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Liddell and Scott Greek–English Lexicon (LSJ) in Logos, reviewed (part 1)

September 10, 2013

LSJ coverAs much as I still look back nostalgically on my early days of Greek and Hebrew reading–where I used only a paper lexicon to look up words I didn’t know–I don’t miss how time-consuming it was. I’m able to do more reading now, not just because of (hopefully!) increased language proficiency, but also because of computerized versions of the same lexicons.

The Liddell and Scott Greek–English Lexicon (LSJ) covers Greek of the classical variety (Homer, Plato, Aristotle, etc.) and of the Septuagint, New Testament, and early church variety. I’ve had the pleasure recently of accessing LSJ via Logos Bible Software.

And, to be clear, what Logos has is the most recent 9th edition with its revised supplement:

The Logos edition is the most useful version of Liddell and Scott (LSJ) ever assembled. It is the only edition in which the hundreds of pages and 26,000+ articles of ‘Supplement’ material have been integrated into the text of the main lexicon, allowing the user to instantly access the 1996 revisions and additions without flipping pages.

I find Bible software ad copy to at times be a little exaggeratory, but the above is not. In the print edition (which is mammoth) the supplement is (you guessed it) at the back of the lexicon proper, so that a word that is also in the supplement requires some flipping back and forth between the main and supplemental sections. Not a huge deal (well, actually, the print book is a huge deal), but not super-easy, either.

Logos seamlessly integrates the main lexicon and the supplemental material all in one place. It’s not the only electronic way to access LSJ with supplement, but it is unique in how it presents all the material.

To take the lexicon for a spin, Luke 15:8-10 has the parable of the lost coin. A woman (presumably poor) loses one of her ten coins somewhere in her little abode, so lights a lamp (λύχνον) and sweeps the house to find the coin. LSJ defines λύχνον as follows:

luxnos

Everything in blue has more information, available immediately with a click (to open in a new tab) or a hover (to show as popover). Here’s where LSJ especially shines in Logos: when you install the free Perseus Classics Collection, it integrates with LSJ. Clicking on the blue, hyperlinked Hdt.2.62, 133 at the end of the first line above takes me right to Herodotus’s Histories (in this instance, already translated into English):

lamp

The circled star circled star for LSJ at the beginning of the word “denotes definitions added or revised in accordance with instructions in the Supplement.” If you forget this, hovering over the symbol shows the popover with its meaning.

You can also link the LSJ lexicon to another lexicon in your library so that they both look up the same word at once. Here’s λύχνον in a Septuagint lexicon, as well (at the bottom right, underneath LSJ; click to enlarge):

LEH

The Logos edition of LSJ also claims significant formatting improvements (and delivers):

The text of the print edition of LSJ is typographically dense. The font size is small, and definition senses are listed consecutively with no vertical breaks. These are all justifiable formatting decisions for a print edition of a lexicon such as LSJ as they reduce production cost through keeping page count down, allowing more information to be packed into the lexicon.

For example, λύχνον in print:

LSJ print

The Logos version, by contrast, uses indentation, new lines, and white spaces in general to increase readability. It’s sort of like reading your print LSJ through Flipboard.

The LSJ Greek-English lexicon is currently on sale at Logos here. You can watch a short video introduction to it here.

Words only have meaning in context, and while we can get at a Greek word’s meaning through studying the rest of the New Testament and Septuagint passages in which it appears, looking at the word’s use more broadly in Greek literature deepens our lexical understanding even further. LSJ is of great value in that regard, in that it references and cites a large body of literature.

Logos’s presentation and integration of LSJ with the rest of its original language texts is expertly done.

I’ll post one more time on LSJ, looking at how its entries on a given word compare to other Greek lexicons that students of the Bible would want to use.

UPDATE: Part 2 of my LSJ review (LSJ for Logos on iPad) is here.
UPDATE #2: Part 3 (the final part) of my LSJ review is here.

Many thanks to Logos Bible Software for the review copy of LSJ, given to me for the purposes of review, but with no expectation as to the content of my review.

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