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Thread: What's the difference between the Greek Lexica?

  1. #1

    Default What's the difference between the Greek Lexica?

    Could someone offer some assistance as to the differences between all the different Greek Lexica? I know that
    * BDAG is the gold standard for Koine and
    * LSJ is for classical Greek, and
    * Louw-Nida is arranged by semantic domains, but beyond that, I really don't know the pros/cons of the lexica.

    I kept digging, and this is what I found. Please correct as necessary.
    Thayer -- Holy Ghost greek. Hmmm...
    Gingrich - Abridged BDAG
    Friberg - ???
    Barclay Newman - ???
    Last edited by richardsugg; 03-03-2009 at 08:51 PM. Reason: found some answers
    -- Richard

    "Contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 3 (ESV)

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    Could someone offer some assistance as to the differences between all the different Greek Lexica? I know that
    * BDAG is the gold standard for Koine and
    contains all the words in the Apostolic Fathers as well, plus contains some references to Josephus.
    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    * LSJ is for classical Greek, and
    almost essential, if you want to read classical Greek authors. Its abridged version (LS) in BW contains additions to the printed edition, which cover all words (except proper nouns) which occur in all texts which ship with BW (some of which words are not included in any other lexicon, besides LSJ).
    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    * Louw-Nida is arranged by semantic domains,
    which makes it a little harder to use as a basic lexicon in BW.
    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    but beyond that, I really don't know the pros/cons of the lexica.

    I kept digging, and this is what I found. Please correct as necessary.
    Thayer -- Holy Ghost greek. Hmmm...
    over 100 years old, used to be the stardard before Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich. Contains some etymological information not available in other lexicons.
    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    Gingrich - Abridged BDAG
    Friberg - ???
    good for quick reading of the Greek NT, short glosses with one biblical citation per major gloss, absolutely limited to the Greek NT.
    Quote Originally Posted by richardsugg View Post
    Barclay Newman - ???
    even shorter than Friberg, this is the dictionary which accompanies the UBS Greek text.

    BW also offers the following for sale as add-ons (as is BDAG):
    Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (LEH) containing short glosses for all the words in the LXX (except proper nouns).
    TDNT "Little Kittel" the one-volume abridgement (leaving out OT and extrabiblical discussions) of the 10-volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.
    VGNT - Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament also known as Moulton-Milligan, contains discussions of biblical words which have been found in Koine papyri, often cited in BDAG.
    Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT) containing the most up-to-date opinions of modern European (mostly German) exegetical methodology.
    and in case you need a Greek-German dictionary, BW offers Preuschen, which does for German speakers about what the UBS dictionary provides in English.
    I hope this summary is of some help.
    Mark Eddy

  3. #3

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    Thanks, Mark. That was extremely helpful.
    -- Richard

    "Contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." Jude 3 (ESV)

  4. #4
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    If I may add a note to Mark's elucidations, VGNT (Moulton-Milligan, Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament) has just been made a free add-on to BW 8. If you don't have it, you can download the latest BW 8 updates, and it will be included. If you paid for it, they'll send you a refund. See:
    http://www.bibleworks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3678

    VGNT is a really interesting resource. Its brief entries suggest ways in which words would have been used and understood by speakers of Koine Greek in early Christian times. As Mark said, it lists words in the NT on which new light was shed by the discovery of ancient papyrus texts. In their day (100 years ago), those texts were kind of like what the Dead Sea Scrolls have been in more recent years--perhaps in some ways more significant, because they did not relate just to one particular sect but to much of daily life for everyone (including the law, government, commerce, religion, and personal relations). A great many of the entries in BDAG end with the notation "M-M." That means the word is treated in Moulton-Milligan (VGNT). Anytime you see that, you can now right-click the word in the Greek text and look it up in the Lexicon Browser using VGNT. See for instance the entry on "hypostasis" (Heb. 11:1).

  5. #5
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    A slight correction to my earlier post: the VGNT add-on is free for both BW 7 and BW 8; and the refund is for those who ordered it in 2009.

  6. #6

    Default What's the difference? A WORLD of difference

    What's the difference between BDAG and the others, Thayer's especially?
    PAPYRI!
    By the time Thayer's lexicon came to be published in the late 1800s, discoveries of new papyri had been made in Egypt, making Thayer’s life work unfortunately nearly instantly obsolete. As a result, scholars realized that a lot of the words that were only found in the Koine Greek of the NT were actually part of the common language of the day – prior to that, since they could not find any parallel between NT Koine and the vernacular of the day, they thought that God had used a special Greek language to reveal Himself, hence, the term the “Holy Spirit Greek.” Long story short, over the next 100 years Bauer, Arndt, Danker and Gingrich, compiled the most up-to-date lexicon. In Greek studies, BDAG is just the ultimate. Nothing compares to it.
    So a good suggestion is, unless you are a 1st Greek student, chuck out your Strong concordance and lexicon, Vine and Thayer’s, and rely nearly almost on BDAG. If you are involved in academics, no one will value your work if you rely on Thayer and others like that.
    I suggest you check Wallace, pp. 14ff, and Decker’s Koine Greek Reader, pp. 245 ff, for more info.

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