More Greek Mishaps and Some Runaway Sheep

Quick Update

Hello, how has your week been? Mine has been extremely busy, and I’m not much enjoying the weather.

I am writing this after the first week of Greek lessons—so brace yourself for some more interesting facts.

Did you know, that originally Greek was written entirely in capital letters, with no gaps between the words? I have taught children who do this, and it doesn’t make for easy reading. Greek later evolved to be written entirely in lower case letters (I’m guessing because they were faster to write). At some point, someone had to go along and put gaps between all the words, which must have involved some decisions, as it wouldn’t have always been obvious. Therefore, even when I am reading the New Testament in ancient Greek, some of it may be different to how the original was written, which I guess means I shouldn’t be too ‘purist’ about the whole thing. Each individual word was obviously not meant to be held in absolute holy awe, it was not dictated by God, it was written by people and has changed over time.

A Greek Temple

I talk of reading the ancient Greek, but of course this is being optimistic, I am currently struggling with remembering the letter sounds and the rather dodgy punctuation. In a bid to help myself practise, I decided it would be a good idea to write the shopping list on the fridge door in Greek letters—not the actual Greek words (because I don’t know them) but the English words written in Greek letters. Good idea, I thought. Except it wasn’t. Husband (bless him!) decided to join in, but he didn’t fully understand the exercise and put all the things he wanted me to buy through a Google Translate app. My shopping list is now full of words that neither of us understand. His writing is bad enough when he’s writing English, so some of the words contain symbols that are not even Greek, so we have no way of knowing what they say!

During a lesson, someone asked whether Jesus spoke Greek. My reaction was that no, we know that he spoke Aramaic. However, I was wrong. Apparently, Jesus probably spoke mainly Aramaic (the language of the Jews of the day) plus he would have read Hebrew (because all Jewish boys learnt Hebrew). But at the time, Israel was under Roman occupation, and they would probably have spoken Greek—so when Jesus spoke to officials, it is likely he would have used the Greek I am learning. (I thought that Romans spoke Latin, but although that was the official language of Rome, most citizens spoke Greek, and even in Rome, Latin was considered the language of the ‘educated’ rather than the common language.) Isn’t that interesting?

I do still have some life apart from Greek, though trying to learn it is very time-consuming and I’m very glad I’m not studying a full theology degree when it would have to fit around a whole lot of other subjects. My learning only has to fit around writing and selling books, and sorting the animals. The animals have been annoying this week, because I planted some bulbs ready for spring, and the chickens saw the freshly dug soil and rushed over to dig them all up again. Most of the bulbs are now kicked into random places and quite a lot of the lovely compost I lugged onto the flowerbed is now scattered across the path.

I am still making sourdough bread, though my enthusiasm is waning as it tends to be very heavy and slightly odd-tasting. I have branched out this week into making naan bread, and attempted peswari naan. It involved liquidizing sultanas and almonds and coconut, and I forgot to shut the lid properly so my kitchen floor is rather gritty. Dogs, it transpires, do not like sultanas.

We have a new flock of sheep in the field adjoining the house. The owner didn’t raise them, and the field is quite big, and he is having trouble catching them (which he needs to do soon because there’s a ram with them, so they’ll be in lamb). He did have a sheep dog, but clearly neither the dog nor the sheep had read the manual on how they are supposed to behave, as the dog responded wonderfully to commands and whistles but the sheep still managed to charge all over the field. We went to help him, and tried to funnel them into a small area of pens. Sheep are mostly pretty stupid animals, and as soon as they got near to the pens they charged away again. I didn’t take Kia because although she’s great with herding poultry, I don’t trust her with sheep and they are big creatures when running straight at you—a charging ram could easily break your leg. We never managed to enclose the flock, so the poor owner will have to find someone more experienced to help. I’ve only ever helped round up flocks that have been raised by the owner, so they follow rather than run away.

I hope your week goes well. Thanks for reading.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
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