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What would you buy first, BDAG or Big Kittel?


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#1 Dan Wagner

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:25 PM

I don't own either. Wondering why BDAG is considered the standard when Kittel appears to be more exhaustive.

#2 Fr. Rusty

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:06 PM

Depends on your Greek really. I find the Kittle's faster for me as my greek is slow and labored.
BDAG while very good, requires more time from me.
For those with really good greek reading skills, both have great value and most of them would start with the more modern BDAG which has input from many things that were not available at the time of writing/editing Kittle.

BTW. I am not without bias. Kittle is like a good pair of old comfortable house shoes for me.

Edited by Fr. Rusty, 24 July 2012 - 09:34 PM.


#3 Bob Kuo

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:50 PM

Full disclosure: I own BDAG in Accordance but not the full Kittel. However I have used Kittel a number of times in my studies.

I would go for BDAG first. BDAG is a standard lexicon which provides both a gloss and a definition, references to places the word is used (both Biblical and non-Biblical texts), and for words with several different senses BDAG helps the reader distinguish between many different possible meanings. While you probably already have access to Thayer or maybe even Louw and Nida, I think BDAG is irreplaceable. Kittel is a theological lexicon providing a lot of depth and explanation of the unique usage of the vocabulary. This is good! But if you can only get one - or need to get one first - I think your first stop should be BDAG. It will serve you well to get a basic understanding of what words mean.

#4 Lung

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 02:03 AM

One reason you gotta have BDAG first is that it gives definitions to every word occurred in the New Testament, but TDNT does not, unless there is a theological meaning in a preposition or conjunction.

#5 Jonathan C. Borland

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:49 AM

BDAG first without a doubt for quick survey and many glosses of the word. But I just bought the 10-vol TDNT today because it is the standard in-depth tool, basically presenting a short journal article for 2000 words (of the 5600 or so) in the NT.

#6 Bill Combs

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:29 AM

There is really nothing to think about here. BDAG is the standard Greek lexicon. It is the first tool that every Greek student should buy, and it is the first one to turn to in translating and interpreting any NT text. There is nothing close to it. Thayer is out of date and should not generally be used. The latest edition (3rd) also has the advantage of giving definitions as well as glosses. BDAG may not always be correct, but one should assume it is correct unless one has clear, convincing evidence to the contrary. TDNT is primarily a diachronic analysis of word groups over the history of the language. However, the early volumes were completed in the 1930s, I believe. TDNT is a much more difficult tool to use correctly. In any case start with BDAG and you can't go wrong.

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#7 Joe Weaks

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:47 AM

BDAG
Kittel is aged, though still valuable. It is also incomplete.
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#8 James Tucker

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

It's a good question. Let me see if I can easily articulate an important difference between the two.

BDAG is fundamentally a lexicon. As such, it doesn't attempt nor desire to engage in theological discourse on a given lemma. In fact, you will see that Big Kittel isn't concerned with a lemma per se (which is why some s.v. entries are grouped under a synonymous word group). This is a fundamental divide between the two, namely, Big Kittel is focused on theological concepts and the words related to those concepts. It presupposes a view language, as does BDAG and as we all do, that some have found to be a linguistic paroxysm (e.g., Barr).

BDAG is a standard for Greek lexicography. Indeed, it isn't devoid of theological presumptions and assumptions, but it doesn't seek to argue for a theological perspective, whereas Big Kittel is overtly seeking to argue or present a theological perspective.

My suggestion—not because I am Accordance Consultant, but because I hold a degree in Hellenistic Greek—is that both BDAG and Kittel are a must for the Greek student. Both are going to present data to you, not only from different perspectives of language, but also divergent areas of data, in that one will entertain linguistics within an entirely different rubric than the other.

Edited by James Tucker, 25 July 2012 - 11:21 AM.

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#9 Ken Simpson

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:53 PM

Thanks James, helpful as usual.

But you didn't answer his question! You acknowledged it, but then failed to answer... :-) Which would you buy first?

For my 2c (or $199) I'd go for BDAG for Joe's reasons, though I agree both are good. I find I go to Big Kittel much less.

