6.14.2012

Comforting Words From An Eminent Scholar

Dr. Jack Lewis (fittingly) in the midst of research
Dr. Jack Lewis is one of the great scholars in the fellowship of Churches of Christ, and really, is a pioneer as well. At a time when none of our Christian colleges offered post-graduate education (and a time when a lot of churches viewed such education suspiciously anyway), Lewis went on to receive a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Old Testament from Hebrew Union.

Either degree on its own would be impressive—together, it’s almost unbelievable. 

Lewis went on to teach Bible courses at Harding University and the Harding University Graduate School of Religion (now Harding School of Theology) for over 50 years, and also served on the editorial boards of multiple scholarly journals and wrote more than a dozen books.

Dr. Lewis is highly respected, not just within Churches of Christ, but within the field of biblical studies as a whole.

To be as clear as possible, I will never even approach his level of scholarship.

So it was pretty cool that yesterday I got to meet Dr. Lewis (He still hangs out at the library at Harding School of Theology, and despite his advanced age, continues to spend his time doing research). I introduced myself to him after lunch and we exchanged a few pleasantries, and then, I had the privilege of getting to talk to him some more at Bible study last night.

The fellow grad student I was with asked Dr. Lewis (who had Ph.D.’s in fields which required extensive study of Greek and Hebrew) if language study came easily to him. Dr. Lewis smiled and said, “No, not at all,” and then proceeded to describe how, when he first took Greek, it was so stressful for him that he developed shingles!

Furthermore, he informed us that he had to take Elementary Hebrew three different times. Apparently, he originally had taken a Hebrew class in college, and then when he got to graduate school he was asked by a teacher which level of Hebrew class he thought he should be placed in. Dr. Lewis wasn’t sure, so the teacher gave him a Hebrew text to read to test his ability. When Dr. Lewis didn’t understand any of what he looked at, he tried to turn the book upside down so that it would make more sense. At that point, the professor said, “It looks like Elementary Hebrew is the class for you!”

For someone who is struggling through language study, it was comforting to hear that such a world-class scholar had similar difficulties.

2 comments:

mattdabbs 6/14/12, 2:52 PM  

When my wife and I were at HUGSR she accidentally wondered into Dr. Lewis' office when it was downstairs by the ladies' room. When she came out the registrar said something about how people don't really go in there like that. Next time she saw Dr. Lewis she mentioned to him about how she had wondered into his office and what she had been told. Dr. Lewis told her she was welcome to come by anytime. Needless to say, she had to pass on to the registrar how welcome she was in Dr. Lewis' office :)

Luke 6/15/12, 8:03 AM  

Matt,

That's a great story. I was impressed with how engaging Dr. Lewis was, and how eager he seemed to be to interact with students.

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