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Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains [Hardcover]

Johannes P Louw

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 2 pages
  • Publisher: American Bible Society; 2nd Ed edition (31 Dec 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826703402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826703408
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 21.8 x 15 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,245,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The easiest lexicon to use for general translation work. 3 Oct 1997
By Jonathan W. Robie - Published on Amazon.com
This is the easiest lexicon to use for general translation work, and the fastest one to look things up in. Most lexicons try to give you a feeling for the different kinds of meanings that a word might have, then point you to examples which illustrate each meaning. To really understand them, you have to digest the examples carefully. This lexicon gives fewer examples and more complete definitions, which makes it much easier to grasp the meaning quickly. It also lets you look up words in English and translate them into Greek, which can be useful for exercises that require you to write Greek. To use this lexicon, always start with the second volume and look up the word in the alphabetical list. If you don't, you will never figure out how to use it. For more reviews on lexicons, grammars, and textbooks, see "[...]
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Excellent Domain Studies" 1 Jan 2008
By Zone-One - Published on Amazon.com
Volume 1 is a quick guide & referral to Volume 2 which is one of the best "related" word meaning & explanation lexical guides.

Add this set to your other Lexicon and Greek study book library if you are serious in studying & learning NT Greek.

Read through Volume 2 then use it as a reference - it will help you learn NT Greek by the domain feature. Good printing on heavy paper.
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Louw & Nida 14 Jan 2014
By Rick Kolczak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have not been using it too long--a few months now--but for me it has proven to be a useful tool in addition to my Thayer and Bauer lexicons. I do not always appreciate the way that different definitions for the same word are divided up, it can increase the amount of search time spent on a particular word, but I do understand that is the purpose of the lexicon--to categorize the distinct definitions. I have found a few places so far where the definitions and explanations have been excellent, and not just a repetition of other lexicons.
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT HELP 17 Feb 2013
By Dr. Don Shackelford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The work of Louw and Nida is very helpful in the study of Greek semantics. I am working on a commentary on the Gospel of John and find these volumes very helpful.
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Negative Notes about Louw-Nida 28 Dec 2010
By John R. Himes - Published on Amazon.com
This lexicon was edited by Johannes P Louw and Eugene Nida. Louw is a South African scholar, little known in America. Nida is the author of numerous books on Bible translation and the originator of the dynamic equivalence (renamed at one point to "functional equivalence") method of translation. Strangely enough, though Nida is an acclaimed translation consultant, he never worked as a translator, nor did he translate the Bible himself, though as a young man he went to the Tarahumara area of northern Mexico for the purpose of translating the Bible into a tribal language. Health problems prevented him from ever translating. He later earned a master's degree in Greek and a PhD in linguistics.

The unusual format of this lexicon is that it groups words in what is called "semantic domains" rather than alphabetically. Therefore it is a two volume work, one volume being an alphabetical index to the words of the second volume, the main lexicon, in which the words are grouped according to their semantic domains. The theory of semantic domains is that words should be defined according to the words that are in the same discourse, a slightly different concept than that context rules meaning. Unfortunately, this means that one criticism scholars have made of the work is that Nida did not use the first century papyri in formulating his meanings ("Let the Words be Written," by Philip Stine, p. 152). (Interestingly enough, the concept of semantic domains has not caught on in the world of secular translation scholarship.)

The semantic domain setup also means that this lexicon is difficult to use. There are two volumes to the lexicon, an alphabetical index and the main lexicon. If you don't know the right semantic domain, you have to first look up the Greek index, then put down that book and look it up in the main lexicon. There are, however, various Bible software packages in which the lexicon is easier to access.

A more fundamental criticism I personally have of this lexicon is that I disagree with the method the editors used to determine meaning and write their definitions. (1) As already noted, because of their emphasis on the discourse over contemporary usage, the editors did not research the first century papyri. This is a major problem in my mind. Meaning in any language should be determined by how the contemporary speakers of that language actually use the word. (2) In the process of determining meaning, Nida began with the classical Greek meanings as given in Liddell-Scott. Again, this is a major error, in my opinion. As a linguist in Japanese and a New Testament translator, I do not go to my dictionary of classical Japanese to determine meaning, but before using a word in translation I do research in Japanese literature and popular culture, and by directly speaking to and listening to Japanese people speaking their own language.

Here is what Nida himself said about his editing. "The development of a truly useful lexicon for translators of the New Testament requires a great deal of time and research if it is to be of real help to translators who must know the meaning of any one word in relation to other meaningfully related words. This requires editors with a background in Classical Greek, Hellenistic Greek, Patristic Greek, and linguistics" ("Fascinated by Languages," Nida p. 110). Again, he wrote, "My task was to provide the definitions and for this I reviewed carefully the meanings of terms in the Greek-English Lexicon by Newton G. Liddell and Robert Scott (Oxford: Clarendon Press) and in many instances I traced the meanings of a term from Classical usage to Hellenistic, and even to later Patristic usage" (ibid, 112).

I find this very ironic in the light of Nida's criticisms of the KJV in his works. He was willing to use modern meanings in a modern translation, but for his understanding of the Greek he went to documents 400 years or more before Christ! This means he was depending on historical linguistics (etymology) to determine the meanings of words, something he himself criticizes in various places in his books. (For example, see p. 158 in "From One Language to Another" by Nida and Jan de Waard.)

Another problem, and a major one, is the doctrinal errors of Nida, which no doubt influenced his lexicon. Any conservative evangelical will strongly disagree with some of Nida's positions. First of all, he did not believe in verbal inspiration or in the inerrancy of Scripture ("Fascinated by Languages," pp. 90-93; Stine, p. 59). In his semantics (and therefore this lexicon), this means that he did not believe that a word can have a core meaning. This is ironic in the light of his usage of classical Greek for determining koine meaning.

Again, Nida was an existentialist, praising both philosophical existentialism and neo-orthodoxy (Stine, p. 143-144; "Toward a Science of Translating," by Nida, p. 7; "Religion Across Cultures," by Nida, p. 73, etc.). Nida was influenced in his semantics by philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and L. Wittgenstein ("Toward a Science of Translating," p. 7; Stine, p. 143-144). I believe this viewpoint strongly influenced his semantics, and thus his lexicon. The idea of semantic domains goes beyond simple dependence on context for clarity of meaning, and posits meaning actually conferred (rather than determined) by context. In describing how the lexicon was edited, Stine writes, "As the group repeatedly stated, `Words are not meaning' (Louw, pers. comm.) Words are tokens used by a language to express some meaning" (Stine, p. 151).

All in all, I don't recommend this lexicon. For the best lexicon for New Testament Greek, spend your money on "A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature," by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker.
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