Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ordering the Canon

Mike Bird offers his order of the New Testament canon. My question is, why not then do it?

Slowly but surely I'm working my way through the NT and every time I do some work on a passage, I translate the sections I'm working on and then I print out an A4 copy of the entire letter/gospel. If I'm struggling with a passage I keep it in Greek and then footnote my translation or the NRSV. Then I note the difficulties and the options. Some words I don't translate on principle like δικαιοσυνη or Βασιλεια του Θεου because this reminds me of the struggles and debates. Then I file it in a single folder in an order that I'm happy with. Then, when I feel the need to, I go back and read all the work I've done in the order I've chosen. Making more comments in the margins, adding a thought or a question. Sometimes even revising a translation: like with my work on Πιστις Χριστου, I had to revise my whole Galatians section because Hays got it right [contra Bird!].

My NT is growing week by week. I've got Matt, Mark, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 John, and sections of Revelation due to my current work. Sometimes I even print the Greek in a parallel column that enables me to work directly on the same page. Especially if it's a gospel passage. It's my NT in progress and it's a great way to do NT study because there are no headings, [unless I put them in] and no breaks [unless I insert one] and so this allows me to fully concentrate on the letter the way it was probably first written.
So why not do it?

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