You can graduate a student out of academia, but it is far harder to remove that person from a habit of life-long learning. And so it is with me. I am no longer bound by the institutional expectations of the professors who brew syllabi concoctions in their smoldering laboratories while cackling maniacally. It’s true. I am now a free range adult learner, running and jumping and letting the wind whip through my receding hairline as I forage familiar and foreign jungles of knowledge. To wit, I delight in returning to familiar favorites such as linguistics, various dead languages, philosophy, and textual criticism. Yet, I also enjoy exploring new fields where I am gaining opportunities to encourage others, such as copy editing, coaching, and crafting a good story.
Much of my time in recent months has been spent reading about the writing craft and continuing to read the best authors in the spy thriller, science fiction, and fantasy genres. But I now have on my desk four very different non-fiction books which will occupy my attention for the remainder of the summer.
The first is the English translation of Cours de Linguistique générale (Course in General Linguistics). Reconstructed from the notes of Ferdinand de Saussure’s students after his death in 1913, the resulting book was then translated into English in 1983 and reprinted numerous times, most recently in 2009, by Open Court Classics. Saussure is important because he was the father of Structuralism, which of course, has since been applied to many disciplines, not least art, economics, literary criticism, and philosophy. Given that ideas have consequences, it is instructive to study primary sources which are seminal influences upon later streams of thought currently impacting our culture.
The second book is Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures (1988) by Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. Occasionally it is instructive to read the work of thinkers with whom I strongly disagree. Chomsky is a good example of this principle. Here he shares his thoughts on linguistics and epistemology with an emphasis on his ardent political disposition.
The third book is Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Eerdmans 1964; rev Hendrickson 1995; reprint 2007) by J. Harold Greenlee. This is an informative basic introduction to NT text criticism. As someone with high level experience in the discipline under the tutelage of the late Rev. Dr. Anthony Casurella, it is a heart warming homecoming to dive again into the intricacies of this exciting and important field of research.
The fourth book is a guilty pleasure, The Classical Music Experience, 2nd ed, by Julius H. Jacobson II, M.D. By purchasing the book, I gained online access to more than forty hours of classical music from the world’s greatest composers, according to the author. Having listened to a few selections already, I am inclined to agree.