BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

I don't understand what my textbook is saying about X. Can someone help me?
Michael Bennett
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BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Michael Bennett » January 8th, 2015, 1:34 am

I already have a concordance (Strong's) and the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates. I own an NA28 and "Complete New Testament Greek" from the Teach Yourself series. I also own a copy of Vine's New Testament Greek Grammar and Dictionary. I think I'm set with what I have as a new student of NT Greek. Can anyone think of why I might need BDAG as well as what I have? Thank you.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 10th, 2015, 6:35 pm

Michael Bennett wrote:I already have a concordance (Strong's) and the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible by Spiros Zodhiates. I own an NA28 and "Complete New Testament Greek" from the Teach Yourself series. I also own a copy of Vine's New Testament Greek Grammar and Dictionary. I think I'm set with what I have as a new student of NT Greek. Can anyone think of why I might need BDAG as well as what I have? Thank you.
Hi Michael,

I think you need at least one good grammar and at least one good lexicon. BDAG is expensive, but it's clearly the best lexicon if you can afford it. I think you should also learn how to look things up in a dictionary, not using numbers or keys. A grammar like Funk or Wallace is also really helpful.

Vine's dictionary is useful, but it's more of a theological dictionary than a dictionary for language learners.

Definitely keep the NA28.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » January 10th, 2015, 8:07 pm

I agree with all of Jonathan's advice, and especially about a grammar like Funk and a good lexicon. Funk is especially good. I also agree that you will need BDAG as you begin to get past the basics. My own personal experience with BDAG though, was that it sat on the shelf for a year or two until I got some of the basics down. I mean there was so much information to juggle at the start that when I wanted to know what ἐν meant, I wanted a one line reply that said "
in, on or among" and it takes the dative.

BDAG responds with 4 full pages in a very large book, with 12 items, and countless sub-items. I would suggest a simpler lexicon at the start, even while I am certain you will want BDAG eventually.

Funk is great. It sounds like you may be studying on your own. If so, you will most likely wamt a couple of other good introductory grammars. There are lots to choose from. Mounce has some real benefits and real drawbacks. Croy is good. There are others.

Finally, I don't know which pronunciation system you are going with. I would recommend either modern or re-constructed Koine (Randall Buth and others). Erasmian is still the most frequently used, I think. Whichever you choose, and do take a bit of time to decide, I would strongly recommend you acquire some audio materials and begin listening to a text like 1John from the very beginning. Even before you understand what the words mean listen to them read, and get used to being able to read the text well yourself. This will be an enormous help in your learning the language.
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Michael Bennett
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Michael Bennett » January 11th, 2015, 2:32 am

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am indeed studying on my own, and the pronunciation system which I am working with is the one used in the Greek Dictionary at the back of Strong's Concordance, which incidentally is also the same as the one in Spiros Zodhiates' work. I have been making myself look things up in the Greek dictionary because, as you said, it's good practice. I agree with you about Vine's New Testament Greek Grammar and Dictionary; even worse, it's an English-to-Greek dictionary only, which limits it a great deal.
You also make a very sound point when you say that I should acquire some audio material. I have been looking for over a week, and all I can find is "modern" Greek which I simply won't use. I believe there is a software system which, at a certain level of investment, includes some audio reading of Biblical Greek, but it is a lot of money and most of what that package includes, I already have in another system. My software systems do not have audio. Can you direct me to some audio of Biblical Greek?
Thanks again for replying. Have a great day.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » January 11th, 2015, 12:17 pm

The pronunciation system described in Strong's and in Zodhiates is Erasmian. Like many others, I had the experience of hearing and reading Erasmian for the first few years only to find as I got more and more familiar with it that it has a choppy and unnatural sound. (I understand from Greek-speaking friends that native Greek speakers despise the sound). It just does not flow like a real languagel. When I did a bit of research I found, again like many others, that the Erasmian system of pronunciation is really an invention of the 16th century scholar and his colleagues, with an eye to distinguishing each sound. This "language" has since been adjusted over the centuries by local language influence, so that we now have an American "Erasmian", a German "Erasmian", and so on.

