On Knowing Greek and Hebrew

”Do I understand Greek and Hebrew? Otherwise, how can I undertake, as every Minister does, not only to explain books which are written therein but to defend them against all opponents? Am I not at the mercy of everyone who does understand, or even pretends to understand, the original? For which way can I confute his pretense? Do I understand the language of the Old Testament? critically? at all? Can I read into English one of David’s Psalms, or even the first chapter of Genesis? Do I understand the language of the New Testament? Am I a critical master of it? Have I enough of it even to read into English the first chapter of St. Luke? If not, how many years did I spend at school? How many at the University? And what was I doing all those years? Ought not shame to cover my face?”
John Wesley, “An Address to the Clergy,” in Works X:491.
Hat tip to Michael Bird, who passes the compliment on to Ken Schenck in a broken link

1 thought on “On Knowing Greek and Hebrew

  1. If it was the expectation that people could and should learn these languages, they would. The expectation is that it is impossibly hard. Therefore we do not teach them. We ought to start with young church. The expectation should be (as it with Judaism and Islam) that every adult will be able to read the holy books in the original language.

    To break the barriers – I repeat, we start in Young Church. With a few words.

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