Re: Word Studies??

Ken Litwak writes:

>      On the subject of word studies (I can't imagine accurately doing them
> in just English), I would have thought, IN SPITE of the continued reliance
> of scholars upon Kittel's, that Barr had shown pretty well that the
> simple word study method is linguistically flawed, adn what I have
> read since in other works has continued to affirm this, treating all
> that etymology stuff as little more than entertaining but certainly
> not of any value for determining what a given word "means" when used by
> a given author in a given context.

It seems to me that Barr was not criticizing word study, per se, but
rather the kind of semantically naive word study that abounds in
Kittel.  According to my reading of Barr, the fallacies he found in
Kittel are:

    1) that a word's meaning can be determined by etymological study,

    2) that it is valid to interpret a text on the basis of general
       "ideas" that given words may imply.

Accordingly Barr seems to be saying that real word study, i.e., using
a concordance and studying the actual word in context and contemporary
usage, is the *most* valid way of inferring a word's signification.
He is advocating this kind of investigation over the kind of
etymological and inferential study that associates an idea with a word
intead of looking for a word's reference.  In other words, it seems to
me that Barr is arguing the exact opposite of what you seem to be
attributing to him.

Paul J. Bodin                                  Internet: pjb3@columbia.edu
Union Theological Seminary                        smail: 435-52nd Street
+1 718-439-3549                                          Brooklyn, NY 11220