Our Silvanic golden nugget for today is buried in a footnote, but deserves wider exposure:
“Ideally, students learning biblical Greek should do so only within the context of learning Hellenistic Greek generally (with at least a smattering of the late classical period). Of course, such a program would easily require a tripling of the time and effort nowadays devoted to the subject, and it would be virtually impossible to persuade students (or even faculty and administrators) that one needs to ‘waste time’ with Plato and Polybius and Plutarch in order to understand the language of Paul. But can one imagine a person with two years of college French daring to translate (or write an exegetical commentary on) the plays of Molière?”
Moisés Silva, “Are Translators Traitors? Some Personal Reflections,” in Glen G. Scorgie et al. (eds.), The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God’s Word to the World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), page 49 n. 12.
Having presciently heeded Silva’s advice on this matter, I can only say that I am all the richer for having spent a few years pursuing the study of late Classical and Hellenistic Greek, and I encourage all who have the opportunity to do so to take advantage of it. Sometimes I have the feeling that we haven’t really overcome Hermann Cremer’s notion that the Greek of the New Testament is some kind of “Holy Ghost language.” The difference is that, instead of saying that the Holy Spirit created a theretofore unattested special language for revelatory purposes, some are now saying that the Holy Spirit doggedly stuck to a non-literary variety of the language for revelatory purposes. The first error was dispelled by the pioneering work on papyri and inscriptions by the likes of Deissmann, Grenfell, and Hunt; the second will only be laid to rest by increased exposure to Greek literature contemporary to the New Testament.