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

Benjamin Pehrson benjamin_pehrson at sil.org
Wed Sep 26 02:33:33 EDT 2007


Jonathan said...
> My original question was basically whether there are very many examples
> of this kind of issue for BDAG, BADG, LSJ, and perhaps Louw and Nida
> (who also note the meaning you mention.) I ask because I actually don't
> run into this often.

Because lexicons have been created on the basis of how words are used in
contexts, I think examples of lexicons needing improvement are more frequent
than you suppose. I'm thinking especially of the number of different sense
meanings for a word, either (1) 'creating' new senses on the basis of too
few texts, or (2) not distinguishing senses enough on the basis of voice.

An example of the first problem occurs with DIAKRINW. Forms of DIAKRINW
occur 19x in the NT and are often translated with words like 'doubt',
'waver', 'hesitate'. These fall under sense meaning (2b) in BAGD as having a
meaning that "appears first in NT." Several journal articles have been
written in recent years that argue that the classical sense is appropriate
in the NT contexts and that there is no new NT meaning. The primary senses
of the word according to BAGD (sorry I don't have the more recent BDAG)
include for the active voice
(1a) separate, arrange
(1b) make a distinction, differentiate
(1c) pass judgment, judge correctly, recognize, deliberate
(1d) render a decision 

and for middle/passive voice
(2a) take issue, dispute. 

It's the final middle/passive sense under (2b) that is proposed as a new NT
meaning: be at odds with oneself, doubt, waver

Here are the recent journal articles...

Norbert Baumert, SJ. 2002. "Das Paulinische, Wortspiel Mit krin-." Filologia
Neotestamentaria 15: 19-64.

David DeGraaf. 2005. "Some doubts about doubt: the New Testament use of
Διακρινω." Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48(4): 733-755.

Peter SPITALER. 2006. "Doubt or Dispute (Jude 9 and 22-23). Rereading a
Special New Testament Meaning through the Lense of Internal Evidence."
Biblica 87(2): 201-222.

Peter Spitaler. 2007. "Διακρίνεσθαι in Mt. 21:21, Mk. 11:23, Acts 10:20,
Rom. 4:20, 14:23, Jas. 1:6, and Jude 22-the 'semantic shift' that went
unnoticed by patristic authors." Novum Testamentum 49:1-39.

Spitaler (2007: 202) writes, "It is problematic to deduce a special NT
meaning "doubt" (using reflexive expressions like "dispute with oneself" or
"being divided against oneself") from the middle voice DIAKRINOMAI. Such
reflexive meanings are not present in the classical/Hellenistic Greek
because the middle DIAKRINOMAI consistently denotes a contesting partner
other than - and outside of - oneself."

Benjamin Pehrson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-greek-
> bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Robie
> Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 3:20 AM
> To: frjsilver at optonline.net
> Cc: Carl W. Conrad; B-Greek
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] "The lexicon is wrong!"
> 
> frjsilver at optonline.net wrote:
> > And while it's true that *some* lexikons illustrate the meaning of
> > TRAPEZA as 'bank', there are many which don't, seemingly unaware of
> > the metonym.
> 
> My original question was basically whether there are very many examples
> of this kind of issue for BDAG, BADG, LSJ, and perhaps Louw and Nida
> (who also note the meaning you mention.) I ask because I actually don't
> run into this often.
> 
> Jonathan
> 
> ---
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