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Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 12:33 pm
by Thomas Sandberg
I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post this...

Basically, from searching and reading through the threads here I see the basic conclusion here is "Smyth + BDF + Cambridge's Grammar of Medieval Greek (apparently to be released this year?)" for reference grammars and "LSJ + BDAG + Lampe's Patristic Lexicon + Sophocles's Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods (from B.C. 146 to A.D. 1100) to cover the realm of Greek relevant for someone in my position (Greek Orthodox).

The only thing I'm not sure of is which edition of Smyth? When using Perseus' Smyth there is this link ... 0674362500 this the edition of Smyth that is meant when referred to here at B-Greek?

Anything else to add/comment is greatly appreciated.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 1:11 pm
by Stirling Bartholomew
I don't think you are likely to run into the first version of Smyth 1920. The revision was published in 1956. Lampe's Patristic Lexicon is many $$$. Mine gathers dust. But I am not reading patristic texts. I don't see any NT lexicons. The second edition BAGD is pretty good. The third is a little better. Louw and Nida are bundled with bible software, you do not need a hard copy if you have it in software. Does anyone NOT have software?

LXX lexicons, LEH is marginal, it is also bundled with some software. Muraoka is probably the best choice, you need to get the lastest version, it has been published while it was in work.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 1:20 pm
by Jonathan Robie
I would add the Cambridge Greek Lexicon by John Lee:

John Lee's description of the project[1]:
New Testament lexicography has failed to deliver the results one might expect from such long-sustained attention. Instead of a commodity that provides accurately described meanings and a reliable summation of the relevant data, we have haphazard coverage of the latter and a considerably flawed treatment of the former. The reasons for this outcome . . . [are] undue reliance on predecessors, an unsatisfactory method of indicating meaning, interference from translations, and an inadequate means of gathering evidence and opinion.
Instead of relying solely on existing lexicons, the editors have systematically gone back to the original texts in order to construct their entries, which has enabled us to identify fresh interpretations and insights. . . There is a strong focus on identification of sense distinctions and a detailed description of them, as opposed to an older methodology in ancient Greek dictionaries where general catch-all single word translations were used, along with a bias in the presentation towards the highlighting of syntactic information, which in practice tends to override somewhat unsubtly the divisions of sense. . . In this lexicon, current English has been used, with great care taken to match the ancient senses with a modern way of expressing them. As a further aid to sharpening understanding, a wide range of contextual information has been included, for instance, the kinds of subjects and objects which occur with a given verb, or the semantic range of nouns that an adjective can qualify.
[1] Lee, John A. L. A History of New Testament Lexicography. New York: P. Lang, 2003. 177.

Sample page here: ... p/lambda30

Also worth noting: this will be available on Perseus: ... on_Project
The project has an agreement with the Perseus Project at Tufts University, to publish the lexicon online, in addition to the print edition from Cambridge University Press.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 1:29 pm
by Stirling Bartholomew
RE: NT reference grammars. A. T. Robertson becomes helpful after a decade or more of study. I wouldn't purchase Moulton-Howard-Turner, it is referenced frequently in the older NT secondary literature. BDF is a difficult book to use but probably worth owning.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 3:02 pm
by Stirling Bartholomew
There is a long contentious thread on the The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek c2015 on Textkit. ... ilit=brill ... ient-greek

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 15th, 2017, 3:09 pm
by Paul-Nitz
The 1920 and the 1956 versions of Smyth are virtually the same. Revisions were made to the plates, thus the same pagination and very slight revisions.
It is available on and Textkit.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 2:13 am
by Stephen Carlson
Τhe Brill Greek-English lexicon (GE) supersedes LSJ if you're buying a physical book, mostly in a more user-friendly organization and contemporary glosses; otherwise LSJ is readily available online.

The Cambridge volumes (grammar and lexicon) don't seem to be published yet, so I have no opinion to offer about them.