From everything I've been able to learn, Randall Buth's "reconstituted" Erasmian Greek is the closest modern approximation to what was actually spoken in the first century. (There would, of course, have been substantial variations in local dialects.) You can hear a sample here:http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/g ... 3-samples/. I think if my main goal was to get as close to 1st century Koine pronunciation as possible, I would go with Randall Buth's system.

As it turns, however, Buth's "reconstituted" Erasmian is quite close to modern Greek, and there are many more resources available at a modest price for modern Greek. My own decision was to go modern for this reason. I also like the fact that it is a real living language. Spiros Zodhiates has recorded the entire New Testament in modern Greek, which you can find here: http://www.christianbook.com/na26-koine ... vent=ESRCG. Having switched to a modern pronunciation, I have no difficulty understanding someone reading "reconstituted" Erasmian (or 'American Erasmian' for that matter). I would have to say, though, that reconstituted Erasmian "fits" Koine a little better than modern.

Finally, it probably should be said that all of this has to do only with how the language is spoken. In every case, the text itself is unaffected.
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RandallButh
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by RandallButh » January 12th, 2015, 6:17 am

On the thread question, yes, you need BDAG. The meanings listed in Strongs concordance are NOT reliable. In many cases they are etymological rather than contemporary attestations.
On the question of pronunciation, a clarification is in order.
Erasmian was an attempt to provide different sounds for different symbols. There were two methodological shortcomings. 1. The correct historical sounds were not always discovered, e.g., the phl, theta, chi were full stops in ancient Greek, not fricatives as in Erasmian and modern. 2. The meaningful sound units (phonemes) are mismatched in various modern "Erasmian"s, e.g., US Erasmian likes to join HTA with EI, and Y with OY, and sometimes even O with A.
The restored Koine, on the the hand was a phonemic system, aimed at the first century rather than the origin of the alphabet. Yes, it is quite close to modern Greek, requiring the addition of two vowel phonemes, an ETA that is separate from both Iota and E-psilon, and a Y-psilon that is different from both Iota and "OY".
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » January 12th, 2015, 1:03 pm

Randall Buth wrote:On the thread question, yes, you need BDAG.
To be more precise, the question is:
Michael Bennett wrote: ... as a new student of NT Greek. Can anyone think of why I might need BDAG as well as what I have?
I think you would find relatively few NEW students beginning with a lexicon like BDAG. While there may be some benefit in becoming familiar with such a sophisticated lexicon from the start, it is simply overwhelming for a NEW student studying on his own.

Most new students are content with the vocabulary listings of their grammar book until they learn some of the basics of the language. For example here are entries from three different lexicons for ἐπὶ whose basic meaning is "on, upon, or near". The first entry is from the simple UBS lexicon - 109 words. The second is from Gingrich which is a little bit more complete with quite a few Biblical examples - 514 words. Finally, here is the entry for BDAG - all 6,516 words worth.

Here are the entries from the three different lexicons:
UBS - http://www.2tim316.com/Uploads/ubs_epi.pdf
Gingrich - http://www.2tim316.com/Uploads/ging_epi.pdf
BDAG - http://www.2tim316.com/Uploads/bdag_epi.pdf

You won't need such a sophisticated (and expensive) lexicon until you complete introductory grammar. I think you'd be hard pressed to find many first year students who begin with such a lexicon, or instructors who require it. It's simply overwhelming for most beginners.
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RandallButh
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by RandallButh » January 12th, 2015, 1:15 pm

Yes, a new student only has a NEED to avoid Strongs.
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » January 12th, 2015, 1:46 pm

RandallButh wrote:Yes, a new student only has a NEED to avoid Strongs.
Agreed. A good basic lexicon is required.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: BDAG needed with Strong's Greek Dictionary?

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » January 12th, 2015, 2:23 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:
RandallButh wrote:Yes, a new student only has a NEED to avoid Strongs.
Agreed. A good basic lexicon is required.
Something like Danker's Concise lexicon. But it's too expensive for its size and target audience.
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