Re: New Greek-English Lexicon

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Wed Jun 03 1998 - 10:49:47 EDT

This should be of interest to b-greek sukbscribers.

>Date: Tue, 02 Jun 1998 08:32:59 -0700
>Precedence: bulk
>From: Michael Hendry <>
>Subject: Re: New Greek-English Lexicon
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>John-Gabriel Bodard writes:
>> The idea [for a new Greek-English lexicon] is credited to John Chadwick,
>>and Anne Thompson may edit.
>>Chadwick gives his reasons in "The Case for Replacing Liddell and Scott",
>BICS 39 (1994) 1-11. In a note, he thanks "Dr. Anne Thompson and Mr.
>Peter Glare, respectively Editorial Associate and Editor to the new
>Supplement [to LSJ]".
>Near the end of his (fairly devastating) article, Chadwick says:
>"It is about time that Greek scholars recognised the need for a thorough
>overhaul of this indispensible tool. Our Spanish colleagues have begun
>publication of a vast Greek-Spanish dictionary which, when finished, will
>be a substantial improvement on LSJ. Unfortunately the scale is so large
>that the first three parts so far published go only as far as
>*basileu/s*. Most of us today will not live to see it finished. Clearly
>any new work of this type needs to receive international funding, if it
>is to proceed with reasonable despatch. It is beyond the resources
>available in England alone to produce a radical revision of LSJ along the
>lines I have indicated."
>What I don't understand is why the Spanish DGE can't be made
>international. A dictionary on such a massive scale consists mostly of
>classifications and quotations. If someone tried to make an English (or
>German, or Albanian) version of the DGE, 95% of the text would either
>require no change at all (the Greek quotations) or could be changed by a
>simple mechanical search-and-replace (the abbreviations for "adjective"
>and "archaic" and so on). Only the Spanish-language meanings and
>sub-meanings would require careful thought from a knowledgeable human
>being. (Someone knowledgeable in Spanish, Greek, and English, of
>course.) This is, I think, only 5% of the bulk of the book. (I can't
>say for sure, because I don't have the DGE in front of me: I can't
>afford my own copy and no library will let me check it out.)
>So, two questions:
>1. Why can't publishers in other countries buy the rights to offer
>non-Spanish versions of the DGE? The effort involved in making them
>would be far far less than the effort of making an independent version.
>And it would surely be possible to arrange a royalty payment large
>enough to make the effort worthwhile to the Spaniards while small
>enough to facilitate a huge increase in sales among non-Spanish-speakers.
>2. Why can't individual letters of the alphabet be farmed out to
>qualified scholars or groups of scholars in other countries, so that the
>whole thing could be finished in 10 years or less? (If it were a
>European Union thing -- the single dictionary to go with the single
>currency? -- Germany could do Pi, Britain Sigma, Italy Tau, while
>Luxembourg and Estonia could take care of Qoppa and Digamma.) All this
>under the supervision of the Spanish editors, of course, to make sure
>that quality standards are maintained.
>The fact is that the gathering of quotations and arranging them by groups
>into meanings is the hard part, and the Spanish team (to judge from the
>reviews) has done an excellent job of this. Adding the translations is
>the easy part, and a proper classification of sub-meanings should be
>utterly independent of the language in which it is expressed.
>One more question:
>3. How about an electronic DGE, in which the user selects the language of
>the translations? Surely that is what we should be heading for in the
>not very long run. (Partly because they are far cheaper to distribute,
>partly because they don't take up 2-3 shelf-feet of precious desk space.)
>Michael Hendry
>1200 N. Rolfe, Apt. 1
>Arlington, Virginia 22209

Edgar Krentz, Prof. of New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel: [773] 256-0752; (H) [773] 947-8105

Reply to: (office)
        or (home)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:45 EDT