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> THEO 3210 Four Gospels and One Jesus: I.2b Consult Lexicons & Wordbooks

H = Holmes, N = Nienhuis

Introduction

Lexicons

1. The major lexicon of New Testament Greek is the 3rd edition of A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, sometimes called simply "Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich", or BDAG for short (General Collection and REF PA881 .B38 2000).  To get a modicum of amateur benefit from it, you need only the Greek alphabet and the ability to look its entries (for example φιλέω) up in (Greek) alphabetical order.  Use BDAG to note, among other things, the basic potential meanings of terms.  BDAG numbers these as I indicate via the small red boxes below:

Greek-English Lexicon

2. Another reasonably current lexicon is the Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament based on semantic domains (2 vols., REF PA881 .G68 1989).  To use it you need only

  • the "Greek-English Index" beginning on p. 1 of vol. 2, plus the Greek alphabet, plus the ability to look its entries up in (Greek) alphabetical order (as with BDAG, above).

Greek Alphabet

Greek-English Definitions

The two other indices it contains are designed to get you from English concepts to their New Testament Greek equivalents, for purposes we will not expand upon here:

  • the "English Index" beginning on p. 269 of vol. 2, and
  • the logically (rather than alphabetically) organized and much more coarsly grained "Table of Semantic Domains" on pp. xxiv-xxv of vol. 1.

As your professors make clear, you must not rely on the outdated lexical features associated with Web sites such as the Blue Letter Bible.

Theological wordbooks

The major theological wordbooks are the following (listed also from p. _ of the handout Basic English-Bible Reference).  Three are accessible via Strong numbers (or a Strong-G/K number conversions chart) at the volume and page numbers indicated.  To find your way around in the rest you will need either the Greek alphabet or one of the indices indicated below (as always, feel free to ask for help).  I order them from most to least recent:

  • New international dictionary of New Testament theology and exegesis.  2nd ed.  Ed. Silva.  5 vols.  2014.  REF BS2312 .N48 2014.
    • Indices for persons without GreekG/K numbers, Greek word index, Strong-G/K conversion chart, all in vol. 5.  
  • Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament.  Ed. Balz & Schneider.  3 vols.  1990-1991 [1978-1983].  REF BS2312 .E913 1990.
    • Indices for persons without Greek:  English keywords only.
  • Theological lexicon of the New Testament.  Ed. Spicq.  3 vols.  1994 [1978-1982].  REF PA875 .S613 1994.
    • Indices for persons without GreekStrong (vol. 3, pp. 693 ff.), English keywords (vol. 3, pp. 528 ff.).  This theological wordbook is far from comprehensive. 
  • New international dictionary of New Testament theology.  Ed. Brown.  3 vols.  1975-1978 [1967-1971].  REF BS2312 .N48 1975.
    • Indices for persons without Greek:  Greek keywords (transliterated, vol. 3, pp. 1233 ff.), English keywords (vol. 3, pp. 1274 ff.).
  • Theological dictionary of the New Testament, . . . abridged in one volume.  Ed. Bromiley.  REF BS2312 .K5813 1985 [1933-1979].
    • Indices for persons without Greek:  Greek keywords (transliterated, pp. ix ff.), English keywords (pp. xx ff.).
  • Theological dictionary of the New Testament Ed. Kittel.  10 vols.  1964-1976 [1933-1979].  REF BS2312 .K5813 1964.
    • Indices for persons without GreekStrong-Greek keywords (vol. 10, pp. 61 ff.), English keywords (vol. 10, pp. 13 ff.).

Here I illustrate the use of the most recent of these, the 5-vol. New international dictionary of New Testament theology and exegesis ed. Silva (REF BS2312 .N48 2014).  Begin (if you don't know Greek) with the "Strong to Goodrick Kohlenberger number conversion chart" beginning on p. 370 of vol. 5:

Strong to Goodrick-Kohlenberger Number Conversion Chart

The following intermediate step may (or may not) be optional:  Turn to the "Greek word index" beginning on p. 340 of vol. 5:

Greek Word Index

"Optional", I say, because often you will be able to skip the step illustrated above, and, using the GK number you identified in step one (in this case 26), turn directly to number 26 in volumes 1-4 (in this case vol. 1):

GK number

The entry for G/K nos. 26-28 concludes 13 pp. later on p. 115, with a starter bibliography:

G/K starter bibliography

Here I illustrate the use of the 10-vol. Theological dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Kittel.  Start from the "Index of Greek Keywords" (to the left of the main page in the illustration below), which is located on pp. 61-84 of vol. 10 and organized by Strong number as well as alphabetically (vols. 1-9 of the TDNT are themselves organized alphabetically), and proceed from the Strong number you are interested in to the relevant volume number (in Roman numerals) and pages (in Arabic).  Alternatively, start from the "Index of English Keywords" located on pp. 1-59 of vol. 10 (and to the right of the main page in the illustration below), and proceed to the relevant volume number and pages:

Theological dictionary of the New Testament


The second (2014) 5-vol. edition of The New international dictionary of New Testament theology and exegesis ed. Silva (above) is far more recent, but here I illustrate the use of the first (1975) 3-vol. edition of The New international dictionary of New Testament theology, ed. Brown, which is not keyed to any numbering system.  Start from the "Index of [Transliterated] Greek Words" located on pp. 1233-1273 of vol. 3 (column to the left of the main page in the illustration below), and proceed to the appropriate volume and page numbers, beginning with those in boldface.  (Note that the Blue Letter Bible provides transliterations.  But you can also create one yourself with the help of this representation of the Greek alphabet.)  Or, alternatively, start from the "General Index" located on pp. 1274-1481 of vol. 3 (column to the right of the main page in the illustration below), and proceed to the appropriate volume and page numbers, beginning with those in boldface:

The New international dictionary of New Testament Theology

Beyond the (dated) lexicons and theological wordbooks

The lexica and theological wordbooks are (or in any case grow rapidly) out of date.  To find scholarship on the Greek words you're interested in, and especially any scholarship published since a given lexicon or theological wordbook was composed, search by Greek word (whether in script or transliterated)

  • the book catalogs,
  • the more recent non-serial bibliographies, and especially
  • serial bibliographies like the ATLA Religion Database, New Testament abstracts, BiBL, BILDI, the Catalogue of the École Biblique, Elenchus of Biblica, and so forth

(which is to say all of the tools listed under III.8 Identify Monographs & Articles), as demonstrated below (forthcoming):