A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (BALD), edited by Frederick William Danker. Third Edition. Based on Walter Bauer's Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments and der fruhchristlichen Literatur, Sixth Edition. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Pp. lxxix + 1108. $84.00.
[This review originally appeared on-line in Bryn Mawr Classical Review (2001.06.01) and is reprinted with permission.]
This is a book with a history, as the copious information on its title page indicates.
It all started, you may say, in 1920 when the Gottingen professor Walter Bauer was entrusted with the task of preparing a new edition of Erwin Preuschen's Vollstandiges griechisch-deutsches Handworterbuch zu den Schriften des Neuen Testaments and der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur, which had appeared in 1910. When this second edition was completed in 1928, the pretentious epithet "vollstandiges" had disappeared from the title, but "Worterbuch" had supplanted the more modest "Handworterbuch," and it is as "Bauer's Worterbuch" that this lexicon, in its successive editions, has become known to generations of classicists and NT scholars; starting with the third edition (1937), it had only Bauer's name on the title page.
Already the second edition could claim completeness with more right than Preuschen's original lexicon. Although, unlike his predecessors, Preuschen had included the vocabulary of the apostolic fathers for comparisons with NT Greek, he did not exploit the papyrus texts and other linguistic material that had become available in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Bauer introduced such material in the second edition, and still more in the third, but it is with the fourth edition (1952) that a more decisive step forward is taken. For that edition, Bauer had undertaken a systematic search of much of Greek literature, from Homer down to the Byzantine period, for parallels that could explain NT usage and help to define the semantics of the NT vocabulary. This was an immense task, undertaken by one man in an age when no electronic retrieval devices were available and printed word indices to individual texts were scarce. But more was to come. The fifth edition (1958) represents the crowning point of Bauer's work, and, in spite of the many accretions in the previous editions, it could be justly described as "verbessert and stark vermehrt."
After Bauer's death in 1960, a sixth edition, "vollig neu bearbeitet," appeared in 1988. This is more teamwork, for the responsible editors, Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, were assisted by scholars of the Institut fur neutestamentliche Textforschung at Munster, especially by Viktor Reichmann.
The fourth German edition formed the basis for William F. Arndt's and F. Wilbur Gingrich's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (1957). This cannot be called simply a translation of the German original, for the American scholars made several additions of their own, both lemmata (in particular from Papias) and bibliographic references, especially to works by Americans. A second edition of this lexicon, based on the fifth German edition, appeared in 1979. An improved typography made this edition a considerably more handy tool than the previous one, but the most important improvements were less visible: references to previously unavailable text witnesses, material from Qumran, parallels from extrabiblical texts, etc. The edition was prepared by Gingrich and Frederick William Danker; Arndt had died in 1957.
Danker became solely responsible for the new, third edition of the Greek-English lexicon (henceforth BAGD, for Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker) after Gingrich's death in 1993. Its foundation is not only the previous English editions but also the sixth German edition that appeared in the meantime. The preparation of this new edition has been made possible by support from the Committee for Scholarly Research of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. …