In view of recent discussions about the nature of the language of the New Testament, I thought I would take a break from ‘orthotomeo’, to quote from the introduction to Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker. I am quoting from the 1979 edition, which is called the BAGD. Other editions have slightly different initials so it is possible to identify the edition by the initials if the writer is conscious of this nomenclature and follows it.
- We have yet to consider those words which our literature, primarily the New Testament, either shares with the LXX alone, or for which it is the only witness, and which for this reason play a unique role as ‘voces biblicae’ in the philology of the Greek Bible. Before the systematic investigation of the popular speech, their number was much larger. The fact that the advances in our knowledge have freed one after another of these words from their isolation and demonstrated that they were part of the living language forces upon us the conclusion that the great mass of Biblical words for which we do not yet have secular evidence also belong to that language.
- Of course, there are some formations with regard to which it is not only possible, but in some instances very probable, that the translators of the Old Testament formed them for their own purposes and then handed them on to the composers of our literature, while the latter, in turn, created other terms to satisfy their own needs . The Hellenistic spirit, however, makes itself felt even in these cases through the fact that those forms are preferred for which we have been able to establish a preference in the common speech. BAGD xix
Spoken Jewish-Greek as an entity to be clearly differentiated from the language of the people in general is something that can rarely be established, though more often suspected. As for the influence of the LXX, every page of this lexicon shows that it outweighs all other influences on our literature.
It is the purpose of this lexicon to facilitate the understanding of texts that were composed in the Late Greek described above. This kind of Greek was the mother-tongue of those who wrote them, … no matter how well they may have been acquainted with Semitic idiom. Likewise those who heard and read their messages spoke the same kind of Greek. They, at least, were no longer conscious of Semitic originals upon which, in one form or another, some of those writings were based. xx – xxi
I hope some of this clarifies why I would agree that the language of the New Tesatment is the common speech, but I also consider the Septuagint a highly important aspect of language study for understanding the text.
Here is a description of this lexicon. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (3rd ed.)
- This is the standard lexicon of New Testament Greek. It is Danker’s revision of the English adaptation of Walter Bauer’s classic German work. Known to many as “Arndt & Gingrich,” the first edition came out in 1957 and is often referenced as BAG (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich). Danker became involved in the much expanded 2nd edition that came out in 1979, known as BAGD (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker). The 3rd edition is Danker’s revision. It was published in 2000 and is known as BDAG (Bauer, Danker, Arndt, Gingrich). Bauer’s name still stands in the first position, but Danker’s name now precedes those of Arndt and Gingrich.
I do have to add an odd aside. While reading the introduction to this lexicon, 1979, I came across the following statement,
- On adelphos. There is no longer any doubt in my mind that adelphoi can mean ‘brothers and sisters’ in any number. There are passages that scarcely permit any other interpretation. Ptolemaeus, Apostelesm. 3, 5 has as its subject περι γονεων and 3, 6 περι αδελφων, divided into male and female. The meaning is so clear that FERobbins  rightly translates the second title “Of Brothers and Sisters.’ Likewise Diog. L. 7, 108; 120 al. xxvii
In The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy, 2005, page. 425, I read this about the Colorado Springs Guidelines, 1997,
- Guideline B.1 originally read:
“Brother” (adelphos) and “brothers” (adelphoi) should not be changed to “brother(s) and sister(s).
The guideline above was later revised, likely because someone contacted the authors of the guidelines with reference to this glaring error, but it is an indication of the lack of preparation that went into the guidelines, as I have indicated before.
However, it is worth noting that among the endorsements for The TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy is found this,
- “In an earnest plea for reduction of ideological interests, the authors probe the need for setting higher standards of accuracy in translation of gender-related terms.” Frederick Danker.
In my opinion something here does not add up. The authors of The TNIV and the GNBC did not have the necessary desire for high accuracy to read either the introduction to this Lexicon, 1979, or the entry for adelphos in the lexicon. In spite of this, these authors are commended by the editor of this lexicon. What am I missing?
I have had certain people question my commitment to truth. But one of the reasons I am writing for this blog is to carve a straight highway for the word of truth.