Friday, February 28, 2014

3 Projects I'd like to focus on

Over on the Mongolia blog you can read five points for prayer. Over here I want to talk/ramble about 3 projects that I want to get done.

1. The PhD

I have a good supervisor and a good relationship with my supervisor. She is on the same page as me insofar as she keeps saying, "The aim of the PhD is basically to show you are club-able, that you can join the club of scholars and play in their league." I quite enjoy my subject area and think my thesis should make a valuable contribution to the field of 4th century patristics, and I think it has broader significance for the interaction of historical theology, systematics, biblical exegesis, and contemporary church practice. The great difficulty at the moment is simply finding time!

2. The Ørberg

Since my last little update I have been compiling the vocabulary for chapter 8, and I hope to do some translation of this chapter in the next fortnight and to share an excerpt or two. I believe that rather than bemoaning grammar-translation, advocates for alternatives need to get on with the business of excellent Greek teaching and the production of excellent Greek materials. And actually I see that happening, I can point to a half-dozen exciting ventures in the world of communicative approaches to Ancient Greek.

Where does the Ørberg fit in? I believe it would form an invaluable text either as a teaching text for a full blown course, or a supplementary reading text for any other course. With a bit of aid, it could easily be the main text. Of course, ideally it would stand alone and truly let a student learn Greek virtually by themselves, but without illustrations and some strong contextual aids, this might fall short.

I'd also like to produce copies along the Geoffrey Steadman line: free pdfs, pay for hard copies. And I'd like to localise a vocab list to make it more accessible. For example, a pdf supplement of Greek - Mongolian vocabulary and perhaps a supplement with a guide to Greek grammar. This would produce a zero-to-low-cost communicative Greek resource for developing countries.

One of the reasons this would be so helpful is that, for example, my current students have to learn Hebrew using an English language textbook. Sure, it's great for them to learn English and access English language resources, but this means they are struggling to learn Hebrew through a 3rd language. It would be better to learn Hebrew through Mongolian, it would be even better to learn Hebrew qua Hebrew. So too for Greek.

Beyond the fabled Greek Ørberg, I can think of almost a half-dozen language teaching/learning related projects I'd like to pursue, but right now I think this is the one that needs completion. Of course, time is my limiting factor.

3. Some articles

I have a few articles that need to get out of my head and into paper. At least two semi-original thoughts on Galatians that could do with writing up, and then a couple of papers based on some previous research. This is one of my hopes for the year, that I can produce 3-4 articles and get them out there.

I thought I had some other projects to write about in this post, but 3 is all I've come up with right now. Of course my mind has many other things it would like to pursue, but I feel like these are the top 3 priorities in terms of research and production. If I can wrap these up in a year or so, I could get started on some follow-on projects from each of them.

You should get a post or two on 1 Peter shortly; my class got ahead of my own writing and so I've been writing notes on later sections without being able to finish up the directly following unit.


Unknown said...

If I can help in any way, let me know.

If you would like the .doc copies (separate page for each page in the commentary) for any of my commentaries so that you can adapt it for a different target language, please let me know. As long as the target language is not English, you can modify it and publish it however you wish. As I mentioned, each page of the commentary is a different document. You can change dictionary entries, for example, and then use the "search folder" function to find the same entry in every page of the commentary and copy-and-paste the new entry. The grammatical notes will be easier to modify.

Afterwards, you convert the word files to .pdf files and combine them into a single .pdf.

Just a thought.

Best wishes,

Geoffrey Steadman

Seumas Macdonald said...

Thanks Geoffrey, I will keep this in mind.

I would still like to produce some commentary volumes in your style for patristic texts. The lack of Perseus versions made it a bit more than I could achieve in terms of generating vocabulary. I think, personally, those would be good projects to be done alongside teaching a text.