Monday, February 1, 2010

An Update and a Couple Links

My translation of the Art of Grammar is still going. I will probably post what I have been working on here soon, but I think I may leave out the commentary section. It will allow me to get done quicker as well as I am not always so certain my thoughts are that interesting. Plus as school is starting up again, it will be hard to do much. I am taking New Testament Theology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Reformation History and Doctrine, and Greek Exegesis of Matthew.

In the meantime, here are some interesting links. The first is a Wordle using a large corpus of Greek texts both Ancient and Medieval (TLG). The second is a comparison of a Wordle of the BC texts and a Wordle of the AD texts. It is interesting and fun!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: Green

Green by Ted Dekker is the latest edition to the Circle Series. It is intended to serve as both a prequel and a sequel to the original three (Book Zero, as Dekker calls it). It begins after White, the third book, with the Circle fracturing between those who want to fight the Horde again, led by Samuel, Thomas Hunter's son, and those who want to convert, rather than kill, the Horde, led by Thomas Hunter. Meanwhile, Kara Hunter, Thomas' sister, and Monique de Raison deal with a visitor named Billy who can read minds and wants to use Thomas' blood to travel to the time of the Circle.

This book, while entertaining, struggled to know what it was. Was it the prequel or the sequel? Really, I would say it was only a sequel, though it would have been stronger if there was no attempt to make it also a prequel. Too many of the characters and events only have meaning if you have already read the other three. Plus, it gives away the ending of the trilogy, weakening its ability to work as a prequel. Prequels cannot give away this much information and cannot rely too much on the later material. Actually, the connection that makes it a prequel only occurs towards the end and is really strange and confusing, probably only making sense if you had read the earlier books.

Taking the story as a sequel, it was pretty good. I enjoyed reading it. Revisiting old characters and worlds is always fun. This story, however, does not seem to have the strength that the earlier stories had. As with the other stories, it tells in a way a biblical event. For Green, it focuses on a literal understanding of the book of Revelation. Of course there are not exact parallels, or is it as fantastic as the Left Behind series. It does, however, leave you asking what just happened. Also, it ties in the other books related to the Circle Series. I have not read either of the other series: the Lost Books Series and the Paradise Series. The Lost Books seem well merged. I could gather pretty well the important information and I don't know if any of the characters from that series show up, but, if they do, they do well explaining their backgrounds. The Paradise Series, however, is not as well grafted in. Billy is one of the characters from those stories, and I probably would have needed to read those books to understand his character better. Dekker probably avoids trying to give away too much for those who want to read the Paradise Series, but I was lost in understanding Billy. I wonder how much more he would have made sense if I had read those books.

Overall, it is a fun book for those who have already read the Circle Series. It does not, however, work as a prequel. Read Black, Red, and White first then read Green.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Review: It Happened In Italy

It happened in Italy by Elizabeth Bettina tells two stories: the story of the Jews in Italy during World War II and the story of Elizabeth herself as she discovers the story of the Jews, bringing participants together again after many years. The Italians, unlike the Nazis, did not see a need for abusing the Jews they were to detain. Instead, the Jews in Italy were treated with humanity, reflecting the humanity of the Italians, and as a result, many Jews were saved in Italy.

The story was overall a good story. The biggest problem is the book spent too much time discussing Elizabeth Bettina's journey. I would have preferred more about the Jews in Italy. I had the problem of not being as concerned about her story. I wanted to hear the story of the Jews in Italy. While that story is still told, it is split up by Bettina's story. The story of the Jews is still a moving story. Many stories about the Jews show the inhumanity of their captors. This has led to the view that all of our enemies during World War II were pure evil. The story is more complicated than that. In Italy at least, the Jews were treated with civility, and many lives were saved. Humanity corrupted by sin is a complex thing, capable of extreme acts of evil and of good.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A New Beginning

Tomorrow, I start my seminary career. A new step in my life. It feels really weird to think that I am attending seminary. I am taking:

Biblical Interpretation

Old Testament Theology

Greek Exegesis Practicum

Patristics and Medieval Theology

Spiritual Formations

This should be a good semester. It also means that my translation of Dionysius Thrax might be spaced out a little more. I will try my best to keep it pretty regular. On the plus side, I get to buy 14 books. I always like buying books.

Concerning Rhapsody


Rhapsody is a part of a poem encompassing some subject. And the rhapsody has been said as if it is some staff-song (rhabdody), because men who went around with the bay-wood staff sang the poems of Homer.

[Greek Text]


  • That section was difficult, especially the last sentence. This section is about the rhapsody which is a section of a poem about a particular subject. Think of the different segments of the Iliad and the Odyssey that are often viewed on their own.
  • The second sentence, I believe, is either an explanation of what Dionysius thinks to be the etymology of rhapsody or an explanation of rhabdody, which maybe a common misspelling of rhapsody.
    • The "because" clause gave me the hardest trouble. Here is the original Greek: ἀπὸ τοῦ δαφνίνῃ ῥάβδῳ περιερχομένους ᾄδειν τὰ Ὁμήρου ποιήματα. First, I had no idea what the object of the preposition was. Then, I also was struggling to find how the infinitive fit into the sentence. I knew that τὰ Ὁμήρου ποιήματα was the object of ᾄδειν and that περιερχομένους was the subject. What I did not know was the infinitive can be used with any prepositions (a little searching through Smyth helped there). Because of my NT background, I thought that infinitives went only with ἐν, μετά, διά, εἰς, πρός, πρό, and that was about it (those were the ones mentioned in Mounce). It is always good to learn one's ignorance. I also decided to translate the απὸ causally though this may be just as much of a source idea. My first translation until I smoothed it out was "because of the singing of ones going around of the poems of Homer with the bay-wood staff." That is a more literal translation that leaves singing as the object of the preposition.

