Saturday, July 02, 2016

Half Way Point

One is always at half way.  It is just a matter of arranging the start and finish so that they are equidistant from where you are, with you in the middle somewhere.

In this case the half way point is third semester Greek Exegesis class.  This is for those who enjoy inflicting pain on themselves.  Greek sentences can consist of about as many clauses as there are letters in an English sentence.  One of our tasks is to diagram the sentence structure, putting notes on every word as to its semantic category and function.  Is the participle adverbial, adjectival or substantival?  If adverbial, then what kind of adverbial?  You can get an idea of what this looks like by clicking here, although this leaves out half of the information.

Insha'Allah, I will be able to complete this class, although I am told that my Christian usage of Insha'Allah (if God will's it) is nearly the exact opposite of the usage by Muslims, a fact which likely deserves a thousand pages of linguistic technical commentary.  The Christian usage implies that we are working towards a goal that we hope to achieve, but recognize that it is through God's strength and permission that we might obtain that goal.  The Muslim usage is that we have no intention of doing something, but God might step in and compel us towards our undesired outcome anyway.  Insha'Allah.  Both interpretations are true theologically, but not the same linguistically.  The original reference to this comes from the Bible, James 4:13-15 - "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."  But now we sadly have to argue over whether James copied from Mohammed or vice versa.

3 comments:

Rummuser said...

It is my understanding that Inshallah means, that It is God's will and I am only an instrument in carrying out the action. Particularly with reference to the outcome, Muslims also say, God willing, we will succeed.

Looney said...

@Rummuser, that seems to put God at the starting point of the definition, which is the better perspective, rather than us.

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