In the previous post, I ran a survey on the importance of Thayer's Lexicon for biblical studies. As I checked today (2009.10.10; 40 votes), 55% indicated it wasn't worth the bother and 28% said it may be helpful but wasn't worth the money. Only 5% put a high value on it, but 13% said it may be more harmful than helpful. SO...
What are the most important Greek-English lexical resources for biblical studies?
To start answering this question, I have constructed a database of the Greek-English lexicons, dictionaries, or related Greek lexical studies available in various packages of Accordance (A8), BibleWorks (BW8), and Logos (L3). You can view my collation in this PDF file or download the XLSX spreadsheet.
Some general observations:
- The prices I provide are listed retail, but there are discounts available for all of them. (Probably the closest comparison is between BibleWorks and Accordance Standard or Premier and Logos Original Languages.) In general, prices are best for BibleWorks (especially for getting the BDAG + HALOT bundle). Accordance and Logos alternate with respect to the best prices on resources they have in common.
- Remember that quantity of resources should not be the main factor in determining the quality of the program. One must also calculate the value/usefulness of the various lexical resources as well as the implementation of those resources in the program.
- Though somewhat subjective, I have assigned the lexical resources to one of three groups.
Some observations about each program:
- There are 'full' lexicons which intend to be comprehensive for a specified body of literature. Of these, Louw-Nida is the only one that is usually included. This an excellent lexicon and one well worth having. It will cost you to add BDAG for each program. The unabridged Liddell-Scott is not available for Accordance and is an extra cost for BW and Logos. Do note that the 'Great Scott' is available online at Perseus. BW and Logos can create a right-click accessible external link to this important resource. (One can also download the LS lexicon for free using Diogenes.)
- There are shorter lexicons which provide a gloss for a Greek word. Some are abridged or condensed from one of the full lexicons. (e.g., the Gingrich/Danker, the 'Middle Liddell,' or the 'Little Kittel') Some are simply rudimentary dictionaries. It is important to have one of these included in a base package. Of them, I think that the UBS Barclay/Newman or the ones based on Strong's (which simply reflect words used in the KJV or NAS translation) are the least helpful. I personally find the Friberg Analytical Lexicon or the Gingrich/Danker Shorter Lexicon to provide just enough additional information in an entry to alert my students when they should do further investigation.
- There are quite a few additional resources that are specialized lexicons, dictionaries, or word studies. I do not have much experience with most of them. I'd be interested in hearing recommendations...
- I have not used Spicq's Theological Lexicon of the NT which is included in the Premier library. It would appear to be a decent resource, but I'm always a bit cautious about "theological" lexicons.
- I wish that Accordance included a shorter lexicon (such as Friberg or Gingrich/Danker or even the 'Middle Liddell') in their packages. As noted above, the UBS Barclay/Newman isn't quite sufficient. Unlike BW and Logos, Accordance doesn't include the abridged Liddell-Scott. Louw-Nida at least is included.
- It seems that a Web Links tool was anticipated so that one could link in to online resources (most importantly Perseus), but I don't see that it has been implemented yet for work on Greek texts.
- One helpful feature is that you can set up a Tool Set including all the lexicons you want. Highlight the Greek word, click the Tool Set, and entries for that word show up in tabs for each lexicon.
- BW's greatest asset is its inclusion of Friberg, Gingrich/Danker (a condensed BDAG), and the 'Middle Liddell.' These provide a good start before getting a more comprehensive lexicon.
- One can choose in BW to have the entries from all available Greek lexicons show up in the Analysis tab when hovering over any Greek word. In the Resource tab, it will indicate whether a specific reference is made to the word in that verse. One can also right click on a Greek word and "Lookup lemma in Lexicon Browser." From this browser one can choose between available lexicons, and the verse reference will be highlighted.
- BW also makes it very easy to link to resources in many other programs and to online resources. E.g., I have right click links from Greek text to look up the lemma of the word in the EDNT which I have in Logos or to either the form or lemma in Perseus online.
- The Original Languages Library does get you a nice collection of lexicons: Louw-Nida, the LEH Lexicon of the LXX, 'Middle Liddell,' and UBS. Most significantly, it also includes the unabridged Theological Dictionary of the NT by Kittel et al. (One of the reasons for jumping up to the Gold Library is that it adds Friberg and, more significantly, the Exegetical Dictionary of the NT [EDNT] of Balz/Schneider.)
- Logos, as one might guess, offers the largest list of additional lexical resources one can buy.
- Within the program, one can have multiple linked windows open to compare a lemma in any available lexical resource. One can also easily right/left arrow through lexicons (keylinking) in any single window. Right clicking on a Greek word and choosing the lemma also provides one option that links in to Perseus online.
UPDATES 2009.10.12 in light of comments...
- Spicq's Theological Lexicon of the NT is available for both Accordance and Logos. It receives positive reviews (including Danker). It covers about 625 words, which is significant, but it is not an exhaustive NT lexicon. (HT: Kevin Woodruff)
- Liddell-Scott-Jones unabridged lexicon ('Great Scott') will be available for Accordance in November 2009. It is the 9th edition of 1940 which is the version available online at Perseus and in the downloadable Diogenes. (HT: Mike Aubrey) The Accordance, Logos, and BibleWorks renditions all include the 1996 Revised Supplement. (And to answer a question in the comments, 'Middle Liddell' is an extra purchase for Accordance.)
- BibleWorks8 includes the 1965 Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 2nd Edition, edited by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick William Danker. The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Danker will be released in November 2009. (HT: Rod Decker) It would be great if this could be included in the software programs.
In my next post, I plan to start soliciting ratings on which lexical resources you think are the most important.