Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist

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It’s been a great while since I posted a blog entry. (I’ve noticed this is probably the most popular way of beginning a blog entry, so I’m leaning on convention.) I would like to post a photo essay about my trip to Israel last summer and my first archaeological dig. But until I have the leisure to make that happen, I am posting the following.

I love this semester. I love everything I am learning, and everything I am doing. I wake up full of excitement about the satisfying work God has put before me, and I have to force myself to go to bed because I can’t get enough of it.

There’s a lot going on... taking classes, teaching, writing, working with Gemma to try to further the fortunes of our musical. But if I could convey the feel of the upbeat, grateful mood I am in lately, I believe it would be encapsulated in the following parody.

My rendition of this number is here:

"I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist" on YouTube. Buy the single on iTunes soon!

This recording is just about as pure an expression of silly, bubbly joy as I know how to produce.


I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist
lyrics by Joshua Tyra
with deference due to William S. Gilbert

(PROFESSOR PHILOMATHES revealed at his desk surrounded by mountains of books)

PROFESSOR PHILOMATHES

I am the very model of a biblical philologist.
I’m quite the Semitician and a passing Hittitologist.
My articles are free from all grammatical iniquity.
I rank Semitic cognates in their order of propinquity.

I am very well acquainted, too, with matters exegetical.
I side with all the orthodox, and censure the heretical.
In print, I wrinkle brows of any liberal who wrinkles mine,
(bothered for a rhyme)
Wrinkles mine, wrinkles mine... got it!
And counter all the theses of that vigilante Finkelstein!

Then I can give a lecture on the logic of Leviticus
And tell you every symbol in the apparatus criticus.
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!

I know my St. Jerome and all his Vulgate Prolegomena.
I’ve memorized, in order, all the known hapax legomena!
Then I can tell the age of every patriarch in Genesis
And tell the daghesh fortés from the shureqs and the lenéses.

I dream in Aramaic and interpret it in Syriac.
I’ve posited that Esau was a possible porphyriac.
Then I can parse at sight a polal, hithpolal or hishtaphel
(bothered for a rhyme)
Hishtaphel, hishtaphel... oh, that’s a hard one... got it!
And topple any argument it happens that I wish to fell!

Then I can date a sample of Arabian calligraphy
And tell you what the scribe was wearing, based on the epigraphy!
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!

Then I can write a shopping list in classical Sumerian,
And tell you whether peoples were nomadic or agrarian.
I know the Jewish festivals, Purimic and Kippurian.
I mumble in Mandaic, I can hum a little Hurrian.

Then I can sing the alphabet in Hieroglyphic Luwian,
And catalogue the animals, both pre- and postdiluvian.
Then I can tell a surplice from a chasuble or maniple.
(bothered for a rhyme)
Maniple, maniple... got it!
And reconstruct the library of ancient Assurbanipal.

I wrote my dissertation in a flowery Akkadian
And proved the Philistines were almost certainly Canadian.
In short, in matters lexical, semantic, and homologous,
I am the very model of a biblical philologist!

48 comments:

  1. That was terrific! I'm glad to hear that you are doing well and are enjoying this semester.

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  2. I've got to share this with some professors and friends! -- Alex S.

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  3. You are amazing, Josh Tyra....

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  4. Wow! I thought there was something sinister about those Canadians. Tickled by the humor and awed by the talent. elj

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  5. Whew! The convulsions of laughter have finally subsided enough that I can say . . . GREAT JOB, JOSH! (pant, pant, pant)

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  6. Didn't know there was a rapper hidden deep inside of Josh Tyra.
    Lots of laughs. Lol. Glad to know you are difinitely where You are meant to be. Praise God.
    By the way what is a phililogist I'm from Alabamie-(ain't got educated) does it have to do with studying people from Phily? Lol Have a great day Steve Rice

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  7. Your talent and giftings are extraordinary! I'm so glad to hear from you. Diana Hoaglan

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  8. Oh. my. gosh. Josh, you're a genius (but I knew that already). Simply splendid. :-)

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  9. this is my favorite line 'Then I can write a shopping list in classical Sumerian, And tell you whether peoples were nomadic or agrarian.'
    You are clever as ever, Josh! And I just got an English vocabulary lesson ;)

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  10. Thank you for sharing this very creative Penzance parody with us! Far more entertaining than the entire 12-minute halftime show at the Superbowl this past Sunday! I'm hoping you'll post a YouTube version some day!

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  11. Brilliant! -Scott Booth

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  12. Whoa! Wait a minute! I need my dictionary for some of this. Cool, Josh! And I agree with G.M. Grena about the halftime show! And I'll add that it was one of the dumbest things I've seen in a long while!

    I'm so glad to hear of your excitement with what God is doing with you. I think of you and pray for you. Love Kristy

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  13. Josh, I'm just glad to know you. We miss you here at second. God Speed!

    warren J

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  14. Wow, Josh Tyra! You are so talented. I already knew that, of course, but wanted to say it out loud :-) That was terrific. Reminds me of the musical days back in high school.

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  15. Cathy Beckerleg (Wheaton College)March 22, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    That was brilliant.

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  16. I ran across your blog googling the term "King David Drooled," and found it to be absolutely delightful. Your writing made me giggle to the nines- so awesome! Thank you for shining your light and being yourself- it amazes me how accomplished some people are when involved in passions they love.
    From an anonymous wanderer!
    I wish you the best,
    In Christ, prayers,
    Sarah

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  17. An audio performance of this has gone viral on facebook. Lots of people are commenting on what a brilliant piece of work it is. An impressive parody of Gilbert.

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  18. oh my word Josh! I DIED at this!

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  19. Is that from The Papyrus of Penance by Gunkel and Schökel?

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  20. Absolutely brilliant and hilarious. Gilbert himself would have been proud to have written it.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  21. Terrific. One flaw: homologous - consider 'logomachist', for instance ?

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  22. Hi Joshua - I'm writing from St. Louis, MO. Our church is having a Missions Talent Show Fundraiser and we thought it would be hilarious to have 2 of our pastors present your youtube version of "I Am the Very Model of a Biblical Philologist." May we have permission to do so? Thanks for considering this request! Wendy

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  23. We're not worthy ...
    We're not worthy ...

    BTW, saw in your Youtube version where you sneaked in an illo of the untranslated Phaistos Disc. :)

    Lurker111

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