[B-Greek] "The lexicon is wrong!"

frjsilver at optonline.net frjsilver at optonline.net
Tue Sep 25 09:00:56 EDT 2007

Dear Friends --

Oh, my!  YES!  There are many outstanding examples of this problem and I consistently stumble across new ones.

The situation is exacerbated because (in my experience, although I'm far from alone in this) 'mainstream scholarship' is often stuck in first gear and on the whole exhibits the same liabilities as the lexikons.  It's those of us outside that 'mainstream' who often have a better handle on the text.

Consider TRAPEZA in Acts 6.  Traditionally, it was thought that the apostles were 'waiting tables' at the expense of their time and energy which should have been devoted to preaching and teaching, so they asked the Church to select seven deacons to take over the menial work.

It's true that some commentaries barely allow the possibility that there might be a resonance of financial administration here, but most completely miss the point.

Guess what H EQNIKH TRAPEZA THS hELLADOS is?  No fair peeking, but I'll give you a hint:  It's The National Bank of Greece!  

People who speak Greek get the meaning of Acts 6 right off the bat, but the experts and scholars who don't speak the language are too unconsciously comfortable in their dead lexikons to understand what was going on.

The apostles weren't waiting tables;  they were administering the common fund, and being overwhelmed by that task to the point that their preaching suffered.  And they weren't doling out the money too efficiently either, hence the complaint of the Greek-speaking Protochristians that theirwidows were getting short-changed while the Aramaic-speaking community were apparently better served.

Does anyone appreciate the significance of the fact that all seven of the first deacons have Greek names?!

They don't tell us that sort of thing in those lexikons!

Do we want to go into 'Our Father"?  Maybe some other time....

Peacve and blessings to all.

Father James

Monk James Silver
Orthodox Church in America

----- Original Message -----
From: Jonathan Robie 
Date: Tuesday, September 25, 2007 8:37 am
Subject: [B-Greek] "The lexicon is wrong!"
To: B-Greek 

> I'm involved in a discussion that revolves around the meaning of 
> a few
> Greek words, and some of the participants in the discussion (who
> actually don't speak Greek) are claiming that a particular word 
> doesn'tmean what it says the lexicon says, but means something 
> significantlydifferent. I doubt that they are right, and none of 
> is is a
> lexicographer, but this makes me wonder ...
> Can you think of examples where the meaning of a New Testament passage
> has changed in the eyes of mainstream scholarship because we 
> came to
> realize that our earlier understanding of a Greek word was 
> wrong? Are
> there recent examples, say, in the last 20-30 years? Are there major
> changes in the meaning of some words between BADG and BDAG?
> Jonathan
> ---
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