BDF is very good for help with the unusual parts of the grammar. Otherwise, it assumes you know Smyth or the equivalent.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 7:37 am
by Jonathan Robie
Stephen Carlson wrote:
May 16th, 2017, 2:13 am
Τhe Brill Greek-English lexicon (GE) supersedes LSJ if you're buying a physical book, mostly in a more user-friendly organization and contemporary glosses; otherwise LSJ is readily available online.
You can see a sample here: ... review.pdf

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 8:35 am
by Stephen Hughes
Thomas Sandberg wrote:
May 15th, 2017, 12:33 pm
to cover the realm of Greek relevant for someone in my position (Greek Orthodox).
Of the regular things, the Our Father and the Creed have fairly basic grammar, and you have probably worked through them. The congregational responses of the Liturgy of Saint of Saint John Chysostom are probably already familiar to you, the diaconal parts have quite simple grammar too. Some of the longer priestly prayers will need grammars and lexicons to work through. The synaxis and chants of the vespers are in a simpler form of Byzantine Greek - perhaps a lower register. The psalms which you pray every day are a challenge in themselves, because of the laconic nature of their syntax, and in some cases a Septuagint lexicon will be useful. Your reading of the Septuagint as the authoritative O.T. text without (necessarily) referring Hebrew Vorlage will be challenging. Commentaries to guide you through that are written in the higher registers of Modern Greek, so you'll need to be looking for other reference material to cover the later stages of the language. The Agni Parthene has some developed lexical elements, but very little if any syntactically required grammar.

As far as theologians are concerned, you will need to learn Attic Greek as well as New Testament Greek. The Alexandrian Fathers tend to be in simpler style, while the Cappadocian fathers and through them to Saint John Chrysostom might be accessible enough after 2 years of Classical Greek. Maximus the Confessor and Dionyssius the Areopagite are in an easier and more accessible style. Symeon the New Theologian and Gregory Palamas lie either side of the later date of Sophocles lexicon. So far as reading the Fathers as an orthodox, you won't have much of an issue. The four phases of Eastern Orthodox theological clarification that have so far come up in the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church require different levels of engagement with the language. The Christological debates (Athenasius) is in a form closer to the New Testament Koine, the Trinitarian debates are written in a style closer to Classical Attic, the Iconoclastic and real Energies - Essence distinction are written in what might call scholarly Byzantine Greek. If you also read as a scholar - ie read the texts and ideas that the orthodox wrote againt, from Gnostics to the Calabrian, even the texts are not so readily available. Symeon the New Theologian as an expression of the experiential (mystical - ie initiated into the divine mysteries) side of your faith tradition, continuing in the simple monastic traditions of the Apophthegmata Patrum, doesn't write in inaccessible Greek.

