The Top 13 Reasons To Study Theological German
- You want to gain competency quickly so you can focus on other things you are more passionate about.
- It is possible to learn to read German with some degree of competency in six weeks if you are disciplined about it.
- You do not want to just be adequate, you want to be competent so that translating is not stressful.
- Approximately 1/4 of all the theological journals at major English-speaking religion libraries are in German.
- English theological discourse has been greatly influenced by German vocabulary.
- There are some great Germans worth reading in their native tongue. Luther, Nietzsche, Barth, Bonhoeffer, and Ratzinger come to mind.
- Knowing German will come in handy in the future in surprising ways--while traveling, in an emergency, and while enjoying music, foreign films, and restaurants.
- You want to establish consistent, effective, efficient, and productive study habits. If you can learn German, you can learn most anything.
- You are grateful for the abilities you have been given and the appropriate response is doing your best with them.
- Learning German will make you a better professor and writer which will one day help the next generation of students.
- You can pass on to others what you have learned in the hard work of language study.
- You are grateful to others who have sacrificed that you might have time to study.
- You want to be able to translate texts with your friend who is also studying theological German.
- Karl Barth wrote in his "Letter to American Christians" in December 1942. "I should like to add as an urgent wish: he [the person who wants to be helpful to European churches] must know our language a bit, be able to read our books and papers himself, if necessary, to follow our worship services and other gatherings with some understanding and perhaps be able to speak with us a little in our own tongue." Karl Barth, The Church and the War (trans. Antonia H. Froendt; Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 1944), 45.
The Top 9 Tips for Studying Theological German
- Have confidence in the book or resource you have chosen. If you go through it, you will learn a lot.
- Study on a routine. For example, from 9:30 am to noon work through the grammar book at the coffee shop. From 1:00 pm to 3:30 study vocabulary and walk in the neighborhood.
- Get 8 hours of sleep. If you are sleepy, caffeine is not that helpful. Take a 20 minute power nap or 1 1/2 hour rejuvenating nap, then try again (with caffeine if you like).
- Study German first. Then check your email and tidy up the house.
- Beware of the internet. Everything on the internet is more interesting than German grammar.
- Don't do questions or translation when you do not have the answers or English translation. Often book publishers and authors have all of the answers for the exercises and are glad to provide them if you contact them. It is too frustrating to do questions and not have the answers to check them by.
- Language experience helps. If you have it, great. If not, this will help you in future language learning.
- Have deadlines. Make a schedule.
- There is always fog in language-learning. In other words, you will always be slightly confused. Push through it.
What other advice do you have about staying motivated for learning theological German?