This is my second semester for theological German and I am quite lost many times. So, besides actually reading German (who wants to do that when one could just look up ways to learn how to read it?), I decided to search for some extra resources that would help me get up to speed—at least for decently translating a personal selection this term.

For the actual class, we began with J.D. Manton, Introduction to Theological German (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1971). The strength of this book is that one immediately gets into translation work virtually from the beginning. The vocabulary each section is theological, manageable, and relates directly to the exercises—no hoops to jump through here. Although there are twenty lessons, one should have enough grammar to translate more modern theological German works after Lesson Ten. A dictionary should still be needed, but Manton’s list of vocabulary in the back seems generally adequate.

The problem with Manton’s book is that it is horrible for a reference grammar: it is difficult to find certain grammatical concepts because: 1) there is no table of contents, 2) the lessons are numbered only and do not have a description, and 3) certain grammatical surprises that one encounters in the exercises are noted and do not seem to be discussed in the grammar again. To its credit, Intro to Theological German has a grammar index. For a reference grammar, we have gone with Paul G. Graves and Henry Strutz, Master the Basics: German, 2nd ed., Barron’s Educational Series (Hauppage, NY: Barron’s, 1995). Although it is more of a modern German grammar, it has thus far served its purpose well for me.

Here are the extra resources I have found so far:

Getting (Theological) German by T. Michael W. Halcomb. This is an interactive site that covers the various aspects of theological German grammar, among other things.

Theological German: Advice and Resources by Andy Rowell, a ThD student. A site with many great resources (for instance, helps on choosing a dictionary) and links.

Theological German/Theologisches Deutsch by Mark. A blog dedicated to theological German. The above link redirects to grammar, but there is a host of other resources on this blog. It is in both German and English (but seems to be written more in German, which is great for practicing German or keeping it fresh). I chose my dictionary (the Concise Oxford Duden) based on this site (after I told him about my purchase, my German professor Kent Yinger affirmed my choice with good words about Duden dictionaries). by Thorsten Moritz. This is an added site based on a comment I received from Thorsten Moritz. He is developing the site into “a full-service website for learning theological German, including sign-up for courses on skype, improvements to available books (like Ziefle’s), youtube videos, translation services for students and scholars, etc. Courses can be offered anywhere in the country (as an alternative to skype). I’m running this service as a theology Ph.D., Bethel Professor, Ph.D. adviser for the London School of Theology and native German speaker.”

Best wishes to all current and aspiring theological German students out there. Oh, and if anyone’s wondering, I’m working on Rudolf Bultmann’s Theologie des Neuen Testaments (no surprise).


UPDATE: A new resource added here: Resources for Theological German – Part 2.