Tell us about the authors who set you on your journey in biblical scholarship?
Travis: It was really through encountering the beauty and majesty of the Bible itself in its original languages that I became interested in biblical scholarship. Christo van der Merwe has spent his career studying Hebrew in order to assist Bible Translation. His A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (2nd edition) demonstrates that sophisticated scholarship on the languages of the Bible can be deeply relevant to Christian service.
Stephen Levinsohn, who wrote Discourse Features of New Testament Greek, is a career Bible translator and linguist whose work is informed by profound personal learning about the world’s languages. His book inspired me to do similar “fieldwork” on the biblical languages.
Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament by Steve Runge was the first book to show me the value of modern linguistics for biblical exegesis, which then deepened my interest in the languages themselves. It also helped me see how traditional grammarians were the linguists of their day –– and that modern cutting-edge linguistics honours their tradition.
Andrew: Adolf Deissmann was one of the first scholars to take papyri and inscriptions and integrate them into our understanding of Greek in a systematic or meaningful way. For this reason, Deissmann remains one of the most influential scholars for my area of specialisation. Deissmann’s Bible Studies (1895) dispelled long-held notions about Greek and moved our field forward in an irreversible way. We are still building off his work today. This book is one to which I continually return.
Michael Kruger’s Canon Revisited was one of the most important books that I read as a young Christian and student. We often hear sceptical voices in the public square about the validity of the biblical text, but Kruger counters them with a calculated, informed, reasonable and unapologetically confessional response. Canon issues are complex, but Kruger set a model for not only good scholarship but Christian scholarship. Additionally it gave me an urge to dig deeper, to find creative solutions to long-standing issues and to think critically with as many tools as I can manage. I am profoundly indebted to this book for helping develop a sense of curiosity I wouldn’t otherwise have.
I know Travis chose Steve Runge’s Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament, and I would definitely count this as a significant inspiration for me too. Steve’s book saved my love for the languages. Greek didn’t come to me very easily at all and I didn’t enjoy the ways we were typically taught Greek in seminary. Then I was introduced to Runge’s grammar which provided a different way of viewing language — it was refreshing, creative and fun. This book single-handedly put me on the path that started me on my journey to Cambridge. I commend it to anyone interested in languages.