Re: Comments on Greek lexicons, updated

From: turquoyz (
Date: Mon Oct 02 1995 - 16:56:20 EDT

What? No mention of Kittel???

                      EDWARD C. HOBBS on GREEK LEXICA
> ( I'm a long-time lexicon addict, owning every kind and type and
>example, studying them assiduously, and criticizing them constantly. I own
>two, or even three, of almost all of these, so I'll be sure to have one
>whether I'm in either of my offices or in my study.)
> ---Classical Greek---
> The (financially) bad news is that really there is no choice for
>Classical Greek except the *only* current one: "New (9th) Edition" of
> _A Greek-English Lexicon_ compiled by Henry George Liddell
> and Robert Scott. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry
> Stuart Jones, with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie and with
> the co-operation of many scholars. With a supplement, 1968,
> edited by E. A. Barber. Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1968.
> [List price, $135]
> Oxford has announced a partially-new version of the 9th Edition with a
>completely revised supplement (2378 total pp.) The revised supplement by
>Glare will also be available separately (288 pp.) The new printing was
>promised for June 1995; as of October 1995, it has been re-scheduled for
>publication in March 1996. The good news is that the price has been
>dropped $10, to $125; even better news is that they have reinstated the
>pre-publication offer-- order before January 31, 1996, and it will cost
>only $100! (All prices plus $3.50 shipping.) The new version:
> _A Greek-English Lexicon: Ninth Edition with Revised
> Supplement_ compiled by Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott.
> Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones, with
> the assistance of Roderick McKenzie and with the co-operation of
> many scholars. Supplement edited by P. G. W. Glare. Oxford, at
> the Clarendon Press, 1996.
> [List price, $125] [Supplement separately, $65]
> WARNING: Since both Liddell and Scott died over a century ago, the
>"Intermediate" [$35] and the "Abridged" [$30] Liddell-Scott, which fit in a
>book-bag, are in fact not based on the L-S-J-M, but are over a century old
>(1888 or 1889), based on the 7th ed. published in 1883 (usually and
>incorrectly cited as 1882, based on the Preface date). Since there is no
>choice, one takes what one can get. So either you shell out $135/$125 and
>be happy, or you pay $35 (Intermediate, 914 pp.) or $30 (Abridged, 808 pp.)
>and curse yourself every time you encounter the inadequacies AND the
>antiquities of the latter. (Incidentally, "Liddell" is pronounced
>"LID-'l", as though spelled "Liddle", never Lid-DELL. He was quite
>insistent on it! His daughter Alice was the Alice of "Alice in
> There is a Langenscheidt "pocket" edition, commended by Carl Conrad.
>I do not possess it myself, but I trust Carl's judgment.
> ---New Testament Greek---
> There is still only one adequate choice:
> Walter Bauer, _A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other
>Early Christian Literature_; translated into English by William F. Arndt
>and F. Wilbur Gingrich from 4th edition; "Second Edition [1979], revised
>and augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walter
>Bauer's 5th edition, 1958." University of Chicago Press; also available
>from Zondervan. [About $55]
> Unhappily, all three translators (Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker, the
>latter two being friends of mine) chose to "revise" and to "augment" in
>addition to translating; they are none of them any match for Bauer in
>lexicography, with the consequences quite evident. Often they simply
>attack Bauer's entries, instead of translating them! (See, as a really
>hilarious example, "skenepoios".) The absurd "causal eis," invented by J.
>R. Mantey to support his fundamentalist-Baptist doctrine of John's baptism
>(a matter of "translation driven by theology", as Gary Brower called it in
>one of his postings!), was given a full five-line special entry in the 1st
>ed. by Arndt & Gingrich; at least it was reduced in the 2nd ed. to three
>lines, and credited solely to Julius Mantey (who obviously couldn't read
>non-biblical Greek very well, as the great Greek scholar Ralph Marcus
>carefully pointed out in two separate articles, despite Mantey's co-writing
>a "grammar"). The result is that, although it is the best lexicon of the
>Greek New Testament available in English, it still suffers from the
>additions of its three translators.
> The more recent (6th) edition of Bauer (edited by Kurt and Barbara
>Aland, 1988) is better; but it is in German, with no English translation
>available for non-readers of German.
> [Footnote on Bauer-in-German:] Even Bauer was guilty of "translation
>driven by male-chauvinism" at times, the most incredible example being the
>entry for "Junias". This completely non-existent name is listed by Bauer
>with the fanciful guess that it must have been a nickname for `Junianus',
>and a statement that the purely theoretical possibility that the name is
>`Junia' (a very common woman's name) is rendered impossible by the context!
>The "impossible" is that Paul's remarkable lady-relative Junia was an
>apostle! Horrors! SURELY Phoebe was no deacon (a term Paul applies to
>himself), and Junia was no apostle (a term Paul applies to himself)! How
>can a WOMAN have been chosen by God for REAL ministry? Thank God, the NRSV
>and a few other recent translations have now restored Junia to her place in
>the apostolate, where even the King James Version had her.
