Resource Reviews: Greek DictionariesJuly 12, 2010
Greek language dictionaries are less numerous and diverse than the Latin. According to Jenkins, there is really only once choice for a basic Greek dictionary: Liddell, Scott, Jones (LSJ), available in three sizes, discussed by Jenkins as no. 511. 512, 513 (are undergraduates still taught to call them the Little Liddell, Middle Liddell, and Great Scott?). It covers Greek from Homer to ca. 600 AD. The UGA Libraries have multiple copies and multiple editions, and keep the 1996 reprint of the Greek-English Lexicon (Jenkins’ no. 511) in the Reference collection (Main Reference PA445 .E5 L6 1996). The 1940 printing – the same basic edition, the 9th, as the 1996, but lacking the revised supplement – is available online through Perseus. Most undergraduates and many graduate students will use the Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Jenkins no. 513) for their day-to-day needs; it is widely available new in the $45 price range. LSJ is not available digitally as part of the Premium Collection of Oxford Reference Online or Oxford Language Dictionaries Online.
The only other general Greek-English dictionary discussed by Jenkins is the old print Thesaurus Graecae Linguae (no. 505), which he describes as, “based on obsolete texts and methods” (with origins in the Renaissance) and of use now only to specialists; UGA’s copy remains in Main Reference at PA442 .E8 1954.
For examples of use, scholars are directed to the digital Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG, no. 519), a much-heralded and appreciated resource which is one of the pioneering works of digital humanities (begun in 1972!). The TLG includes the digitized, searchable text of “virtually all Greek texts surviving from the period between Homer (8 c. B.C.) and the fall of Byzantium in A.D. 1453,” and includes “more than 105 million words from over 10,000 works associated with 4,000 authors” (source: their history pages). The UGA Libraries do not subscribe to the TLG, but the Classics Department does, and several of the computers in the Gantz Computer Lab in Park Hall have registered IP addresses. Many of the most commonly used texts in TLG are part of the freely available Abridged Online version.
Etymological dictionaries and those that cover New Testament or Byzantine Greek will be discussed in future posts.