseph turn backe; see where your child doth sit,
Blowing, yea blowing out those sparks of wit,
Which himselfe on those Doctors did bestow;
The Word but lately could not speake, and loe
It sodenly speakes wonders, whence comes it,
That all which was, and all which would be writ,
A shallow seeming child, should deeply know?
His Godhead was not soule to his manhood,
Nor had time mellowed him to this ripenesse,
But as for one which hath a long taske, 'tis good,
With the Sunne to beginne his businesse,
He in his ages morning thus began
By miracles exceeding power of man.

John Donne, La Corona, 400 years ago