Linguistics. Is it worth it?


For a lot of people, they aren’t going to get involved with something unless they see it’s worth it. For some, that means that with the Biblical Languages a student isn’t going to learn some new way of understanding them unless there’s some exegetical (even theological) payout down the road at the end. This may not be you, but it is me. When I first was introduced to the study of linguistics I was bored to death, vomiting in my head at what I was having to learn. Some can attest to this. I can’t even begin to describe how difficult, and tasteless, these early bites were—but I knew, because I had seen in my Professor’s work, that there were some significant payouts as far as appropriating certain linguistic frameworks to one’s analysis of the original languages was concerned.

And this was enough for me to bear down, bite the bullet and go the extra mile.

In hindsight, I’m can’t put into words how thankful I am that I went down this road. If I tried I’d just start babbling and stuttering about the veil that has been removed and how all things shine differently now. Well, it’s not that romantic, but it is close.

A couple weeks ago I dropped a post that wondered whether how much an application of linguistics actually brings to the table, as far as exegetical significance is concerned. Mr. Thompson had some wise words for me. But since then I accidentally stumbled across an article that addressed this very topic—and written by one who demands a hearing.

The article is titled “The Relevance of Greek Discourse Studies to Exegesis”, by Stephen Levinsohn.

I couldn’t believe it. It was exactly what I was looking for. You can download the article for yourself here, free of charge.

Now in the off-chance that some of you readers aren’t too familiar with things linguistic, I’m gonna take it upon myself to summarize the key points in this article in the following posts. I’ll keep it simple so you can follow along if you’re new to this stuff (but I can’t backtrack too much or else it’ll turn into an intro to discourse analysis textbook—and we already have those!). So if you have any questions on what I discuss, feel free to follow up in the comments.

I hope you’ll stay tuned and be encouraged as you learn what linguistics can bring to the exegetical table.