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Question about Seminary
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Author:  Nathan [ Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Question about Seminary

Going off of observations by other board members and a quick review of the curriculum from a few protestant seminaries;

How much of an emphasis do Catholic Seminaries put on Linguistics?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Jun 10, 2017 4:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

If you mean "foreign language study," the Program for Priestly Formation says:

    The curriculum of studies of college seminarians must include a
    grounding in the liberal arts and sciences, including studies in the humanities.
    Special attention is to be given to classical and foreign languages. A
    knowledge of Latin and the biblical languages is foundational and should
    be given the emphasis that the Church accords it. Particular attention
    must be given to ensure that before entering the theologate all seminarians
    can demonstrate that they have acquired that “knowledge of Latin
    which will enable them to understand and make use of so many scientific
    sources and of the documents of the Church,” according to the insistence
    of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council. The study of the Spanish
    language and Hispanic cultures as well as other pastorally appropriate languages
    and cultures is recommended. In some cases, an English Language
    Program (ELP) may form an important part of the program.

In reality, it's possible for someone who struggles with learning languages to graduate without knowing anything except English, although he would probably have to try, at least, Latin and probably Greek. Very few guys learn Hebrew.

If you mean something else by "linguistics," you'll have to describe it.

Author:  Nathan [ Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Have you met Priests that can speak and read Greek?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Sat Jun 10, 2017 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Yes. I would guess about half the guys in my seminary class managed to finish two semesters of it. A few of us did more. I haven't used it regularly since I graduated and therefore can't claim to know it well any longer.

Author:  Nathan [ Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Yes. I would guess about half the guys in my seminary class managed to finish two semesters of it. A few of us did more. I haven't used it regularly since I graduated and therefore can't claim to know it well any longer.


Hmm, I feel like there should be more. This is probably due to wishy-washy answers I get from some Priests when I ask them about something in scripture.



What do you think is something they teach in Seminary that they can do away with? Also something that you think they need to focus on more?

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

We spend a lot of time studying Scripture; at least one course every semester for eight semesters, and the language courses are in addition to that.

For seminary to cover everything it needs to cover, it would have to be several years longer, and it's already six years long at a minimum for most men. But I wish we'd had a course in parish management--a parish priest is essentially running a small (or not so small) business. We got only a weekend seminar taught by people who were (as far as I can tell) completely unaware of the different needs of a rural parish versus a big city one.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Quote:
Hmm, I feel like there should be more. This is probably due to wishy-washy answers I get from some Priests when I ask them about something in scripture.
Are you asking after Mass? That's the worst time to ask a priest anything. He's at maximal-frazzle level.

I'd also point out that in tying Scripture questions to linguistics, you're making an assumption that the linguistic approach is the primary way to answer such questions. theJack would probably agree with you. Most Catholics wouldn't.

Author:  Nathan [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Quote:
Hmm, I feel like there should be more. This is probably due to wishy-washy answers I get from some Priests when I ask them about something in scripture.
Are you asking after Mass? That's the worst time to ask a priest anything. He's at maximal-frazzle level.


No, also this isn't all Priests, just some.

As for the linguistics, I feel it is something that should be further explored and most definitely to the same extant as it is at some protestant seminaries. Not for every Priest, but should the Catholic Church not be at forefront of Scriptural exegesis, linguistically and otherwise? Something bad happened when these historical-critical and hyper-allegorical methods of study ran riot. Yes, I would like to see more Priests and theologians who would use or at least demonstrate a full knowledge of the Historical-Grammatical method along with the linguistics to boot. I think you're probably ahead of the game because of some of the debates you've had here with theJack and others. Were these types of questions and methodologies even mentioned in seminary?

Even still, some of the most impressive Catholic theologians that I've come across in recent years are lay folks. Why is the arena of scripture study currently dominated by authors who are converts or lay people, when the Magisterium is practically entirely made up of Priests? Is it just a poor dissemination of information on the Church's part? After all I don't think Scott Hahn, Brandt Pitre, and others are teaching anything new.

Author:  Doom [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

I don't think you are using the word 'linguistics' correctly in this discussion.

Linguistics is the scientific study of the nature language. It is largely theoretical in nature and is usually divided into many subdisciplines including (but not necessarily limited to) grammar, semiotics, semantics, morphology, and stylistics.

While it may be an interesting discipline, it really has no relevance to Bible study or theology, and thus has no place in the curriculum of a seminary.

Author:  Nathan [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Doom wrote:
While it may be an interesting discipline, it really has no relevance to Bible study or theology, and thus has no place in the curriculum of a seminary.


I heavily disagree.

Author:  Doom [ Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Nathan wrote:
Doom wrote:
While it may be an interesting discipline, it really has no relevance to Bible study or theology, and thus has no place in the curriculum of a seminary.


I heavily disagree.


