Interview with Thomas Hudgins about Our New Greek Portal
My assistant, Thomas Hudgins, has been revising our Greek Portal. Earlier today I posed several questions to him. Here are his answers:
1. Thomas, what is the motivation behind the new Greek Portal?
Dr. Black, first let me thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions about the updated Greek Portal. It is a huge blessing in my life to co-labor with you for the gospel. I’m always challenged by your teaching and example in my life and always give thanks to the Lord for the investment you and your wife are making in my life.
So, what is the motivation behind the new Greek Portal? The one, single, única motivation? The motivation really is simple—the Great Commission. Apart from the Great Commission there is no reason to compile all the information on this site. Jesus commands all of his followers to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe all that he commanded (Matt. 28:19-20). Until the Lord returns, we as believers have the amazing opportunity and responsibility to carry out this mission. No mission has as much eternal significance as this one. These are our marching orders. Whatever the motivations are for the Greek Portal, if they do not fall under the overall goals of honoring the Lord Jesus Christ and fulfilling the Great Commission, then the work is just not worth the effort.
However, we obviously believe that the new Greek Portal is worth the effort, that it will honor the Lord Jesus Christ (both in the way it is developed as well as the final product), and that it will help us fulfill the Great Commission. How? We want to provide a resource page that will hyperlink others to the plethora of tools available via the web for studying, teaching, and learning Koine Greek and the New Testament. The new Greek Portal is not going to exegete a passage for anyone. There are no links to download Metzger’s vocabulary from one’s CPU to one’s brain. There are no shortcuts from content to knowledge per se. But we want to provide a central location for all teachers and students of God’s Word (and I’m not referring only to seminary students!) where they can come and find the best tools the Internet has to offer for New Testament Greek. And believe me, there are a lot out there!
2. What can Greek students expect to see when the Greek Portal goes live on January 1, 2013?
First, the Greek Portal will never be “completed.” We need to keep updating and revising the Portal as long as it is up. But what can Greek students expect to see when it goes live?
First, we hope the Portal is going to be easy-on-the-eyes. Aesthetically, we hope that Greek students are going to “enjoy” using the Portal for how it looks. I’m sure everyone has been to a website and found it painful to navigate just because of the aesthetics. Maybe the lettering was too small, or too big. Maybe the font was some new techie-font or cursive. We are definitely trying to make this user-friendly. While how it looks is not as important as the content found on the site, it is still important and something we are taking into serious consideration.
When you arrive at the Portal, you’ll be greeted by a “Welcome.” On the left side of the page, you will find an alphabetized list of different topics/subjects. Once you find the subject you are looking for (or maybe one you didn’t know you were looking for!), you can click on that link and see all of the resources dealing with it. There is going to be some overlap. Due to the structure of the site and the range of information involved, some resources have to be housed under more than one subject heading. When this happens, we are trying to customize the description/link for that given heading so that it assists the reader as much as possible. On the right side of the Portal, you will see the covers of books written and edited by Dr. Black, with links on where they can be purchased.
We are thinking about a number of factors for the Portal, one of which is the audience of Dave Black Online (both present and future). The Greek Portal is being designed to complement and supplement what is found over there and to appeal to the same audience. This includes teachers of New Testament Greek, students throughout the U.S. and abroad, homeschooling parents, etc. We want this page to be a blessing to all of them.
3. How will this Greek site differ from other sites currently online?
This new Greek Portal is not designed to “beat” all the rest. There is really no room for competition in the kingdom of God. We have but one goal (see the answer to #1 above). There are a lot of solid sites on the Web. We hope and pray that our Greek Portal will be:
(1) User-friendly. No one needs a degree in Astrophysics in order to navigate the site.
(2) User-sensitive. The Greek Portal has a broad audience. We want it to contain the resources that advanced New Testament Greek students will benefit from, but we also want beginning Greek students to find those resources that are going to reach them.
(3) Regularly updated. Many sites currently online do not get updated as often as possible. Sometimes this lessens the sites’ value to its viewers. For example, when hyperlinks change or fail it is frustrating to the user. We want this one to maintain its quality as well as to continually increase its content.
4. How can readers of DBO help you as you complete the project?
Before I specifically answer this question, let me add one more thing. Raymond Culpepper, in his book The Great Commission, points out that “in just one generation, history moved from a ‘Gutenberg world’ to a ‘Google world’” (160). Perhaps that’s going a little too far. We certainly have not ceased from using the codex in today’s world. But we have added a whole new type of “press” to our world, a digital machine that people are using to turn out resource after resource. The Greek Portal is important because it’s a simple navigation tool for all of these resources. Especially think about the number of people who speak English as a second language (see my post here) and who do not have an opportunity to study New Testament Greek at a school like Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We hope that the New Testament Greek Portal will be a huge blessing to them.
Ministry is always designed to be shared. One-man-shows simply are not supposed to happen when it comes to the work of the gospel. That’s the way the Greek Portal is as well. You, the reader and user, get to play a role in the content that appears on it. Let me throw out a few different ways in which you can get involved with the project. Believe me when I say that I hope you will help us, and we need you to do so.
November 30, 2012
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.