[b-greek] Re: Words Classified By Roots

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Thu Sep 07 2000 - 12:34:12 EDT

on 09/07/00 5:06 AM, Rodney J. Decker wrote:

> At 06:14 PM 9/7/00 +1000, you wrote:
>> As a more general comment, the English word 'dog' doesn't come from a root
>> of 'do', so just how far can we take root studies, and how certain can we
>> be about them?
> There is some, albeit limited, value from a diachronic study of Greek.
> Unfortunately, it has been severely misused in the past (& still is in some
> instances). Your example illustrates well the flawed approach to semantics.
> I highly recommend that you spend some time reading Moises Silva. His
> introductory vol. is *God, Language and Scripture: Reading the Bible in
> Light of General Linguistics* (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), now also
> available in a combined series vol., *Foundations of Contemporary
> Interpretation* (ed. Silva). His more advanced volume deals explicitly with
> this issue: *Biblical Words and Their Meanings: An Introduction to Lexical
> Semantics* (2d ed., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994). There are other vols.
> as well (Louw, Cotterrell & Turner, etc.).

Rod is right you should by all means take a look at Silva and particularly
"Biblical Words and Their Meanings." There is no end to the exegetical
mischief generated by the misunderstanding of the basic principles of
lexical semantics.

The study of etymology can be useful in the hands of a skilled linguist who
is doing lexical research, someone like Daniel Riaņo Rufilanchas, but
etymology in the hands of a pastor or a bible student or 90 percent of the
biblical scholars is going to mean trouble, nothing but trouble. The safe
route is to simply avoid it entirely if you don't have the time to study a
whole long list of technical and semi-technical works* on lexical semantics.


Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*This list is out of date but others can fill in the gaps. This represents
the bare minimum reading required to get an introduction to the topic. There
are some very good books on this topic published in Spanish and French which
I cannot read by Daniel Riaņo Rufilanchas might be willing to provide us a
list for those who can use these languages.

***Lexical Semantics***

James Barr, The Semantics of Biblical Language, Oxford 1961, Fortress 1984.

James Barr, Comparative Philology and the text of the Old Testament, Oxford
1968, Eisenbrauns, 1987.

G. B. Caird, The Language and Imagery of the Bible, Duckworth, 1980.

D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies, Baker 1984.

 J. P. Louw and E. A. Nida, Lexical Semantics of New Testament Greek,
Scholars Press, 1992.

J. P. Louw, The Semantics of New Testament Greek, Fortress 1982.

Moises Silva, Biblical Words and their Meaning: An Introduction to Lexical
Semantics, Zondervan 1983, revised ed. 1994.

John Beekman, John Callow, and Michael Kopesec, The Semantic Structure of
Written Communication, 5th rev., SIL Dallas, 1981.

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