TLG Searches have reduced the importance of LSJ and Lexica in general?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Feb 12 1996 - 15:21:47 EST

I am forwarding the note of Gregory Crane (addressed to the Classics List),
who heads up the Perseus Project and the web site at Tufts that houses the
current LSJ lexicon on line, thinking that this is an issue that is as much
of concern to students and scholars of the GNT as it is to those concerned
more with secular classical and Hellenistic Greek texts. There have already
been some interesting responses to Greg's note, and some B-Greekers might
like to have a look at the developing thread. You can do so by going to the
Classics List web site:


and looking at the archives. Our illustrious web-lady, Linda Wright, there
posts every day the digest composed off the previous day's posts to the
lists. Especially as not everyone will be interested, this seems better
than forwarding the thread over to b-greek (and I don't particularly want
to ask for those permissions). I had an e-discussion last week with a NT
scholar who seemed to doubt the continuing value of lexica so long as one
has access to the TLG list. That seems short-sighted to me, however,
particularly as so much information continues to come to light from the
papyri that bears especially upon Hellenistic vocabulary and therefore on
the GNT. I cannot see, personally, how the utility of lexica could ever
become an anachronism.

>Date: Mon, 12 Feb 96 14:11:05 EST
>Precedence: bulk
>From: (gregory crane)
>Subject: TLG Searches have reduced the importance of LSJ and Lexica in general?
>First, having spent a lot of time putting LSJ online and trying to make it
>useful, I obviously am not dumping on LSJ.
>I am, however, writing something about the Lexicon and its possible future.
>I am curious as to what extent people feel that their attitudes towards big
>lexica are different now that we have such powerful tools for getting at the
>texts ourselves and making up our own minds. In the pre-TLG days, we were
>much more dependent upon the work of professional lexicographers, because
>they not only were good at what they did but also because they had access to
>"the slips" -- all the citations which they had collected.
>To what extent are people more likely to do a word search now to make up
>their own minds? To what extent does this affect usage of LSJ? Even if
>LSJ were completely revised and "up-to-date," how is such a monumental
>lexicographic tool "different" when everyone can go off and gather their
>own electronic "slips" by searching online texts?
>Any feedback on this, on or offlist, would be appreciated.
>Gregory Crane
>Associate Professor of Classics
>Editor in Chief / Perseus Project
>Tufts University

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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