Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

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Mahlon Smith
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Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby Mahlon Smith » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:39 pm

I would like opinions on the following resource: "The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon" by Benjamin Davidson. It's age (original publication 1848, the edition I have published 1963) sends up a slight red flag. Still, I need to know if it is reliable enough to be used today, and if not, what could be used in its place? Thanks everyone.

For His glory
Mahlon

Mark Lightman
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby Mark Lightman » Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:59 pm

Mahlon Smith wrote:It's age (original publication 1848, the edition I have published 1963) sends up a slight red flag.

Biblical Hebrew has not changed much in the last two hundred years. You are good to go.
...what could be used in its place?

http://www.amazon.com/Readers-Hebrew-Bi ... brew+bible
Mark Lightman

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby Kirk Lowery » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:12 am

Our understanding Hebrew has improved a great deal since Davidson's publication: the discoveries at Ugarit, the Dead Sea Scrolls and numerous inscriptions and ostraca, to name just a few, has profoundly changed our understanding of the Hebrew lexicon, morphology and syntax.

I would try to use something that is at least post-WWII, if not the 1960s or later.

Having said that, Davidson can be useful. But like Strongs numbers, it can be misleading at times...

My opinion. :-)

Also my opinion: modern Bible software bundle a lot of ancient texts together, with recent linguistic tagging. Yes, I know that the cost is not insignificant. For anything other than very casual use, however, it is the only way to go. I strongly urge you to consider limiting your purchases of Hebrew/Greek hardcopy tools until you have saved up/can afford the software.
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davew
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby davew » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:14 pm

I must agree with Kirk. Some of those older resources are still useful for things like parsing, tracking down odd words and forms, etc. But today there's really no good reason not to go with a computer package. I use Logos myself. I have all of those resources and since I got the hang of this program, they gather dust. There are several good, affordable packages out there, so if you're looking for the best resources available, you sort of owe it to yourself to check out the electronic ones.
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Isaac Fried
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby Isaac Fried » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:36 pm

Come to think of it, how sad that the children of Israel standing in the shadow of God's mountain הר האלוהים were missing Isaac's Etymology, Karl's Dictionary, Davidson's Lexicon, knowledge of the purported "Ugaritic" worshipful adulation of their goddess Anat and her shenanigans, and above all, any eye opening package for the parsing, morphology cum syntax, of God's words for their true portent and meaning, before their rash delivery of their resounding declaration
כל אשר דבר יהוה נעשה ונשמע
NIV: Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Ex. 24:7

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Mark Lightman
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby Mark Lightman » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:10 pm

Kirk Lowery wrote:...the discoveries at Ugarit, the Dead Sea Scrolls and numerous inscriptions and ostraca, to name just a few, has profoundly changed our understanding of the Hebrew lexicon, morphology and syntax.

Hi, Kirk. Could you (or anyone else) isolate, say, the top five verses where the fundamental meaning of the verse has been proven to be different now than we thought it was before the discoveries of the last two hundred years?
Mark Lightman

kwrandolph
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Re: Opinions on using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:32 pm

Mahlon Smith wrote:I would like opinions on the following resource: "The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon" by Benjamin Davidson.


I had one, and I used it so hard that it fell apart. I no longer have it, nor have I bought another.

Mahlon Smith wrote:It's age (original publication 1848, the edition I have published 1963) sends up a slight red flag. Still, I need to know if it is reliable enough to be used today, and if not, what could be used in its place? Thanks everyone.

For His glory
Mahlon


When it was published, the practice was to list all words according to their “roots”. As a result, there are made up roots and sometimes questionable meanings. Well, all dictionaries have some questionable meanings, because Biblical Hebrew is not that well known. It is well enough known that all the main themes are clearly understood, but there are individual verses that translators are just guessing when they make their translations.

The strength of this dictionary is that it lists all the forms of words found in the Masoretic text of Tanakh, including points, and where they are from. Further it lists what that form consists of, whether or not it is a verb or a noun or what, its conjugation, binyan, possible suffixes, etc.? These have not changed since the lexicon was published. I found it invaluable to learn the different forms and their roots. I highly recommend it for a self-study of the text. In fact, for a beginner student, which I was when I used it, it’s better to use this and read, than to get bogged down trying to figure what is the form before you and not getting anywhere in the text.

When it was published, it was believed that the conjugations conjugated for tense. Therefore it lists the conjugations according to that belief. But that’s an easy obstacle to recognize and work around.

The danger of using such a resource is that one can become over-relient on it to recognize the forms. For me, for about the last year before it fell apart, I tried recognizing the forms before looking them up in the lexicon, and most of the time I got it right. In fact, by the time my copy fell apart, I almost never looked up the individual forms, rather I was just using it the same way as a regular lexicon.

Now I don’t use a paper lexicon. I still have my copy of Lisowski’s concordance, which I consult maybe once a month, if even that often. Of course I don’t remember all the Biblical Hebrew words, so I use an electronic dictionary, which is so much faster than a paper dictionary. The dictionary I use is the one I wrote. And because I want it to be easier for students to use, I include many of the more difficult to parse forms, as well as forms that can be derived from two or more sources, but I generally expect those who use my dictionary to know basic grammar, so I don’t list all possible forms as does Davidson.

I looked at the reference that Mark Lightman gave, and my experience is that such a work is almost as bad as an interlinear where the approved definitions are being spoon fed to the reader. What if the Masoretic points are wrong and indicate an incorrect meaning, as sometimes happens, getting spoon fed definitions can interfere with learning Hebrew. But that’s my 2¢, my experience, yours may be different.

Karl W. Randolph.


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