[B-Greek] RE: Trench's Synonyms

Brent Hudson brent at riveroflifembchurch.com
Thu Feb 20 07:49:24 EST 2003

I think that what Carl wrote on this was wonderfully stated.  From my reading of Mark's original post, I'm not sure he would disagree.  As I re-read his post, I think he was simply saying that he wanted to know Greek well enough to evaluate the lexicons and commentaries against the original texts rather than simply quote them without any reliance on critical investigation.  I basically agree with this approach.  It gets tiresome to hear people say: "this word means this in this verse because BDAG says so."  That is indeed important evidence, but it does not exclude the exegete from scouring the primary sources to either contest or verify BDAGs evaluation.  Given the credentials of Danker, I would need a very good argument as to why I thought BDAG was incorrect, but his credentials and obvious ability should not deter one from reading critically.  

Think of how little we would have to talk about on this list if we all took that approach.

Brent Hudson

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On 2/19/2003  Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>At 9:21 AM -0500 2/18/03, Mark Wilson wrote:
>>>But I do not agree that BDAG should have the last word! That is very
>>>lexicon and it has an important contribution to make, but it is not
>>I hope the reason many have undertaken the study of Greek is so they do
>>have to rely on Trench, BDAG, etc. Using secondary sources, such as BDAG,
>>should only be used as a pointer. Secondary sources inform us / point us
>>One reason I decided to learn Greek is so I would not be dependent on
>>sources such as commentaries, lexicons, etc. What is the point of learning
>>Greek if we are going to stop at lexicons? Is that learning Greek? Can we
>>any better than say, "Well, that's what BDAG says." (Like those who know
>>Greek and say, "Well, that's what this commentary says.")
>>Bear in mind I have a long way to go myself, but that is the direction I
>>headed. Am I heading in the right direction?
>After mulling this and responses to it for a day or so, I feel I need to
>say my own say on the matter.
>If you really think you are going to reach the point where you are no
>longer "dependent on <re>sources such as commentaries, lexicons,etc.," I
>can only say: "Lots of luck!" I've been working away at Greek for 52 years
>now and I don't believe that I'll ever--in this life--feel that I can
>dispense with major reference works in Greek. Different persons will have
>different judgments about which reference works are most important, but I
>have and use on a regular basis BDAG, LSJ, L&N, BDF, ATR's big grammar,
>Smyth, and, to a considerably lesser extent, Wallace GGBB. I've never used
>Trench, Moulton & Milligan, or some other resources that many deem very
>valuable, but I cannot imagine serious work in ancient Greek texts without
>access and utilization of these resources.
>While I will readily agree that it is dangerous to suppose that any one of
>these reference works is error-free or wholly free of a degree of
>subjective judgment: I don't think we ever quite shake that bias, however
>hard we try--we human creatures are prone to be ornery; nevertheless,
>there's a considerable difference of degree between (a) utilizing carefully
>a reference work compiled over carefully over the course of many years and
>reliant upon both the knowledge and the wisdom of many generations of
>students of Greek and (b) skimming a lexicon or grammar for a simple
>single-word equivalent in the target language of a Greek word with an
>immense range of usage.
>References and grammars need to be studied, not simply consulted for a
>"quickie" solution to a problem in a text one is reading. One of the
>greatest abuses of a lexicon or grammar  is the skimming of headings for a
>preposition like APO or META. The immeasurable worth of LSJ and BDAG (what
>clearly demonstrates the relative{?} worthlessness of the Newman glossary
>commonly bound with UBS4) is the plethora of texts cited in support of the
>sense suggested for a Greek word: one who consults such a lexicon or
>grammar is capable of exercising his or her own judgment on those texts and
>validating or invalidating the lexicographer's or grammarian's work.
>Serious students of Greek on this list have challenged a judgment regarding
>a word or construction in BDAG, LSJ, L&N, or BDF, or even Smyth (whose
>judgment has over the years seemed as close to impeccable as one can get),
>but my judgment, for what it's worth, is that no serious student of Greek
>can expect to declare independence from these resources. Let's draw a
>distinction between idolizing them and utilizing them as indispensable
>Carl W. Conrad
>Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
>1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
>cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at mcsinternet.net
>WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/
>B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
>B-Greek mailing list
>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org

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