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#10 Rod Decker

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:12 PM

The consensus you read above is accurate. By all means buy BDAG first. Maybe someday you'll want TDNT, but it's hardly a priority. One factor that has not been mentioned is that there are some serious methodological problems with TDNT. Until one is aware of these and equipped to compensate for them, it could be more misleading than useful. For those not aware of the issues, you need to read carefully Moisés Silva's *Biblical Words and Their Meanings.* If you want to go deeper than that, then the seminal critique of TDNT is James Barr--but I'm blanking on the title just now (it will be listed in Silva).

For anyone who wants more info on BDAG and how to use it, see either the Appendix to my Koine Greek Reader or my web page devoted to BDAG at ntresources.com.bdag.html

Edited by Rod Decker, 25 July 2012 - 06:13 PM.

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#11 Dan Wagner

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:58 PM

Wow! Great responses. Thank you all. While I have your attention, can anyone tell me where the other lexicons available in Accordance stand? In other words, what is the value in Liddell and Scott, Louw and Nida or Mounce if you already own BDAG?
Right now I have Nidtt, Thayers and the Strongs/nas/gk dictionaries.

I'm a new student to Greek, and I probably don't need a lot just yet, but as we all know, buying more tools for Accordance is addicting :)
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#12 Ken Simpson

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 07:12 PM

In broad outline, and inadequate,
LSJ (Liddell-Scott) is a marvelous work, very old school, focussed on classical/Homeric Greek. I still use it as reference, but not as much as BDAG.
L&N is a modern lexicon that seeks to help you make linguistic connections by grouping lemmas into semantic domains (think similar range of meaning)
Mounce is very new and keyed tightly to his system of learning NT Greek. The little I have looked at it, it looks like a fine, if somewhat abridged lexicon.

I like NIDNT. I know it has its weaknesses, and its theological slant, but I have usually found the articles most helpful. While it is not as comprehensive as Big Kittel I find myself using it far more. (Though I use BDAG by far the most).

IMHO, if you have BDAG and you aren't committed to the Mounce system (with all its strengths - and it's worth reading about) then BDAG is focussed on the Koine literature, has plenty of detail and other reading coming out of it, and doesn't push you into making a theological judgement as early as Kittel, so is the best first buy if you are serious about NT Greek. Nonetheless, I regularly refer to L&N because I find their arrangement interesting and informative and at times surprising to my Greek. I find Thayer, and the dictionaries you mention of only passing interest, and generally jump straight to BDAG.

Love other people comments and usages of course. That's just one upside-down guys opinion.

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#13 Fr. Rusty

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:58 PM

Sorry I led you astray there Dan, guess I did not read your question well enough.
I love Etymology and the Kittle and little Kittle were a gifts to me long, long ago, thus I am partial to them and do use them still, quite often.
Yes, they have a slant, but ALL do. There is no such thing as resources that are not, and that, I will argue.
BDAG is incredible and well worth the purchase, no reference library should be without it, or, in my opinion, Kittle.
BDAG is a great start.

Blessings,

#14 James Tucker

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:28 PM

Thanks James, helpful as usual.

But you didn't answer his question! You acknowledged it, but then failed to answer... :-) Which would you buy first?



I was aiming more to give some food for thought for the decision process. ;)

#15 Julie Falling

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 07:17 AM

Hey - I have followed and enjoyed reading this thread. Thanks, Dan, for starting it.

I already own BDAG and use it daily. I was debating whether to buy Big Kittel. I have the abridged version and have used it for word studies. I've decided to wait and purchase Big Liddell (in production).

I also have Mounce's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (being prepared for re-release) and have found it very useful, especially in the first couple of years of Greek study. The principle parts of verbs are listed clearly at the beginning, the definitions are brief, but more fleshed out than what you get in the Newman Dictionary. Additionally, it gives a list of inflected words that you might confuse with the one you're trying to identify.

If you are going to continue in Greek and really use it, BDAG is a must. If you're in the first couple of years of study, you might want to consider Mounce - really helps with learning vocabulary.