> Even the great Bauer had his blindnesses!
> [Additional comments by Edgar Krentz concerning forthcoming revision
> by Danker of the A-G-D translation of Bauer:]
> Fred Danker delivered the completed manuscript of the third edition to
> the University of Chicago Press in early April. (Can one call
> something on a hard disk a manuscript?) I called Fred Danker about
> it; he tells me the target date for its appearance in print is the
> Society of Biblical Literature meeting in 1996, i.e. approximately
> Thanksgiving of that year. I no longer have students purchase the 2nd
> edition because that date is close. If you want more accurate
> information, you might drop a note to Prof. Frederick W. Danker, 3438
> Russell Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104. Tel.: 314-772-5757.
> Wilbur Gingrich once prepared a small edition (_Shorter Lexicon of the
>Greek New Testament_); a 2nd edition, with Fred Danker, came out in 1983,
>and costs $30 for 221 pp. It is SO small and costs so much that I consider
>it not worth the bother. Some like it for portability. I tried using it
>with students for a few years after it came out, but it was SO brief, had
>so few "helps", and cost such a high proportion of the complete B-AG, that
>I switched to requiring B-AG (later B-AGD).
> If I were to recommend a "portable" lexicon for New Testament Greek,
>I'd try for Abbott-Smith, should it be still available and at a reasonable
>price. _A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament_ by G. Abbott-Smith (a
>Canadian!). This came out in 1921, 1923, and 1937 (editions 1 through 3),
>and has been reprinted frequently since then, by T. & T. Clark (Edinburgh).
>I'm not sure if it is still in print, nor at what price. But it was beyond
>question the lexicon of choice prior to the appearance of Bauer in English;
>I used it with my classes in those pre-1957 years. It includes quite a bit
>of information from the papyri, it gives many references to use of words in
>LXX with the original Hebrew word (even pointed!) behind the Greek term or
>word or usage, and includes a plethora of passages cited. It also gives
>etymologies (dangerous though that is?).
> To supplement Carl Conrad's brief warning on the Newman lexicon
>published by the United Bible Societies: The English-speaking Bible
>Societies decided to have a small English lexicon bound with some printings
>of UBS's _The Greek New Testament_, and Barclay M. Newman, Jr., got the job
>(with the advice of, among others, my old roommate Erroll Rhodes). This
>lexicon is deceptive, misleading the very persons who use it -- beginners.
>It gives, in the main, the RSV translations of each Greek word. If one
>wants that, one can read an English New Testament, to wit, the RSV!. It
>isn't frightful, but since it is a poor lexicon on the whole, it is largely
>useless. Too bas that it's the only one bound with the UBS _Greek New
> The Louw & Nida lexicon is often mentioned.
> _Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on
> Semantic Domains_ edited by Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida,
> 2 volumes; United Bible Societies [available through American
> Bible Society]. First Edition 1988; Second Edition, 1989. Price
> is $35 for two-volume set-- would probably be $80-100 from any
> other publisher.
> While it does not replace the need for Liddell-Scott-Jones nor
>for Bauer, it fills a real gap among lexica. It has a rather specialized
>use. Not only is it organized "semantically," which requires using the
>index volume constantly to discover where the desired word is to be found,
>but it is primarily written for the use of translators of the New Testament
>into languages not yet having Bibles in the vernacular. It is very
>"translation-oriented," which isn't usually what a researcher wants or
>needs (unless one is a translator).
> (Incidentally, and happily, they ALWAYS refer to Bauer's lexicon
> as "Bauer's lexicon" or "Bauer's dictionary"; they initially
> mention it "as translated and revised by Gingrich and Danker".
> Since no one refers to _Crime and Punishment_ as written by
> Constance Garnett, I don't understand why Americans like to refer
> to Bauer's lexicon as though it were written by its translators.)
>The quickest way to see its virtues is to read their "Introduction" (pp.
>vi-xx, same in both 1st and 2nd editions), and then to sample one article
>in Vol. 1 and one in Vol. 2.
> [Additional comments by Edgar Krentz concerning Louw & Nida:]
> Louw & Nida is difficult for a beginning student to use. The more
> acquaintance one has with ancient Greek literature beyond the Greek
> Bible, the more intelligently one can use it. It is *no substitute*
> for a traditional, alphabetically arranged lexicon. I would probably
> elect to have students use the old Abbott-Smith lexicon (T & T Clark)
> as a first lexicon, and send them to the library to use B-AGD, 2nd ed.
> ---Patristic Greek---
> Even when you have paid a small fortune for the LSJM, you will not
>have a lexicon for the Church Fathers (Patristics), since that body of
>literature was deliberately excluded from it.
