Etymological New Testament

Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby cwconrad » December 26th, 2011, 10:43 am

SusanJeffers wrote:Thanks for providing the Herodotus quote. I appreciate it.

sooo.... if one were to want to investigate the etymology of θεος where might one look?

I bought John Michael Wine's book, both out of curiosity to see what he's up to and also because I'm interested in etymology; having looked it over, it seems to me that he has built a house of cards, using questionable etymologies in combination with some other methods that folks here have criticized.

But my question remains: where can one find more reliable etymologies for Greek words in the NT? Or is etymology just so completely out of style that there is no reliable source where a lay person can look up etymologies of biblical Greek words?

I looked up "theology" in the Online Etymology Dictionary
http://www.etymonline.com
which, for the theo- part, pointed me to the Proto-Indo-European "*dhes-, root of words applied to various religious concepts, e.g. L. feriae "holidays," festus "festive," fanum "temple.""

I don't know how reliable etymonline.com is... but it's what comes up when I google "etymology x" where x is an English language word.

Thanks!


I would be hesitant to go beyond etymological pointers in LSJ and BDAG; there are some etymological lexica for ancient Greek (I know of Boisacq (French) and Hofmann (German). Much of this etymological research is fanciful and speculative. Of course it's fun -- a game to play -- but not something to take very seriously, as John Michael Wine seems to do in the extreme. What the good (unabridged lexica) offer in terms of judgments about usage within particular contexts -- often far-removed from etymological origins -- is far more valuable. A useful and trustworthy etymological resource is Calvert Watkins' The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, Third Edition [Paperback].
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
… ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὸν οἶνον ἠξίους
πίνειν, συνεκποτέ’ ἐστί σοι καὶ τὴν τρύγα Aristophanes, Plutus 1085
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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby SusanJeffers » December 26th, 2011, 11:26 am

thanks for your quick reply, Carl.

I do occasionally notice the "etymological pointers" in LSJ and BDAG.

When you write
"Of course it's fun -- a game to play -- but not something to take very seriousy"
by the "it" do you mean etymology in general?

I can certainly see that etymology is of little use to acquiring a working knowledge of Biblical Greek, beyond perhaps noticing cognates to one's mother tongue... and that, even if one gets a correct understanding of where a Biblical Greek comes from, that in itself is of little use in gaining a correct understanding of how it is used in the LXX/GNT.
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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby Stephen Carlson » December 26th, 2011, 2:03 pm

cwconrad wrote:I would be hesitant to go beyond etymological pointers in LSJ and BDAG; there are some etymological lexica for ancient Greek (I know of Boisacq (French) and Hofmann (German). Much of this etymological research is fanciful and speculative. Of course it's fun -- a game to play -- but not something to take very seriously, as John Michael Wine seems to do in the extreme. What the good (unabridged lexica) offer in terms of judgments about usage within particular contexts -- often far-removed from etymological origins -- is far more valuable. A useful and trustworthy etymological resource is Calvert Watkins' The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots, Third Edition [Paperback].


There's also the Etymological Dictionary of Greek by Robert Beekes. It is published by Brill and prohibitively expensive. Perhaps one's university library has a copy. (It used to be online until Brill took it over.)

What distinguishes Beekes is his interest in non-Indo-European pre-Greek.

Stephen
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby RDecker » December 26th, 2011, 5:02 pm

Yes, Beekes is "prohibitively expensive"-- @ ca. $600/vol! I haven't used it yet, but our librarian recently "bit the bullet" and spent a not insignificant part of the acquisition budget for this set. That means, of course, that I need to use it (at least once!) to justify the outlay. :)

At the Brill booth at SBL 2 years ago there was a small knot of people examining it. If I remember right, Fred Danker was one of them and he spoke very highly of this work as much more reliable than many previous such works. Danker has made a unique contribution of his own in this regard, added substantive and legitimate etymology notes in his Concise Lexicon (though usually not roots); these are not in BDAG, so the CL is well worth adding to one's toolbox in addition to BDAG. (The revised definitions are also a good supplement to BDAG. They are sometimes briefer, so the longer, more technical definitions in BDAG are not to be considered obsolete.)

As to etymology in general, those interested really ought to read Moisés Silva's Biblical Words and Their Meanings (and perhaps also his introductory, God, Language and Scripture: Reading the Bible in Light of General Lingistics). Those discussions treat etymology as it is related to semantics--and very cautiously. The other use of roots, etc., and one generally more reliable and helpful, is not semantic, but morphological. Unfortunately, the two seem to get muddled as if the value for morphology also implies value for semantics.

Stephen noted that Beekes was at one time online ("It used to be online until Brill took it over"). I wonder if anyone knows if/where it might be found in one of the Internet archives (WayBack, etc.)? I don't know where or what would have been posted, so I don't have enough info to find it.
Rodney J. Decker
Prof/NT
Baptist Bible Seminary
Clarks Summit, PA
(See profile for my NTResources blog address.)
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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby SusanJeffers » December 27th, 2011, 8:32 am

thanks so much for the information on Beekes. WorldCat shows it in 126 libraries worldwide, none of them close to me, but I've written to my friendly reference librarian in hopes of getting some sample pages scanned and sent to me, but she is on vacation until after New Years. I can't even find a "view preview" online! Nor an actual review, other than Brill's blurb.

Perhaps Rodney Decker could write a review? or even post a scanned excerpt - perhaps even the entry for θεος...

I share Rodney Decker's interest in finding a "WayBack" type record of Beekes.

I appreciate the reminder about about Moises Silva's two books, both of which I have handy on my shelf.

I'm sure y'all get tired of my saying it, but I am SO grateful for the b-greek community! Happy New Year, all!

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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby SusanJeffers » December 27th, 2011, 8:58 am

I also just now ordered the Danker Concise Lexicon; thanks for that tip as well.

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Re: Etymological New Testament

Postby SusanJeffers » December 29th, 2011, 4:18 am

Here is the Beekes entry for θεος, emailed to me by a reference librarian:

etymology-theos-Beekes.JPG
etymology-theos-Beekes.JPG (237.19 KiB) Viewed 641 times


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