EHOBBS at WELLESLEY.EDU
Sat Oct 24 16:14:30 EDT 1998
Phillip Long gives a brief summary of his understanding of Moises
Silva's crticism of Kittel's TWNT (Eng: TDNT). I do not have a copy
of Silva's book which he references, and I will not see Moises himself
until a week from Monday; so I will simply respond to the version Phillip
He says that:
"Silva's criticism (and others, for that matter) of this type of study
is that there is more to a biblical concept that a single word. For
example, "to sin" is a biblical concept that cannot be confined to a
single Greek word."
But this is a gross misreading of the Kittel project. It was planned as a
study of "Begriffe" in the NT. (Beware of an etymological translation of
"Woerterbuch"!) Anyone who has used this remarkable tool in any depth is
thankfully aware of this fact. A couple of examples at random:
Delling's 28 pages (BIG pages of fine print) on the Begriff
PLHRHS, PLHROW, PLHRWMA, ANAPLHROW, ANTANAPLHROW, EKPLHROW,
EKPLHRWSIS, SUMPLHROW, PLHROFOREW, PLHROFORIA
This is scarcely "a single Greek word."
Another example, Bultmann's 30 pages on
GINWSKW, GNWSIS, EPIGINWSKW, EPIGNWSIS, KATAGINWSKW,
AKATAGNWSTOS, PROGINWSKW, PROGNWSIS, SUGGNWMH,
GNWMH, GNWRIZW, GNWSTOS
Again, is this article on "a single Greek word"?
Criticisms of TWNT are easy:
It is ten giant volumes, written by hundreds of scholars.
Is it possible to produce ANY work on that scale without
including a great deal of mediocre, even mistaken, scholarship?
It tends to organize Begriffe by linguistic "roots". Whereas
today, this is criticized as inadequate, since what we SHOULD use is
(here, fill in several different competing theories).
We can keep quoting James Barr, both repeating his errors and
misunderstanding his real criticism.
It was begun 65 years ago, and the earlier volumes may be out of
date in places (disagreement about which places, of course).
Some of its contributors before 1945 were Nazis or Nazi-
We might keep in mind that even a "semantic domain" approach, which
gave us Louw & Nida's lexicon, does not mean that it replaces the older
approach of Bauer; they simply do different things.
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