Tag Archives: languages

Languages I Would Like to Learn/ Re-Learn

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In his book, Many Colors, Dr. Soong-Chan Rah suggests that U.S. American theologians need to be multi-lingual in their future endeavors. I, for one, have always believed this. Here is a list of languages that I would like to learn/re-learn in order to do more a excellent theology. I do not think that any Christian theologian, post-Pentecost & in the  post-Civil Rights era can afford to do theology monolinguistically.

RE-LEARN

1. Spanish– In high school, I took four years of Espanol. Spanish will be important for my conversations with Latin American liberation theology as I hope to gain more of an idea of their Christology, particularly the idea of Jesus as the God-Poor.

2. German– German will be necessary for me to catch up on Jurgen Moltmann‘s work in his original language. In my theological German course, I chose the brutal task of translating a section from his Theology of Hope. I hope to find some time to do some more work with TOH and a few of his other less known writings.

3. French– French actually was pretty fun to work with.  In my theological French course, I chose a passage out of one of Henry De Lubac’s texts about biblical interpretation and the Patristics. I’d like to of course go back, and finish that chapter I started to get Lubac’s insights.

4. Biblical Greek– I only struggled in Biblical Greek class when I did not study, but when I did give it my all, I enjoyed it. An upcoming experiment in biblical translation with Chad will be able to persuade me to return to  translating the LXX & NT Greek texts, along with some Patristics who also wrote in Greek.

LEARN

1. Biblical Hebrew & AramaicI never was able to take a class on Hebrew or Aramaic, but I would like to be able to translate the Masoteric text of the Old Testament for myself.

2. Latin– Latin is an easy choice. At one point, I was part of a study group that was learning Latin but I was unable to attend regularly due to my employer.  I do have the text books however, and plan to learn the lingo at some point and time.

3. Korean– I did an independent study where I came across some fascinating histories of Protestantism in Korea. In order to complete my work on conversion and decolonization, it’d be necessary for me to learn Korean. If you know of any resources to help me get started, fonts & all, please do recommend.

What languages would you like to study or re-learn?

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Defending Deconstruction, again today.

Dr. J K Gayle, author of Aristotle’s Feminist Subject has taken me to task for blaming beliefs  of private ownership on the Enlightenment.  I shall take heed, with a better understanding of genealogy and history next time.

Here is an excerpt from his excellent piece:

“Now when we go back to thinking about Paul as a writer, as a collaborative writer, as not so in authoritative control of his text as an author should be, then can’t we see how we might start thinking about ourselves?  If you are not oppressed, or if your parent or your grandparent or your great-grandparent wasn’t, then there’s something going on.  Without wanting to side or to take sides, maybe you already have.  Then there really are other sides here.  Can Paul write something that keeps slaves slaves?  That keeps wives submitted and silent?  That keeps gays damned?  And if you hear that “he” does write these things, that the text does say that, then what?”

See the rest of his post here: Homme Est Mort.

Truth and Peace,

Rod

Fridays with Foucault

*****UPDATE!!!!******

Dr. J K Gayle has added to my apology for deconstruction, by questioning exactly where does “author-ity” come from?

Defending deconstruction and the problem with problematizing problems.

A week ago, I started my Fridays with Fanon series.

Today, I bring to you the initial Fridays with Foucault post.

From Power: Essential Works of Michel Foucault:

“I believe that one’s point of reference should not be the great model of language [langue] and signs but, rather, to that of war and battle.  The history that bears and determines us has the form of a war rather than that of a language–relations of power, not relations of meaning.” (page 116, from ‘Truth and Power’)

Recently, there have been a couple of posts by bibliobloggers want us to be afraid of the big bad boogieman called deconstruction: see here and here.

Yes, Michel Foucault made the claim that the author was dead, in fact, he argued that, “homme est mort” or “man is dead.”  What he meant by that is not that human beings do not exist, but that the human subject is historically constructed; what we believe about ourselves is completely contextual.  Authorship, for example, Pauline authorship of Pauline and Pseudo-Pauline letters, is an idea fostered by Enlightenment notions of the self and Lockean concepts concerning the ownership of property; it is of vital importance for some Christians to believe that the apostle Paul, wrote, for example, Ephesians, because he is the owner of the text, the subject that imparts wisdom, and therefore he owns it, and he belongs to the apostolic tradition and therefore Paul’s writings are inerrant because Paul wrote them (Paul being the subject/author, which Foucault said was “dead”). Why is it important for Paul to be the author? Because of our own concepts of ownership, which remain foreign to the Greco-Roman project of writing, which includes secretaries such as the one Paul uses in his their letter to the Romans.

But all this reverts back to a propensity for scholars to ignore power struggles and conflicts, to mask power differentiations, by appealing to “the great model of language and signs” such as those involved in semiotics, narrative theologies, as well as scholars invested in postliberal and postconservative religious projects, where language games are supposedly played on some neutral field.  Far from throwing an immature temper tantrum, deconstruction is useful to help us see how history is made of winners and losers; questions need to be asked and power analysis need to be made in order to enable those of us who desire change to the status quo to best discern society’s problems.  If it were not for some form of deconstruction, prosperity gospellers and false prophets would get off the hook, SCOTT-FREE! To be honest, there are too many power-hungry Christians who abuse their authority for deconstruction NOT to be used. Deconstruction aids Christians to not only criticize power relations between human beings; it also enables them to see envision another possible world.  Deconstruction and revision go hand in hand.  The reason why many deconstructionists such as Foucault do not offer us solutions to our problems is because they want to leave that up to us, as individuals and communities, invested in the world, to invent new responses to new questions.

Finally there are those who would ask, “Is problematizing a problem a problem in and of itself?” I will say, yes, and no.  To say that something is problematic may be subjective and all of that, but at the same time, to realize that there is a problem, a sin problem, perhaps a greed problem, a gender problem, or a race problem, is to only begin to search for one among many answers.  When a person discovers a problem, she/he has a couple of choices: either revert back to nihilism and apathy, or begin to join a struggle. I think I would rather choose the latter.

Truth and Peace,

Rod