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Thayer's Greek Lexicon


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#1 Darrell Thatcher

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 07:41 PM

I did not know about Thayer until I purchased Accordance. I would appreciate some comments on how reliable and useful Thayer is given that it is now an old lexicon and has been superceded by others.

What are its best features?

What are its weaknesses?

Thanks.

Edited by Darrell Thatcher, 06 October 2007 - 07:43 PM.


#2 Joe Weaks

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 01:37 PM

I did not know about Thayer until I purchased Accordance. I would appreciate some comments on how reliable and useful Thayer is given that it is now an old lexicon and has been superceded by others.

What are its best features?

What are its weaknesses?

Thanks.

It's great to have it available, especially for historical reasons. The strong's number is helpful for the way some must work, too. I suspect Thayer was a good scholar, though I've never looked at Grimm's lexicon, for which Thayer is a translation.

But here's the blunt opinion I would offer. It's ridiculously old. To use a lexicon from the 1800's is to fly blind to all the manuscript discovery and subsequent scholarship of the 1900's. It falls into the category, IMHO, of a resource that's cheaply available because it's old enough.
I've never used Thayer and I've never used an English dictionary over 100 years old. While the latter would be ignorant of the change in the English language in the last 100 years, using Thayer's lexicon is to be naive regarding the change in our knowledge in the Greek language over the last 150 years.
I want to say "I'm sure it's good for some uses," but I'm having a hard time saying that "this kind of use" or "that kind" is not important enough to invest in a modern lexicon (such as BDAG).
This is just an opinion, which is what you were asking for.

#3 Bill Combs

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Posted 07 October 2007 - 04:22 PM

Wallace says this on p. 25 of his grammar: "Deissmann demonstrated that the vast bulk of NT vocabulary was to be found in the papyri. The pragmatic effect of Deissmann’s work was to render obsolete virtually all lexica and lexical commentaries written before the turn of the century. (Thayer’s lexicon, published in 1886, was consequently outdated shortly after it came off the press—yet, curiously, it is still relied on today by many NT students)."

The truth is that Thayer was superceded by BAG in 1957, then BAGD, and now BDAG (in 2000). I would normally grade down one of my students who cited Thayer unless there was some special reason to do so.

#4 RPat

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 02:19 PM

Ok...I'm going to bite. I understand this from an academic perspective and especially in perspective of a 2nd or 3rd year NT exegesis class or thesis, but I have a question:

How many "howlers" (when compared to BDAG) does Thayer contain?

Just wondering...


Rich

#5 attheCross

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:15 PM

what's the BDAG counterpart in Hebrew?

#6 Helen Brown

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:27 PM

HALOT: Hebrew Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by Koehler and Baumgartner
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#7 William Varner

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 02:09 PM

I am a little late on this, but here goes.

Thayer's is not "obsolete" in my opinion, which sounds like it has no value.

However, the problems with Thayer are two-fold:

1. It does not contain the light shed on NT words by the discovery of the papyri. Therefore, it depends too much on classical definitions of words.

2. Its judgment on synonyms needs further nuancing in light of modern linguistic theory. Carson's chapter on synonyms in "Exegetical Fallacies" bears this out.

Many of the conclusions of Trench in his "Synonyms" are also open to the same criticisms of Thayer's work.

If one avoids the classical observations and some of his comments on synonyms, Thayer still has value. But it certainly has been for a long time supplanted by BAG/BAGD/BDAG. Louw and Nida's lexicon also brings a good linguistic perspective to NT vocabulary.

Will

#8 Ron Bailey

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:20 PM

It may also be relevant to you that Thayer was, as I understand it, a Unitarian.
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