> The only serious option is: G. W. H. Lampe, _A Patristic Greek
>Lexicon_, Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1961-1968. No longer listed in
>Oxford's catalogs, but still in print. It is hideously expensive at $285,
>hence is the only important lexicon of ancient Greek which I do not own;
>I jog to the library when I need it.
> ---"Septuagint" Greek---
> In LSJM, the LXX is given fairly short shrift, with the result that
>many students find the older 8th edition (1897) better for LXX. But, in
>fact, there is NO really good lexicon yet for the LXX. The reason is
>pretty obvious: It is a translated collection, and one is often left
>wondering whether to give the meaning of the Hebrew (or Aramaic) original
>behind a word, or to give the (supposed) meaning in the head(s) of the
>translator(s) based on other Hellenistic usage. The Deutsche
>Bibelgesellschaft has such a lexicon under way, though it is somewhat
>sketchy, doing little of what such a lexicon should do (perhaps for the
>reasons I outlined above). The A-I volume (paperback), which came out in
>1992, is $24 plus handling charge and tax. It has 217 pages, plus
>introduction. The rest is planned for release by Christmas of 1995.
> _A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint_,
> compiled by J. Lust, E. Eynikel, and K. Hauspie, with the
> collaboration of G. Chamberlain.
> ---"Parsing Lexicons"---
> Concerning inflected-forms dictionaries: The antique Liddell-Scott
>Abridged (over a century old, which should have been replaced decades ago
>but hasn't been) parses forms which an English schoolboy reading Xenophon
>et alia in "Public" School might have trouble with. It covers few of the
>forms New Testament readers are likely to find daunting.
> The old "Analytical Greek Lexicon" covered almost all forms in the New
>Testament, but was filled with so many hundreds of errors that it was worse
>than nothing, since the novice cannot spot these errors. However, FEAR
>NOT! The dreadful 1852 Analytical Lexicon (1852, despite "1970" in
>reprint!) was "corrected and revised" by Harold K. Moulton, published by
>Bagster [original publisher of 1852 edition!] in 1977, in London, and in
>1978 in the USA by Zondervan. Title: _The Analytical Greek Lexicon
>Revised_: 1978 Edition. Harold is the son of James Hope Moulton, and
>grandson of W. F. Moulton, two great Greek grammarians. This edition works
>from photos of the early printing, with errors and misprints corrected, and
>then has an addendum giving the forms which were omitted from the original
>Bagster's Lexicon. Wesley J. Perschbacher has also edited a corrected and
>revised version of the 1852 edition: _The New Analytical Greek Lexicon_,
>published by Hendrickson in 1990. This version is newly type-set, with a
>slightly better appearance on the page.
> Max Zerwick, S.J., of the Biblicum in Rome published his _Analysis
>Philologica Novi Testamenti Graeci_ at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in
>1953; I have the 3rd ed., 1966. It goes through the New Testament verse by
>verse, parsing odd forms, explaining the grammatical structures, solving
>puzzles (Zerwick's solutions, of course), with references to his useful but
>brief grammar. It's in Latin, but for those who read only English and want
>to learn Greek, Mary Grosvenor made a translation (also "revised and
>adapted") in two volumes, 1974 (through Acts) and 1979 (Romans through
>Apocalypse), titled _An Analysis of the Greek New Testament_. Later came
>out in a single volume; very handy, small format.
> A similar help, though much more "written down" to the beginner, a bit
>patronizing, and uncomfortably protestant-conservative, is the Cleon Rogers
>translation of Fritz Rienecker's _Sprachlicher Schluessel zum Greek New
>Testament_: _Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament_ (1976, 1980;
>perhaps later editions), issued by Zondervan. Also small, handy format.
> Sakae Kubo produced a nifty vocabulary guide for rapid reading of the
>Greek New Testament: _A Reader's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
>Testament_ (1967 through 1975, when a "beginner's guide" was added).
>Zondervan. It gives many helpful frequency tables, verb charts, inflection
>charts, in addition to its main job: Going through the Greek New Testament
>chapter by chapter, listing every word which occurs fewer than 5 times in
>that book. He assumes you know the 301 words occurring more than 50 times
>in the Greek New Testament (he gives a list), then lists all words in the
>book-in-hand (e.g., Romans) occurring more than 5 times in that book but
>less than 50 in the whole New Testament. One needs to know these to use
>the volume for rapid-reading. Then the infrequent words are given, with
>quickie translations, verse by verse. A VERY helpful tool for novices. He
>also gives a list of unusual or hard-to-spot forms, actually an abridgement
>of the long list in Abbott-Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon.
> Finally, a book doing the same thing as the Analytical Lexicon, except
>that it is arranged in the order the words occur in the New Testament
>(i..e., one starts reading Matthew, and it parses every word in order (with
>some high-frequency exceptions): Nathan E. Han, _A Parsing Guide to the
>Greek New Testament_, Herald Press, 1971. It was printed from typed copy,
>tolerably readable (but could be better).

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