Are there any other ideas about what is going on here or how this should be translated?

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Concerning the Period


There are three punctuation points: full, middle, and comma. And the full point is the sign of the completed thought. And the middle point is the sign used because of a breath. And the comma is a sign of a not as yet completed but still lacking thought.

In what does the period differ from the comma? In time. For, on the one hand, in relation to the period the interval is great, but in relation to the comma the interval is altogether small.

[Greek Text]


  • Grammatically and conceptually, this was a fairly straightforward section. It concerns the punctuation points that you often see in Greek texts (well, at least three of the punctuation points). I don't know what the points looked like at the times (anyone have information on this?), but here is how they correspond to our current usage:
    • The full point is the normal period, and like our period, it shows the end of a completed thought.
    • The middle point is the raised period (a semi-semi-colon?). I have wondered what the purpose of the sign was because at sometimes a period seems the best way to "translate" it and at other times a comma seems best. Apparently, it is a place for the reader to take a breath.
    • The comma is the usual comma, and it represents a partial thought.
  • This next section I am a little unsure about. I believe when Dionysius refers to the period here (στιγμὴ), he means the full point (τελεία). He is making a distinction between the period and the comma, yet above he includes the comma in the list of the three punctuation points (στιγμαί). I also think that the middle point is not included in this discussion because it does not seem as though Dionysius attaches any grammatical significance to it. The full point and the comma both deal with thoughts, but the middle point signifies a breath. Or perhaps I am wrong. As I think about it, Dionysius has already told us what the distinction between the full point and the comma is: completeness of thought. We are left, however, wondering what the difference between the middle point and the comma is. Neither signifies a complete thought, so both in some way show sections of a thought. So how do we tell the difference between the two? Dionysius answers this question with time. The pause is greater with the middle point while the comma's pause is very short. The problem with my first idea is that I had no idea how to explain the time answer.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Concerning Pitch


Pitch is the resonance of a musical sound. The resonance of height is shown by the acute accent. The resonance of leveling is shown by the grave accent. The resonance of a change in direction is shown by the circumflex accent.

[Greek Text]


  • Dionysius (I am constantly wanting to type Dionysios) describes pitch as basically how the musical sound (or voice) sounds.
  • This next section is very difficult for me. I am still not certain as to how it should be translated. It was not so much the grammar that caused problems as figuring out what the words meant. Here is the section in Greek: ἡ κατὰ ἀνάτασιν ἐν τῇ ὀξείᾳ, ἡ κατὰ ὁμαλισμὸν ἐν τῇ βαρείᾳ, ἡ κατά περίκλασιν ἐν τῇ περισπωμένῃ. This section is made up of three smaller sections each with three parts: (1) ἡ (2) κατὰ followed by a noun (3) ἐν τῇ followed by an adjective
    • The first issue is to what does ἡ refer. The feminine gender points to either ἀπήχησις (resonance, sounding) or φωνῆς (sound, voice). The more natural choice seems to be ἀπήχησις due to its significance to the previous sentence.
    • The next two parts gave me the most fun. There are six words which can be divided into two groups: the nouns following κατὰ and the adjectives following ἐν. These can be divided into three sections: those referring to the acute accent, those referring to the grave accent, and those referring to the circumflex accent.
      • When I looked up the nouns, the most relevant meaning I found was when following κατὰ they mean "of the acute accent" (ἀνάτασις), "of the grave accent" (or "without a rise in tone" ὁμαλισμός), and "of the circumflex accent" (περίκλασις). On their own, however, they mean "height," "leveling," and "change in direction," respectively (there are of course other meanings, but these seem to be the next most relevant).
      • The adjectives I had seen before and knew that they refer to the accents as well (though I did learn that this happens when they are in the feminine gender): ὀξεία – acute, βαρεία – grave, and περισπωμένη – circumflex. Their basic meanings are "high," "low (or unaccented)," and "being wheeled about."
    • The question arose in my mind: which of these words refer explicitly to the accent and which refer to their basic meaning? It seemed to me that both the noun and the adjective could not explicitly mean the accent. Woodenly, that might look something like: the resonance of the acute accent is by (in, with?) the acute accent. That doesn't really explain anything which seems to be Dionysius' purpose, so I figure that one set refers to the accent and the other set explains the accent. I eventually decided on the way translated above because the adjective group is the group I have seen before in reference to accents. I realize that isn't the strongest reason, but I couldn't see a better way with the resources I have.
    • Whichever group names the accents, they both offer insight into how the accents sound. The acute accent has a high sound. The grave accent seems to be a level sound. Ὁμαλισμός refers to a leveling, like that which one might do to the ground, and βαρύς can either refer to a low sound or a unaccented sound. The circumflex accent has a sound that changes (wheels about, twists).

Any comments or advice as to how this passage should be translated would be appreciated. Do you think I am correct or should I have translated it another way?

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