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Decline of Greek and Hebrew?

Last Saturday, Mark Goodacre over at NT Gateway Weblog noted an interesting article from The Guardian about the reaction of Classics teachers to the recently announced plans of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority "to drop Latin and Greek from its GCSE and A-level syllabuses in England and Wales" (read the whole story here).

This reminded me of a similar situation in Spain's public school system, and, most of all, of relatively recent (and sad) developments in a good number of theological institutions around the world. Greek and Hebrew (never mind Latin) have also been "ditched" in many places, or at best relegated to a marginal place. And most certainly Bible software cannot make up for this lack of systematic study of the biblical languages.

This is just the sort of thing one would expect to see when "business interests" and politics become the main criteria. But surely education is something else. I'm afraid these are bad days for the Humanities... (big sigh)

Update (June 18): Tim Bulkeley makes some revealing comments on SansBlogue, based on his personal experience. I suspect he is not the only professor who feels that way. This only comes to show that we are facing here a general tendency. What strikes me, though, is this apparent paradox: while there is definitely a decline in the teaching of the biblical languages among many theological institutions, the number of people who are actually interested in learning "a little Greek" or "a little Hebrew" in order to read technical commentaries and make a better use of certain Bible software tools is growing. I still remember a few years ago when I was asked to teach Greek to a group of preachers at the local church I am now attending. It was fun! Anyway, as I once commented somewhere else, a graduate with a major in Biblical Studies who has never taken Hebrew and Greek is very much like a medical doctor who's never studied Anatomy. And one question inevitably comes up: would you trust such a doctor? I think it's about time we took the tools of our trade seriously. We cannot afford to "play" Theology and Exegesis. We need to "do" them right. It's not the preserve of scholars and professors I am talking about here; it's something that affects ministers too in a very real sense and, therefore, any Tom, Dick and Harry sitting in church and listening to a sermon or Bible class.

As you can see, I have some strong feelings about this whole area. Well, nobody's perfect :-)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2004 2:49 PM.

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