In a post reviewing an intermediate grammar the reviewer notes the authors’ guidance towards the exercise:
- Prioritize Synchrony over Diachrony – here the importance of contemporary meaning and semantic shift is highlighted, along with the dangers of the etymological fallacy (i.e., thinking the history of a word’s meaning has any necessary link to the word’s current meaning – it doesn’t).
- Do Not Confuse Words and Concepts – the danger here is that not every instance of a word refers to the same concept (e.g. “bank” meaning side of a river vs. “bank” meaning financial institution), and not every instance of a given concept is prompted by the same word (e.g. “speech” and “oration” both refer to one concept of public speaking).
- Do Not View Word Study Tools as Inerrant – Jackpot! I loved to see this. Lexicons are not infallible.
Furthermore, the reviewer himself recognizes the treacherous path of simplistic lexical reports:
- Usually scholarly word studies are terrible, woefully incomplete or flawed and thus entirely unhelpful.
- Pastors tend to do them, usually very poorly, and often draw far-flung and erroneous conclusions.
Call me a skeptic. I call myself a lexicologist. Now, lexical semantics can get pretty complicated and abstract in a hurry. There is a swathe of approaches, each with its own range of terms. That said, it is important to have conceptual clarity and precision when talking about word meaning precisely because it is a slippery thing.
For the full review and source: https://williamaross.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/review-going-deeper-with-new-testament-greek/