Wednesday, September 07, 2005

16. Exhausted

Did I ever say that I enjoyed looking at “analysis and study of the Greek origins of words”?  Because John Boswell seems determined to prove me out to be a liar.  Of course, he’s dead, so – unless he read my blog from beyond the grave, went back in time and wrote this book; it probably wasn’t his intention to exhaust the part of my brain that enjoys linguistic stuff… bit still… I am 19 pages into his book, and I am worn out!

The book is Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe.  He wrote another book which is apparantly more of an theological study on homosexuality, but… well, as I mentioned, I am a history buff, and when it came time to choose which one of his books I picked up, I couldn’t resist.  I’m pretty sure (fingers crossed, knock on wood, click my heels together…) that the whole book isn’t going to be about Greek (and Latin, and Hebrew, and German…) origins of words, it’s probably just going to be the first chapter (which is called “The Vocabulary of Love and Marriage”).  One of the main problems is that when he is discussing Greek words, he writes them out in actual Greek, which means nothing to me – and once he has explained a word, he feels free to use that Greek word (in actual Greek) later on, which is pretty much impossible for me to follow, because I don’t read Greek.  Most authors would use an anglosized version of whatever Greek word they were talking about, but I guess that’s too low-brow for Boswell.  

The point (I think) that he’s getting at is that you can’t simply translate word for word, especially when translating ancient documents (which is ostensably what this book is going to be based on).  For example, if, several hundred years from now, someone were to be attempting to translate something from the 21st century  and they came across the phrase “slept with”, they could not in good conscience translate that word for word, because it is most likely to have nothing to do with actual sleep, it probably means “had sex with”.    So he is, as a historian, looking at the context of the documents he is reading, and attempting to justify his translations, and therefore his results with this first chapter… I think I may skip it.  I’m just going to trust him, cause… well, he’s much smarter than me and man! it’s exhausting!

I have mentioned before that I am lacking a sense of God’s presence, and the feeling that my prayers bounce back at me.  I don’t really know what to do about this except keep trying.  The problem is that I’ve run out of words… the sum total of my prayers can be said in one word: “Please…”  I sit down (kneel down, lay down) to pray and that is the only word I can think of.  I can only hope that the Spirit is interceding for me.  I picked up a book last night that was given to me by a friend; Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann and I prayed the first prayer in the book, and I think I’ll pray through this book for a while.  Not that I’ve abandoned my “please” prayer, it’s just that I don’t know what else to do… I want His presence in my life… I’m so tired of not knowing.           


Nathan said...

I suggest the Complete Works by EM Bounds on Prayer.

I think that sometimes the Lord "takes" that feeling of presence there because He wants to see if we will persevere. Or, perhaps, we are in sin. Regardless of if we feel Him, He is there. Our perceptions of Him to not a Him make:)

JJ said...

Thanks Nathan, I've put that one on my list. :)

Kelly said...

I've felt like that for a while, JJ, that I just don't know that He's with me. Nathan's right, though (Heb. 13:5). It's only been in the last couple days that I've started to sense Him near again. Is it as I want it? No, but He's still giving me a sense of "just wait. I will not withhold Myself from you. I will fill you in My time. Wait." Isaiah 30 is a really cool passage on that one... :-)

CK said...

Just a question for you--could you perhaps post about what it feels like to sense God's presence?

In my own life, there are certain commonalities in the circumstances when I've felt something close to 'the presence of God.' However, from a study of the biblical portrait of God's presence, I've come to recognize that the Bible doesn't always view comfort or peace as markers of his presence.

Just some thoughts.

clint said...

If you're going to make the plunge and try to understand for yourself (rather than just taking the word of one scholar over another) what specific words in the Gospels or Epistles refer to... in the long run, it's really going to pay off to take the time to learn the Greek alphabet, and how to read words in the Greek.

There are some good on-line tutorials, like this one. Aside from learning the letters, you need to know that a 'c' shaped accent over an initial vowel gives it an "h" sound at the start, but then you're done.