I was reading Wallace on prepositions in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics and noticed how he deferred the reader to BAGD for more detailed lexical meaning. Other various books, articles, and linguistic resources I’ve seen seem also to defer to BAGD. The lexicon looks to be the standard.
Over the next few months I will be interacting with the LXX. I have found Rahlf’s edition to be the widest available text.
I say the above to ask three questions: 1) What other lexical authorities do you prefer or think is comparable to (or even better than) BAGD; 2) Does LXX Greek differ considerably from Koine Greek, and if so, what resources are available for helping one already familiar with Koine bridge the gap; and 3) Is Rahlf’s text the standard LXX text in biblical studies and what lexicon(s) would be sufficient for interacting with the text?
1) BDAG (2000) is far better than BAGD (1979). Beyond that though, nothing is comparable, but neither is BDAG adequate either. Minimally, you’d also need LSJ, GELS (see below), and Louw & Nida. BDAG covers a lot of Greek — NT, Apostolic Fathers, and a little more, but it isn’t broad enough. Semantically, nothing compares to L&N in terms of understanding relationships between individual words, though GELS comes close.
2) The LXX *is* Koine Greek – albeit extremely clearly translation Greek — e.g. WAW consistently translated as KAI throughout the historicals to a degree that is mind numbing.
3) Currently Rahlf’s text is standard. Gottingen isn’t get complete and currently isn’t terrible accessible. But see: http://www.logos.com/products/prepub/details/4950
As for LXX lexicons, you cannot go wrong with GELS (_Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint_ by T. Muraoka). If you can only get one LXX lexicon, get this one, not LEH. It uses full definition, provides semantically similar words, and more (see here: http://evepheso.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/comparing-lexical-entries/ ).
1. BAGD is the 2nd edition and BDAG is the 3rd which is considerably better from what I’ve been told. I only have BDAG so I’ve never compared. To be honest, I find myself turning to Louw & Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains just as much if not more than BDAG. This is in part because I like the way one has to look up the references (i.e., find the word in vol. 2 and track down the entry in vol. 1) and also because I have it available on both BibleWorks and Logos.
2. It all falls under Hellenistic Greek but there’s a lot of vocab in the LXX that you’ll not have encountered in the NT. You might consider checking out Thackery’s A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint.
3. For serious text critical work I’m pretty sure the Göttingen Septuagint is the standard. For your typical reading and studying then Rahlfs is it. For lexicons you’ll want either Lust’s Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint or Muraoka’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. See the comments to this post for some thoughts on both of them (and others).
Hope that helps.
The Cambridge Septuagint is also incomplete and older than the Göttingen. Moreover, it is a diplomatic text based on Vaticanus (The Old Testament in Greek according to the text of Codex Vaticanus). That being said, the Cambridge does offer textual apparatuses for some books for which the Göttingen remains incomplete.
I don’t know 😦
Thanks for pointing out the differences in BAGD and BDAG. I understand that LSJ is pretty standard for learning classical Greek. But if I recall correctly, Carson seems to think that its not a suitable lexicon for Koine. Thanks also for the recommendation on GELS.
I also tend to look more at L&N than BAGD/BDAG. That’s probably due to it being standard on Accordance Scholar’s Package. Regarding Thackery’s what would be its advantage over other Koine grammars?
Thanks for pointing this out. It’s only been the past year or so that I’ve been starting to see the usefulness of textual apparatuses with BHS and NA27.
It’s my hope that the comments will bring both of us to be able to say “we now know.” 🙂
G. W. H. Lampe’s A Patristic Greek Lexicon is absolutely essential. I picks up where LSJ and BDAG leave off, giving rather full citation from the fathers with lexicon that differs in meaning from the other two standards. If you are going to do serious reading beyond the second century you need to have it, but it is expensive and not in electronic form. 😦
What sets BDAG apart from the other Greek lexica are the comparative citations from Hellenistic literature, inscriptions and papyri. BDAG has incorporated some of the organizational and definitional aspects of Louw and Nida (within the individual entries). Louw and Nida is good for doing certain tasks in discourse analysis if that lights your fire, but the lack of comparative citations and the focus on NT alone makes it rather anemic, in my view. Another great strength of BDAG is the citation of secondary literarture. One can often explore the criteria and rationale for the indiviual lexical choice the editors have made. If you are doing serious research, BDAG is the best choice in English, similar to HALOT in English for Hebrew and Aramaic. New Testament scholars are too often plagued by a sort of blinkered view of Greek by focus on NT alone. That may be fine for certain kinds of theology, but it leaves one with a myopic view when you attempt to “learn Greek.”
Thanks for this recommendation, Yancy. So can it stand alone or would it be better as a supplement to LSJ and BDAG?
Thanks for reinforcing BDAG’s usefulness. I’m getting the feeling from this comment that there are non-English lexica that might even surpass BDAG. Would you happen to know of any German lexicons for biblical studies that are comparable to BDAG? (I’m asking about German because it seems that some of the prominent works are still published in German but recommendations for lexicons in other non-English languages are fine.)
Lampe isn’t more than a supplement (albeit a 1600 page supplement) to LSJ. It omits many, many words simply because it expects its users to have access to LSJ.
The Alands edited the most recent German edition of Bauer in 1988. It is worth using and would probably be beneficial to use, but, again, Danker consistently used it when completing BDAG, 2000.
On Thackery: There really isn’t a standard grammar for the LXX in English. Thackery is the closest we get and it was never completed — though in German there is R. Hebling’s _Grammatik der Seputaginta: Laut- und Wortlehre_ & _Die Lasussyntax der Verba bei den LXX: EIN Beitrag zur HEbraismenfrage und zur Syntax der Koine_.
Oh, and there is T. Evan’s _Verbal Syntax in the Greek of the Pentateuch_, which makes the case that the verbal system in the LXX is natural Greek and deserves to be used for the study of Hellenistic/Koine Greek Grammar.
Actually, the Conybear and Stock grammar is the one we are using in Advanced Readings of the LXX this semester (Grammar of Septuagint Greek) and was completed in 1995. We also use the Rahlfs text and Hauspie-Lust. In addition, I use Bernard Taylor’s ALS which is linked to Hauspie-Lust.
That’s a big supplement–in both dollars and pages!
Mike and Michael, thanks for filling in the gaps and for new resources. So I take it that although LXX is Koine Greek, there appears to be enough divergence between that and NT Greek to warrant LXX grammars? I’m going to do either a Summit request (a Pacific Northwest thing only I think but it’s linked to worldcat 🙂 ) or an Interlibrary on some of these to get a feel for them.
So maybe then BDAG and the German Bauer would be practically the same?
you can find Conybeare & Stock as well as Thackeray online in pdf version. I didn’t mention C&S because its a rather short little guy.
There is definitely a need for an LXX grammar. Or even better, a comprehensive Hellenistic Greek one. The NT Grammars doesn’t deal with the LXX, Josephus, AF, & other authors in any sort of adequacy. Sadly, finding the scholars and time to write one isn’t exactly easy.
Not entirely. Danker & the Alands don’t necessarily agree on everything — though I’ve only seen the German edition a few times and cannot comment on the vastness of the differences.
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