Wednesday, 21 January 2015

On Weather and Words: Two New Books from Wipf and Stock

Two new books from the Wipf and Stock stable have caught my eye. First of all, here are details of a book sure to delight the Englishperson in us all – a book about the weather!

Steve A. Wiggins, Weathering the Psalms: Meteorotheological Survey (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2014)

The weather is all around us all the time. From ancient times people have attributed the weather to the work of the gods. Ancient Israel shared this perception. The book of Psalms reflects theologically significant views on the weather that have not, until now, been fully explored. In this meteorological survey of the Psalms, whimsically called “meteorotheology,” every reference to the weather is translated in accordance with the known climate and weather of ancient Israel. Each verse is discussed with particular attention to the function of the weather in the hymnal of ancient Israel. This book will be a resource for translators, clergy, and scholars with an interest in how the weather impacted religious outlooks in ancient Israel. Readers will learn that some expected associations, such as thunder and lightning, did not influence Israelite views on the natural world in the same way that they do today. Yahweh was God of the weather, and the Psalms frequently use this paradigm as a reason for both praise and fear of the Lord.

I dare say that Wiggins’s book will naturally complement Robin Parry’s recently published The Biblical Cosmos, and be useful reading to those studying the doctrine of providence or environmental ethics.

The second book is likely to prove useful for many:

Peter S. Perry, Brushing Up English to Learn Greek (Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2014)

English may be the biggest obstacle to learning Greek! Greek textbooks use jargon such as “noun,” “verb,” “morphology,” and “syntax,” which sometimes sounds foreign. Many of us may remember them from grade school, but the memories may now be foggy from time and disuse. This book is written for hazy memories of English that need a brush up before learning Greek.

Different than other aids to learning Greek, Brushing Up English to Learn Greek introduces verbal aspect to beginning students. English emphasizes the time of an action but Greek emphasizes the point of view—or aspect—of an action. This book helps students build a bridge of understanding between the different thought worlds of English and Greek.

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