Saturday, April 30, 2016

Resources For Lexical Analysis (Part 2)

AP: Today we are going to focus on W. Bauer's Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament. Remember that C. R. Gregory wanted to see a scientific leap in lexical studies. Well, it did not take long for his wishes to become a reality. Bauer's lexicon is concise but it contains a wealth of data. It was re-edited in 1988 (6th ed.) with improvements in presentation, bibliography, and use of the editions of Kurt and Barbara Aland. This new edition of Bauer's dictionary was an important new development, since the previous edition was 1958 (revised in 1963 and 1971). In the meantime, two editions of an English translation had appeared, adapted and supplemented, by the successive editorial hands of Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago-London: 1979). It is interesting to note the advances that the sixth edition of Bauer offers in relation to the fifth, indicated by the revisers in the prologue of the dictionary. Those advances are discussed here.

Above all it was necessary to establish as a basis the NT text as presented in the Nestle-Aland GNT (26th ed.) and the UBS GNT (3rd ed.). Bauer was still using the 21st ed. of Nestle (1952). Further, the lexicographical data of the NT needed supplementing, including the lemmata, which indicated the integration of all the new data by means of a double asterisk (which was not there in many cases up to that point). At the same time, it was necessary to revise the treatment of the textual variants, which Bauer had collected in abundance, accompanied in each case by a (selective) manuscript attestation. This was suppressed in the 6th edition and substituted by the indication v. l. (varia lector), given that the NA26 offers a sufficient apparatus of the variant. Only when it is not so is the manuscript witness indicated. This procedure seems more viable scientifically speaking. Furthermore, it saves space and has allowed the collected variant readings to be augmented considerably so.

In the second place, a revision (and supplement) was necessary on the basis of the data of the "other early Christian literature or Christian literature from antiquity" (and the articles marked by an * were far from being complete). Given that Bauer (following Preuschen) had taken as a basis for the apostolic fathers the sixth edition of Gebhardt-Harnack-Zahn's Patrum apostolicorum opera, in practice it was relying on a century-old text, since the 1920 edition was no more than the simplified republication of the large edition of 1881. This made a new compilation and annotation of the text necessary.

The same may be said of the third field, which needed to be included in its entirety, namely the first apocrypha of the NT. In this field the situation was and is particularly difficult, since Bauer had relied almost exclusively on the Antilegomena of Preuschen and on Klostermann's edition of the Kleine Texte, without in practice taking into account the new discoveries in the modern editions. Naturally it is open to discussion whether the NT apocrypha belong to "our literature," and if so which of them do belong, as Bauer did not say. To be included in this dictionary, they had to have been composed or preserved in Greek and to come from the first half of the second century, or at least reach back to that point. But even where there is doubt about the date, it is clear that, in content, the NT apocrypha belong to the first rank of writings that provide the basis for this dictionary, which exceeds the bounds of the NT. This is what was attempted with the sixth edition. Anyone who examines the 250 new lemmata introduced in this edition will note that they come substantially from the NT apocrypha and the apostolic fathers.

The citations of ancient Greek authors have on the one hand been extended considerably in the body of the lemma, while on the other hand have been reduced in the headings. The long series of names that are frequently found are due to the fact that Bauer simply added in each case the new authors consulted. But when, starting from a particular author, the same meaning of a word is maintained, there is not much sense in mentioning all subsequent authors who accept the meaning. In these cases the sixth edition only indicates the first author attesting the word and its meaning, indicating from which author onwards the word in question appears.

Doing this allowed space to be saved in the introduction to the lemmata, which has been taken up in registering the grammatical forms that appear in "our literature," in which the LXX version has been included and cited much more than before. Given the importance of the LXX for early Christian literature, this fact needs no justification. Also the data of the apocryphal and pseudepigrapha of the OT have been considerably augmented, as well as the so-called inter-testamental writings and the other Jewish literature in Greek.

With respect to the translations proposed by Bauer, given the criteria followed in the updated edition, the Alands proceeded to maintain and uniquely modernize them with caution or, on occasion, to correct them. To have completely redone the translations would have given rise to an entirely new dictionary, in the opinion of the editors.

The new material included in this dictionary constitutes more than a third of the extent it had previously. If the number of pages of the sixth edition is almost exactly the same as the fifth, this is due not only to the fact that many bibliographic notes have been suppressed, but above all to the new typography.

In general terms, one may say that the revision of the dictionary has meant the inclusion of some 250 new lemmata and the new treatment of many others, due to the fuller knowledge of sources currently available. More texts of the apostolic fathers have been incorporated, updating the references according to the new edition of Bihlmeyer and Schneemelcher. The number of the oldest apocrypha of the NT have been supplemented also, also the papyri, as well as some 70 new authors, in particular the apologists and church fathers. From the point of view of the typographic arrangement, the work results in easier reading, and the NT quotations stand out in bold type, thereby distinguishing them from the other Christian writings. The bibliography has been updated, eliminating at the same time many outdates references. A whole team of scholars have collaborated in the preparation of the project, apart from the Alands.


*The above is taken, with only slight modification, from Antonio Piñero and Jesús Peláez, The Study of the New Testament: A Comprehensive Introduction, trans. David E. Orton and Paul Ellingworth, Tools for Biblical Studies 3 (Leiden: Deo, 2003).

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