I have absolutely loved studying Greek. I'm not a scholar and never will be, but what I have gained in my understanding of the NT by studying Greek makes all the work (and the money spent on resources) worth it. And, frankly, I just love the language.

Julie

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#16 Dan Wagner

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:13 AM

Thanks again to everyone for the responses. I truly appreciate everyone's input.

Jluie: I'm not just in the first few years, I'm in the first few months. I'm stuck at case endings and the definate article. I suspect I don't have the time thats needed to move forward as I'd like to. Either that or I waited until I'm too old for all that memorizing. In any event, if I were in a class setting instead of studying on my own, I would probably have been forced to drop already.

I'm using Mounce's material because there's just so much support offered with it, and thats what I need.

This thread reminds me of what a helpful and diverse group the Accordance user base is. We should have a picnic or something! Maybe on the Accordance campus in Florida. They could give factory tours and we could meet all the people who work so hard providing our favorite software. B)

Edited by Dan Wagner, 26 July 2012 - 10:13 AM.


#17 Julie Falling

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:50 AM

Dan -

I want to encourage you to stick with it. We used Mounce for 1st year Greek. It's excellent. By the way, I began my Greek studies at 56. I am now 60. I think the effort it took actually helped my old brain, though my old eyes have given me some problems. I only audited Greek - $90/semester instead of about $400 to take it for credit. However, I took all the quizzes & tests, wrote all the papers (except one), and participated in class. The professors and college were so very gracious to include me.

I agree with what Dr. J said in his podcast - writing out vocab on cards helped with the learning process. It also enabled me to pull out of the pack what I had mastered (or thought I had mastered). I used colored half-index cards, and put nouns on two of the colors, verbs on two of the colors, and adjectives + what I called "annoying little words" on the last color. I also numbered each card in the corner by where they occurred in Trenchard's Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek NT (worth buying - got mine at Amazon). Now I know this sounds very OCD, but it really helped me. Start at the very top of the card, especially for the verbs, because you will be adding more stuff as you proceed to principle parts.

The other thing that helped me with Greek (and chemistry - my only degree is a BS in chemistry), was to use a lot of paper and write out what I was trying to learn - paradigms and vocab for Greek. I learned a long time ago that I can make up for what I lack in raw talent with work and discipline. If you have a full-time job, your time is going to be limited, but if you devote some time each day, you will make progress, and it really is worth it. What difference does it make if it takes you 2 years to cover Mounce?

I will be back on these forums asking for advice as I try to do Hebrew on my own. My professors said it could be done, and my Greek classmates voted and said I should. I've purchased Pratico & VanPelt. We'll see how it goes. The Hebrew font is even harder for me to see than the Greek, and looks to me like someone dipped a hen's feet in ink and turned her loose. I'm hoping it won't be totally bewildering when I get started!

Hang in there,

Julie

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#18 Rick Bennett

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:57 AM

The Hebrew font is even harder for me to see than the Greek, and looks to me like someone dipped a hen's feet in ink and turned her loose. I'm hoping it won't be totally bewildering when I get started!


Hilarious! :) Seriously though, I think you'll find that once you get past the initial shock that Hebrew is easier.
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#19 Julie Falling

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 11:06 AM

Rick - Thank you so much for the encouragement.

I had emailed a Hebrew prof at the school where I took Greek (they don't offer it to undergrads), and he said that once you got past the weird alphabet, the lack of real vowels, and the whole thing going backwards that it wasn't bad. One of the Greek profs said he thought it was easier too. So there really is hope?

Julie
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#20 Michael J. Bolesta

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 11:23 AM

This reminds me of a Mounce quote that has stuck with me: "The fog. You are now entering the fog. You will have read this chapter and think you understand it—and perhaps you do—but it will seem foggy. That’s okay. If living in the fog becomes discouraging, look two chapters back and you should understand that chapter clearly. In two more chapters this chapter will be clear, assuming you keep studying." Perseverance is essential, for our faith journey and for language learning.

Shalom!
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