These days I am reading a nice little book by John Currid: Calvin and the Biblical Languages. Reading this my respect for Calvin and the Genevan reformation is growing. I found out that the Geneva Academy (started by Calvin) had a great influence on the founding of University of Leiden, University of Edinburgh, and Emmanuel College at Cambridge. The influence was especially essential on the importance of Biblical languages.
After more that fifty years from the founding of University of Leiden, the great Hebrew scholar Sixtinus Amama wrote a book entitled Anti-Barbarus Biblicus (1628). It his dedication to the founders of the university and he
“reminds them how fifty-seven years ago the States of Holland founded the University of Leiden in order to drive out barbarism, to protect the purified religion and to preserve the study of literature…In the foreward Amama explains the title Anti-Barbarus Biblicus. The barbarism which he is attacking is the neglect of Greek and Hebrew. The barbarians are those who can learn these languages but do not wish to do so. Amama wants to show how the neglect of Greek and Hebrew leads to a biblical barbarism and the decline of true religion…”
As far as I know, most liberal schools took Biblical languages out of their curriculum. However, I doubt that they consider themselves as ‘barbarians.’ According to Amama, they are. And so are the rest “who can learn these languages but do not wish to do so…”
Well said AMAMA.
I better get back to my language study. You should too. After all, Bitzer Was a Banker and he still studied Greek and Hebrew. How much more should Christian ministers, missionaries, etc.
[The quotation is from pp. 75-76 from P. T. Van Rooden, Theology, Biblical Scholarship and Rabbinical Studies in the Seventeenth Century (Leiden: Brill, 1989), p. 68].