Here are a few examples of the type of texts you will be reading:
The Creed wrote:Τὸν δι' ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους καὶ διὰ τὴν ἡμετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ σαρκωθέντα ἐκ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου καὶ Μαρίας τῆς Παρθένου καὶ ἐνανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ Ποντίου Πιλάτου, καὶ παθόντα καὶ ταφέντα.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
You needn't go beyond NT grammar or lexica to read this.
Maximus the Confessor, - [url=]Nothing is empty of the Holy Spirit.[/url] wrote:Ἀμέλει τοι πολλοὺς εὑρίσκομεν καὶ τῶν ἄγαν βαρβάρων καὶ νομάδων ἀνθρώπων καλοκἀγαθίας μεταποιουμένους καὶ τοὺς ἀνέκαθεν κρατήσαντας ἐν αὐτοῖς θηριώδεις ἀθετοῦντας νόμους. Οὕτω μὲν οὖν ἐν πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς ἐστι τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. Προσδιωρισμένως δὲ καὶ κατ΄ ἄλλην ἐπίνοιάν ἐστιν ἐν πᾶσι τοῖς κατὰ νόμον ὡς νομοθετητικὸν καὶ προαγορευτικὸν μελλόντων μυστηρίων͵ ἐμποιοῦν αὐτοῖς αἴσθησιν μὲν τῆς τῶν ἐντολῶν παραβάσεως͵ ἐπιστήμην δὲ τῆς προαγορευθείσης κατὰ Χριστὸν τελειότητος. Ὅθεν κἀκ τούτων πολλοὺς εὑρίσκομεν τὴν μὲν παλαιὰν καὶ ἐν σκιαῖς κειμένην καταλιμπάνοντας λατρείαν͵ πρὸς δὲ τὴν νέαν καὶ μυστικὴν προθύμως μεταβαλλομένους.
It is certain that there are many people, even very barbarians and nomads, who exchange their manners and become good and beautiful, transgressing the bestial laws, that always had the power among them. This way then in all universally the Holy Spirit is. Yet specifically and according to another conception, He is in all who live according to law, as legislative and foretelling future mysteries, generating in them the sense of transgression of the commands and the science of the foretold perfection according to Christ. Hence we see also many of them to abandon the old worship, which lies in shadows, and being transposed willfully to the new and mystical worship.
This is good solid Attic prose, accessible by somebody who has completed the second year of a solid programme in Classical Greek.
Symeon the New Theologian - [url=]Becoming invisible and suddenly appearing[/url] wrote:Τέως ἑώρων συχνότερον φῶς, ποτέ μέν ἔνδον, ὅτε γαλήνης καί εἰρήνης ἡ ψυχή μου ἀπήλαυε, ποτέ δέ ἔξω που μακράν ἐφαίνετο ἤ καί τελείως ἐκρύπτετο καί κρυπτόμενον θλῖψίν μοι ἐνεποίει ἀφόρητον, λογιζομένου μου ὡς οὐκέτι πάντως φανήσεται. Ἀλλά μοι πάλιν θρηνοῦντι καί κλαίοντι καί πᾶσαν ἐνδεικνυμένῳ ξενιτείαν καί ὑπακοήν καί ταπείνωσιν ἐπεφαίνετο ὥσπερ ὁ ἥλιος, τό πάχος τοῦ νέφους διατέμνων καί κατά μικρόν προσηνής καί σφαιροειδής ἐνδεικνύμενος.
I started to see more often the light, sometimes inside, when my soul enjoyed serenity and peace, sometimes outside somewhere far away appeared to me or it was wholly hiding itself and hidden it was bringing sadness unbearable to me, because I was thinking it will no more in any way be revealed. And while I was mourning and weeping and showing all kinds of strangeness, obedience and humility, it was revealing itself upon me just like the sun, that cuts the fatness of the cloud and little by little appears friendly in the shape of a sphere.
This is a little different from the New Testament, but at about the same level of ornation.
Gregory Palamas - Calling everything near him. wrote:Ἡ κατὰ μόνας ἐν τοῖς ἡμῶν οἴκοις, κἀν τοῖς κοιτῶσιν αὐτοῖς εἰς προσευχὴν διέγερσις τὴν ἐπ' ἐκκλησίαις συνίστησι πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ ἡ ἔνδον κατὰ διάνοιαν τὴν διὰ τῶν χειλέων· ὁ γὰρ τότε προσεύχεσθαι βουλόμενος, ἡνίκ' ἂν εἰς τὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ ναὸν παραγένηται, οἴκοι δὲ κἀν ταῖς ὁδοῖς καὶ ταῖς ἀγοραῖς μηδεμίαν φροντίδα προσευχῆς ποιούμενος, οὐδ' ἡνίκα πάρεστι τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ ναῷ ἀληθῶς ὑπάρχει προσευχόμενος.
The personal prayer in our homes, even in our bedrooms, this constitutes our common prayer to God in the churches, as our inner spiritual prayer constitutes the one we pronounce with the lips. Because he who wants to pray when being in the temple of God, while in his home or in the streets and the markets has no care for prayer, even when being in the temple of God he doesn’t pray in truth.
This is lower level high register Byzantine Greek, ie the literary Greek in its simple form.

Re: Smyth + BDF + etc.

Posted: May 16th, 2017, 11:37 am
by Jonathan Robie
Thomas Sandberg wrote:
May 15th, 2017, 12:33 pm
to cover the realm of Greek relevant for someone in my position (Greek Orthodox).
What is most relevant to you? What do you want to do with Greek?