Video by Alicia Bosman

Is it Greek to you? (also by Alicia Bosman)

From a very young age I was intrigued by the Ancient World. About people who were people just like us but lived in a world that seem so different from ours. Especially, the Ancient Biblical world stood out for me. A great part of that is that I am a Christian and my parents raised me with the stories of the Bible. The Biblical narratives form a great deal of who I am and my relationship with God. I can also remember as a young boy that I went to the library and took out books about the ancient Greeks and Romans or the Medieval period.

In 2019 I started to study ancient languages, because of my interest in the Ancient world. Furthermore, I wanted to be able to study the Bible in its original languages. I enrolled in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. I wanted to study the people of Ancient World and for that I need to learn their languages.

The largest part of the Biblical Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Hebrew is a very strange language for people that are used to English. Different letters, sentences from right to left and totally different vowels (initially the vowels were absent). This really shows how a totally different language than mine can still fulfil the same purpose as mine. Communicating ideas and interacting with different people. It shows the way of life for people out of the Old Testament.

Greek is in two ways important for me. First, it is the language of the New Testament. In Greek we read about the live and work of Jesus. Secondly, Ancient Greece and Greek played a huge role in the way we think, speak and argue. A lot of modern English words are derived from Greek and has an interesting story to it. And everyone still encounters Greek letters today for example in Mathematics or Science.

Latin played a role just like Greek in the forming of our world. The only difference is that Latin played a far larger role. It is almost impossible to read an English sentence without a word derived from Latin. The Romans gave us a lot in terms of language, law, medical science etc. (et cetera). Latin was also the language to use if people of different native languages wanted to communicate. Latin was the English of today for more than a thousand years. If you want to study for example the Middle Ages, you need Latin.

I am very pleased to be successful in my studies and that I regularly pass all my subjects with distinction. One of the most important factors of successful studies are the lecturers. At the University of Pretoria there are plenty of them. My lecturers in Hebrew, Greek and Latin do an incredibly good job in teaching and mentoring me. I will recommend anybody to study ancient languages and I will recommend anybody to study it at the University of Pretoria.

- Author Jonatan Boon
Published by Luis Lancho Perea

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