[B-Greek] Reader's Lexicons

Carlton Winbery winberycl at earthlink.net
Sat Oct 10 13:02:24 EDT 2009

>On Oct 10, 2009, at 8:30 AM, Aaron Marshall wrote:
>>  I haven't been on this list long, so this may have been discussed at 
>>  some point.  In the recent discussion of interlinears one of the 
>>  arguments in their favor was that it aided rapid reading for those 
>>  new to Greek, allowing them to avoid the tedium of looking up every 
>>  other word in their lexicon.  While I would certainly not use one 
>>  for in-depth exegesis of a particular passage, I have always found a 
>>  reader's lexicon to be helpful if I just wanted to sit down and 
>>  practice rapid reading, which I much prefer to the parsing and 
>>  translation I had to do when I took Greek in college.  Could 
>>  something like Sakae Kubo's Reader's Lexicon be an acceptable 
>>  compromise between using an interlinear and reading the Greek text 
>>  with only BAGD or LSJ in hand? By the end of second year Greek one 
>>  has the base vocabulary to use one effectively.  What say the Greek 
>>  masters among us?
>I think you've raised a question that will draw a variety of different 
>responses, perhaps even some nuanced ones; I don't think it's a simple 
>black-and-white issue. Here are some of my thoughts.
>(1) Unless you have a big desk or work surface, I hardly think it's 
>possible to read with either or both BDAG and LSJ "in hand." If you 
>can afford it -- and I think the investment is well worth while -- 
>what's really convenient is to have the Greek text, BDAG, and LSJ all 
>open in an electronic version with the ease of clicking on a word in 
>the Greek text and going at once to the appropriate lemma in either or 
>both lexica. This way you can skim basic definitions and glosses 
>quickly and return to the Greek text; I would keep a note pad and mark 
>down each word you've had to look up, and if I found myself looking up 
>the same word two or more times, I'd take the time to peruse the 
>lexicon entry for that lemma more thoroughly and familiarize yourself 
>with the spectrum of usages listed for it.
>(2) If you can't afford the above, then you might work with the Kubo 
>or with one of the abridged manual lexicons like the "middle Liddell" 
>or perhaps the new abridged Danker volume (which I haven't seen yet, 
>but would expect to be worth the price). I'd still recommend the 
>practice of noting down each word that you look up and studying in 
>more detail words that you find you've looked up two or more times.
>(3) I'm not really familiar with the Sakae Kubo book, but some other 
>certainly will be.
>Carl W. Conrad

I was teaching Greek to second year students at New Orleans Seminary 
when Kubo's Readers lexicon first came out. I had not seen the 
notices of it when a student in my class came up to me in the Quad 
and with enthusiasm asked, "Have you got Kubo?" To which I replied, 
"No, I slept on the wrong side last night and have a crick in my hip!"


Carlton L. Winbery
Retired Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
winberycl at earthlink.net

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