A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature

Article excerpt

A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. By Walter Bauer. Revised and edited by Frederick William Danker, 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. lxxix + 1,108 pp. $85.00 (cloth). For more than ten years, scholars of the New Testament have been waiting eagerly for the third English edition of the Bauer lexicon. During this waiting period, anticipation has stimulated high hopes for an ideal English-- Greek reference guide. Frederick Danker and the University of Chicago Press production team have delivered a work very close to the ideal. This third edition instantly renders the second edition obsolete and, in comparison, virtually unusable; readers will wonder how they managed with the second edition for so long. Every student of the Greek New Testament should own a copy, and even readers who know hardly any Greek stand to benefit from browsing in the pages of this scholarly treasure.

Danker has improved this edition first by combing out all the accumulated tangles produced by successions of revisions and translations and additions: all of the phantom bibliographical references, all inaccessible citations, all the nonexistent forms. He has set the reference matter in a comprehensive and intelligible list of bibliography and abbreviations. He and his team have checked every reference in the vast apparatus of this work: some they removed, some they corrected, others they supplemented with recent English-language sources. The reference sources should no longer strike fear into the hearts of timid researchers; Danker has cleared out the dense undergrowth and has posted clear pointers to the relevant literature.

Second, Danker and the University of Chicago Press have made this edition an exemplary reference book. The pages are bright white, as opposed to the second edition's dull cream. The page design uses white space and thoughtful typography to clarify the definitions and to guide the reader; definitions, glosses, headings, and citations -all appear in distinguishable styles. Where entries in the second edition served as much to confuse readers and obscure information as to elucidate Greek usage, the entries in this new edition make plainly available all the information pertinent to each word.

Third, Danker has taken this revision as an opportunity to provide real definitions, not simply glosses (translational equivalents) for the Greek words. …