Saturday, February 5, 2022

Reading Sturz's Book

Tonight's a good night to light a warm fire and sit down and read. 

I can still remember the day Harry Sturz gave me a signed copy of his book. 

It seems like yesterday. It's hard to fathom that the dissertation on which this book is based was completed in 1976. That was the year Sturz hired me to teach Greek at Biola. I was 24. 

Sturz's language is clear and straightforward. He possessed a remarkable ability to explain complex issues in a comprehensible and non-condescending manner. I have learned much from him. I am still learning from him as I read and reread his magnum opus. I see today it's selling for a "mere" $70 on Amazon. Its reprinting by Energion should change that for the better. 

If I were asked to pick my best Greek teachers, I would be hard pressed to choose. I had the privilege of being taught not only by Harry Sturz but also by the famous Greek Classicist Bernhard Wyss in Basel. Both were deeply involved with their students. Sturz loved to throw the frisbee with us. Wyss delighted in a different sort of reward. If you successfully completed his seminar on "Reading Ninth Century Greek Minuscule Manuscripts," you were taken to the subbasement of the university library, where the original edition of Erasmus's Greek New Testament (1516) was placed in your trembling hands. That year there were two of us who qualified for that honor. I shall never forget it. 

I could write at length about all my Greek teachers. They were distinguished scholars of the highest caliber. From Sturz in particular I learned that one of the most uncommon and yet essential aspects of scholarship was boldness -- boldness in seizing the opportunity to do the unconventional thing and to stand up for one's convictions, even if in the minority. It seems to me that the spirit of fear needs to be exorcised from a good many scholars today.