Then you don't understand what 'linguistics' is, linguistics is NOT 'knowledge of foreign languages', Linguistics is a discipline that is concerned with defining the nature of communication. Knowledge of linguistics is not going to tell you ANYTHING about the meaning of a text.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Doom is, sigh, correct. "Linguistics" refers to the study of properties of languages and the different ways they are put together--for example, Hebrew is built in a way that's very different from Latin/Greek/English.

That said: I'm not a fan of any of the -critical methods. But in reality, Catholic priests and Protestant pastors both do most of their exegesis by turning to commentaries, because the authors of the commentaries, who have spent decades honing their skills, know the languages, context, background, etc., far better than we can. The Greek and (extremely limited) Hebrew skills I have do help me understand better what a commentary is saying, but I wouldn't presume to do commentary from scratch.

Finally, I would point out, as I have to Jack in the past, that intense language-chopping exegesis is new in the past few centuries, and I find it difficult to believe that the best way of looking at Scripture would have lain neglected for well over a millennium.

Author:  Nathan [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Doom is, sigh, correct. "Linguistics" refers to the study of properties of languages and the different ways they are put together--for example, Hebrew is built in a way that's very different from Latin/Greek/English.

That said: I'm not a fan of any of the -critical methods. But in reality, Catholic priests and Protestant pastors both do most of their exegesis by turning to commentaries, because the authors of the commentaries, who have spent decades honing their skills, know the languages, context, background, etc., far better than we can. The Greek and (extremely limited) Hebrew skills I have do help me understand better what a commentary is saying, but I wouldn't presume to do commentary from scratch.

Finally, I would point out, as I have to Jack in the past, that intense language-chopping exegesis is new in the past few centuries, and I find it difficult to believe that the best way of looking at Scripture would have lain neglected for well over a millennium.


How does the study of language, both written and spoken, not aid in determining what a text says. The whole point of a text is to communicate something. I don't see how linguistics isn't a suitable aid in determining the message that a text is communicating.

Author:  Highlander [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

There seems to be a strain in this discussion (or I inject a strain) of the concept of the priest as perfect ... in all ways, in all knowledge, in all practice. In this case it is linguistics and languages. There are many other cases. And the strain, IMHO, is common as folks seek perfection in others that they do not expect of themselves.

Author:  Nathan [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Priests are the primary teachers of the Faith, the shepherds of the flock. I think these are reasonable questions, especially in an era where the communication of the Faith is extremely damaged.

This idea that linguistics is the way to interpret scripture might be flawed, but I'm not convinced that it is. I think it should at least be addressed, especially in this recovery from modernism that much of the Church still seems to be going through.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

You really, really don't mean linguistics. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics

The only reason a Protestant seminary would teach that is for people preparing to do mission work with people whose language is unknown or at least unwritten.

You seem to be under the impression that the historical-critical method displaced the method you're arguing for. It didn't, at least in Catholic circles. Have you read BXVI's books on Jesus? He is no fan of the H/C method, but his proposed solution is different from yours, and IMHO better.

Author:  Doom [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 1:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Nathan wrote:
How does the study of language, both written and spoken, not aid in determining what a text says?


Because determining what a text says is NOT what linguistics is about, at all. Linguistics is NOT a tool that one uses either to translate a text or to interpret, linguistics is concerned with NEITHER of those issues.


Let me rephrase your question, suppose you were trying to put together your tax return, and you were complaining that your accountant had no knowledge of Galois Theory. To you, the one making the complaint, it seems obvious 'accounting is math, so the more math the better', but to the accountant, your question is simply insane, because Galois Theory cannot help you at all in the study of the principles of accounting, Galois Theory is not relevant to your tax return.

Author:  Obi-Wan Kenobi [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 2:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

You might find it helpful to look at a Catholic seminary catalog. Here's a link to the latest one from my alma mater: http://msmary.edu/academics/academic-ca ... 016-17.pdf

Note, first of all, that there's an incredible amount of non-classroom activity and expectations of the seminarians. Bear that in mind as you look at the course load.

As far as languages go: Greek and Latin are offered alternating years in pre-Theology. A candidate admitted to theology would probably have already taken them at his previous institution, but he'd otherwise have to work them into his schedule.

The standard course listings for theology are on p. 40.

Author:  Nathan [ Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
You might find it helpful to look at a Catholic seminary catalog. Here's a link to the latest one from my alma mater: http://msmary.edu/academics/academic-ca ... 016-17.pdf

Note, first of all, that there's an incredible amount of non-classroom activity and expectations of the seminarians. Bear that in mind as you look at the course load.



Yea, one guy I recently spoke with said he had to pray the liturgy of hours and do a full Holy Hour everyday.

Author:  Nathan [ Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Question about Seminary

Also, did you go straight into Spiritual Direction when you entered seminary?

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