Monday, May 9, 2016

Resources For Lexical Analysis (Part 4)

Part 1 is available here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

AP: We're picking up where we left off in our discussion on the Louw-Nida Greek-English dictionary. In the introduction, which has numerous examples, Louw and Nida devote a number of pages to justifying the layout of this dictionary. Remember, it has words grouped together under semantic fields (or, domains). The reasons they give are as follows:
1. Existing dictionaries do not explain the meaning of words but substitute some words of the source language with others of the target language. A word, however, is not the meaning of another, but its equivalent. It is important, then, to define the meaning. 
2. Dictionaries do not provide a systematic treatment of the idioms or phrases made, since they include them within the predominant lexeme of the same. Thus, βρόχον ἐπιβάλλειν τινί usually appears in dictionaries under the term βρόχος. By contrast, L-N's dictionary gives an autonomous treatment of the idioms or expressions. 
3. But the principal motive for undertaking such a dictionary was, according to its authors, to bring together within the same semantic field all the terms that are strictly related and which are frequently considered synonymous. Only in this way can the particular features or semes of each of them be discovered. As a general rule, L-N estimate that the distinct senses of a word can belong to different semantic fields. And conversely, the meaning of different words can be situated within the same semantic field. Such is the case with νοῦς, καρδία, ψυχή, συνείδησις, φρήν, ανδ πνεῦμα as psychological faculties. 
4. Another advantage of this type of dictionary, according to the authors, is that different grammatical types can be classified together. Thus, for instance, εὐχαριστέω and εὐχαριστία (verb and noun), since both mean "to express gratitude for received benefices or benedictions," can be translated according to the context by "to be grateful, give thanks, or show gratitude." 
5. Grouping words together by their common semantic roots also has the advantage that the derived words appear together. Thus, together with ὕβρις we find ὑβριστής and ὑβρίζω.
6. The positive and negative lexemes appear within the same field, to divide particular semantic features, though they differ for the seme of positivity or negativity. In semantic field 65, there appears, as such, not only καλός, ἀγαθός, and κρηστός, but also κακός and πονηρός.  
In the next posts, we'll take a look at Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, or often referred to as TDNT, and other resources that have shaped the study of biblical words.

*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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