Monday, 19 October 2009

Foreign languages and Biblical scholarship

I honestly didn't marry my wife in order to keep up to date with German scholarship, but I have to say, doing so was really a great move as far as my doctorate is concerned. For one thing, two doctorates have already been published on my thesis (Psalm 24), and they are both in German! I may well have been able to learn the language well enough to plough through the languages with a dictionary, but living here and speaking the language on a daily basis has made reading in German a pleasure rather than a chore (well, most of the time. Barth was a bit of a headache at first).

Which brings me to my Bockmuehl quote:
A generation ago, lip service was still paid to “keeping up” with scholarship in other languages, even if it was already a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance. For anyone inclined to the old-fashioned view (still widely held in the natural sciences) that serious scholarly inquiry is at least in principle a global enterprise, it can only be disheartening to observe how ofen footnotes in English remain remarkably untouched by directly pertinent recent publications in German, French, or Spanish—and vice versa. Rare is the scholar who bothers comprehensively with the key international publications (Bockmuehl, Seeing, 35)
Bockmuehl finds some comfort in the fact that
at least an Anglophone dialogue continues despite the accelerating continental drift separating Europe and America in religious, cultural and geopolitical respects (36).

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