Jane Harper jharper at
Wed Dec 2 15:18:02 EST 1998

> Thanks for sharing this.  I have recently finished doctoral studies in NT,
> though I am teaching NT full-time now, I am painfully aware of my own
> inadequacies in languages related to the study of the NT.  I can handle my
> Greek NT ok and, to a lesser extent my Hebrew OT, but even after doctoral
> studies I have had limited exposure to extra-biblical materials in the
> original languages, not to mention formal studies in classical Greek or Latin
> or Aramaic or Syriac or Coptic, etc.  I find this lack inexcusable, and
> I am committed to making up as much of it for myself as possible, I too fear
> what this means for the future of textual criticism and Bible translation if
> there are many others out there like me.

Alan:  I can relate.  I'm an older MDiv student, but nonetheless younger than
Metzger <BG>, and if I can I want to pursue a PhD in NT, but the word here at
GTU is don't do it unless you want to be a tenured graduate student.  The issue
really is the time required to become proficient in the languages, and the
scheduling difficulties involved in getting folks into the right classes in the
master's program WHILE they do two languages at once for two or three years.
I've engaged a tutor [a recent OT PhD] with whom I'll work, with the hope of
passing the required entrance examinations for the PhD  BEFORE I start
coursework.  This essentially means spending the next three years without much
of a life outside books, but it's a price I'm willing to pay for a life-long

Perhaps in the countries where the university system is not so married to large
group instruction, they have an easier time fitting in language study among all
the other required "stuff" -- I don't know.  But to try to do the preparation
[here at GTU anyway] is a long, long struggle.

Jane Harper    jharper at
Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA

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