Saturday, April 29, 2006

Opie Taylor's Move to the Dark Side, NBA Playoffs, 2nd/3rd Declension Nouns

Opie Taylor's Move to the Dark Side. I'm disappointed in Opie. Actually, I'm disappointed with Ron Howard. I grew up watching Ronnie Howard play Opie Taylor. People just a little younger than I may think of him more as Richie Cunningham than as Opie Taylor. Actually, Ron Howard has proven himself to be an excellent film producer. He has done well for himself.

As the producer of what is certainly to be a Hollywood blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code (to be released on May 19th), he will make even more millions of dollars for himself. I am sorry that he chose to produce that story, which will delude millions of people into believing that the Scriptures perpetrate a lie about Jesus Christ. I read Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code during a trip to the orient in March 2005. It is a great read, though very easy to de-bunk. Lots of things have been written de-bunking the garbage presented in the "novel" as truth. My son recently blogged about Da Vinci Code (have you read the book, Greg?). He mentions Tom Hanks (star of the movie) as saying that the movie will be an opportunity for more people to go to church. I hope that Hanks is correct.

Dr. Stephen Farra, professor at one of the my alma maters, Columbia International University, wrote an interesting piece on the Da Vinci Code.Farra is a professor of psychology/counseling, and rather than attacking the historical accuracy of Dan Brown's work (which is very easily done), uncovers what he considers to be Brown's agenda, that of preaching Wiccan paganism.

Over the past two and a half years three of my grown sons and several of their college-aged friends have read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, as have millions of other readers. When some of them started to quote this well-written but rather bizarre conspiracy novel as fact, I knew I needed to read it. As I did, the similarities between the underlying thought stream in the novel and the Wiccan beliefs that I had encountered in therapy sessions several years before began to leap out at me. By the time I was about a third of the way through the book, it was clear to me that this work of fiction is essentially an apologetic and promo piece for “the Wiccan Way,” complete with a Wiccan interpretation of the New Testament and early Christian history. Reading the rest of the book only reinforced these beliefs. Wicca is just one form of Neo-Paganism. But, it is thoroughly oriented toward “the sacred feminine,” and followers of Wicca claim all of ancient/medieval paganism that orients toward the feminine as their own.

Farra summarizes similarities between Wiccan beliefs and those presented by "the Browns" (he credits quite a bit to the belief system of Dan Brown's wife, Blythe) in The Da Vinci Code:

Personally, I think the Browns have done a masterful job of encoding their Wiccan beliefs. Talk about hiding your secret in plain sight! The Browns lay out their alternative to Catholicism and Christianity, the Wiccan belief and value system, clearly and right away, but they do it in way that makes you think you are going to learn some fascinating “insider information” about Catholicism and Christianity, instead of actually learning about Witchcraft (the Wiccan way), and the Wiccan interpretation of the New Testament and early Christian history.

Recently when Rose and I saw the preview for the movie, she asked me if I really thought people would accept the crazy view that The Da Vinci Code promotes. Yes, I do. Greg is correct about the need for good apologetics. Let's get ready to show people the truth about Jesus Christ.

NBA Playoffs. I really am not much of a fan of the NBA. When I lived in Chile, I watched quite a bit of NBA on TV. Having grown up in the Chicago area when the Bulls were awful, I enjoyed the Michael Jordan era. Since moving to the U.S. over the past 12 years, I have found myself losing interest. College basketball is more interesting. I've watched the Missouri Tigers, I've watched the Fighting Illini. College basketball is a great game. Kobe is great, LeBron is amazing, but pro players can be such prima donnas that it turns me off just a bit.

Maybe it would be different if Joplin had a team. Not living in an NBA town, it has recently come home to me how different my attitude is from those who have a hometown team. Last Sunday, my brother-in-law, Steve, who lives in Phoenix was at our home for Sunday dinner. I didn't have plans to tune in the Suns' playoff game, but Steve was obviously going to watch. I would be happy to see the Suns beat the Lakers! I write these words from Indianapolis, IN, a city that also has an NBA team. We drove into Indy last night, and met extended family members for a meal. My nephew, Richard, had something in his pocket that said "Pacers". I noticed it when we first met. Through a buddy at work, he shares in some "season tickets" for the Pacers. The buddy got playoff tickets, but was not going to use them, so he gave them to Richard. Richard's girls have ball games this afternoon, so his father and I will be at Conseco Fieldhouse to watch Game 4 of the playoff series between the Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets. I came to Indpls to speak at a church, never thinking about an NBA playoff game. Two and a half hours from now, I'll be there. Thank you, Richard!

Though I confessed to not being a huge NBA fan, this will be my second ever NBA game, and my first NBA playoff game. It's a great game, and I will enjoy watching it. Thanks again, Richard!

2nd/3rd Declension Nouns. Every once is a while, I learn something that strikes me as interesting. I'll share this one. It might be described as an epiphanous moment for me. I'm certain that I got more excited about it than my readers will, except for the exception of AROD828 (this is for you, friend!). At any rate, the word for Sabbath in the New Testament is a 2nd Declension noun, one of the first declensions learned:
σάββατον, ου, τό. However, recently in my Greek class, we had a selection that we translated from Mark 3:4:
Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθὸν ποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι;
I mentioned to my class that the Sabbath there was dative plural. One student, who should have known better, asked how I knew it was dative plural (Duh!). I quickly retorted with a much-used phrase stolen from the author of our textbook: "The definite article is your friend!" It should be obvious that the definite article τοῖς is dative plural. Since articles agree with the nouns they modify in gender, case, and number, the Sabbath word is also dative plural. When I looked at the form τοῖς σάββασιν, however, I was overcome by a sense of wonder. The lexical form for Sabbath is obviously 2nd declension, but its form here follows typical 3rd declension form. If I knew of that previously, I had forgotten it. The explanation is that likely its form in Hebrew would be tranliterated shabbat. In 3rd declension nouns, a common final consonant stem is "t", like the word ὄνομα, in which case the final tau drops out in the nominative singular and in the dative plural, since a tau does not stand at the end of a word and drops off (in the case of the nominative singular), and a tau followed by a sigma will drop the tau, leaving just the sigma, as in the Square of Stops (the case in the dative plural).

This is a variation that takes place in the NT. Every NT instance of "Sabbath" that occurs in the dative plural takes a 3rd declension form, even though the word is 2nd declension. This does not take place in the LXX. Every instance where "sabbath" occurs in the dative plural in the LXX the 2nd declension form τοῖς σαββάτοις is used.

I'm aware that most of you don't care about this as much as I, but I wrote it up for you, Andy!

Hope you all have a great day!


1 comment:

Andy Rodriguez said...

Now that's what I'm talking about. Very perseptive. This reminded me of another lesson I one time learned about σαββατον. Let's see if you know it. Here we go. Pop quiz for Dave Fish.

In Mark 16 we read the account of the women going to the tomb of Jesus. The account reads λίαν πρωῒ τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων ἔρχονται ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον. We translate this "very early on the first day of the week they came to the tomb," but literally it would read, "very early in the one of the sabbaths." The article is dative singular with the cardinal number "one." Plus, not only is τῶν σαββάτων plural (as opposed to "of the week") but this is the word sabbaths and not week.

How do we end up with the translation we have. Even the very literal translations have "on the first day of the week." What do you say?