Greek and Septuagint Lexicography with William Ross (Part 2 of Lexical Semantics)

September 15, 2021 // The Biblical Languages Podcast

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In this episode of the Biblical Languages Podcast, Kevin Grasso interviews William Ross on Greek and Septuagint Lexicography.

Dr. William A. Ross is assistant professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C. He joined the faculty in 2019 and teaches courses in Old Testament interpretation and ancient languages, including Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and others. Prior to coming to Charlotte, Will completed his doctoral work at the University of Cambridge as a Cambridge Trust Scholar under Dr. James K. Aitken, specializing in the Septuagint, Greek language, and Old Testament textual history.

Will’s research interests focus mainly on the Septuagint but also numerous related topics, especially postclassical Greek, linguistics, Judaism, textual criticism, and the history of biblical philology. Currently, Ross is co-chair of the Septuagint Studies unit at ETS, the Linguistics and the Biblical Text research group at IBR, and the Biblical Lexicography program unit at SBL. Will is also a member of a research project based in Madrid that is focused on the history of the Latin Bible. He blogs regularly at williamaross.com.

Given the complexity of this episode's topic, we've included a glossary of technical terms below (the terms are roughly in the order in which they're discussed in the episode).

Here's a snapshot of what you can expect in this conversation:

  • What lexicography is and why it matters for the biblical languages
  • How cognitive-functional linguistics and denotational semantics relates to lexicography
  • The difference between a gloss and a definition and the pros/cons of each
  • How things like polysemy and register should impact how we approach lexical semantics 
  • And much, much more!

Show notes


Resources referenced in this episode:

This is Part 2 of our series on Lexical Semantics. Check out the other episodes in this series:

  • Part 1: Foundations of Lexical Semantics with Malka Rappaport Hovav
  • Part 3: Reinier de Blois on Hebrew lexicography (coming 9/22)
  • Part 4: Nijay Gupta on Greek word studies (coming 9/29)
  • Part 5: Keren Dubnov on Hebrew word studies (coming 10/6)
  • Part 6: Wrapup with Kevin and Nick on Hebrew (coming 10/13)
  • Part 7: Wrapup with Kevin and Nick on Greek (coming 10/20)
 

Glossary


Lexicography -the study of lexicons (source)

Practical lexicography - the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries (source)

Theoretical lexicagraphy - the scholarly study of semantic, orthographic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic features of lexemes of the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language (source)

Content word - words that possess semantic content and contribute to the meaning of the sentence in which they occur (source)

Cognitive-functional linguistics - how usage of language relates to cognitive categories independent of language use. For example, how do humans categorize things in general using their cognition and then how do humans use those same categories in communication (source)

Denotational semantics - relates words to the world (whereas cognitive semantics would relate words to the mind). For example, denotational semantics would give a truth-condition for the meaning of a sentence. The meaning of a sentence would be defined as what the world would have to be like in order for that sentence to be true (source)

Semiotic triangle - a model of how linguistic symbols relate to the objects they represent, describing the relationship between the speaker as the subject, a concept as an object or referent, and its designation or sign (source)

Sense - the relation between the linguistic expression and other expressions in the language system (source)

Reference (referent) - the relation between the linguistic expression and the entity in the real world to which it refers (source)

Prototype theory - a theory of categorization in cognitive science, particularly in psychology and cognitive linguistics, in which there is a graded degree of belonging to a conceptual category, and some members are more central than others (source)

Prototype - a cognitive reference point, i.e the proto-image of all representatives of the meaning of a word or of a category (source)

Gloss - a translation equivalent (see "lexical correspondence")

Definition - a concise description or statement of meaning (see "lexical meaning")

Polysemy -the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple related meanings (source)

Lexical correspondence -a relation of denotational equivalence between two lexical units in the context of two segments that are translation equivalents (source)

Lexical meaning - the meaning of a word in relation to the physical world or to abstract concepts, without reference to any sentence in which the word may occur (source)

Register - a variety of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular communicative situation (source)

 

Where to listen

You can listen and subscribe for updates here: https://biblingo.org/podcast/

You can also listen and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and Overcast.
 
You can also watch on YouTube.

Listen to the full episode, share your feedback, and let us know topics you'd like to hear on future episodes!


September 15, 2021 // The Biblical Languages Podcast

Image

Share this Post

In this episode of the Biblical Languages Podcast, Kevin Grasso interviews William Ross on Greek and Septuagint Lexicography.

Dr. William A. Ross is assistant professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C. He joined the faculty in 2019 and teaches courses in Old Testament interpretation and ancient languages, including Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and others. Prior to coming to Charlotte, Will completed his doctoral work at the University of Cambridge as a Cambridge Trust Scholar under Dr. James K. Aitken, specializing in the Septuagint, Greek language, and Old Testament textual history.

Will’s research interests focus mainly on the Septuagint but also numerous related topics, especially postclassical Greek, linguistics, Judaism, textual criticism, and the history of biblical philology. Currently, Ross is co-chair of the Septuagint Studies unit at ETS, the Linguistics and the Biblical Text research group at IBR, and the Biblical Lexicography program unit at SBL. Will is also a member of a research project based in Madrid that is focused on the history of the Latin Bible. He blogs regularly at williamaross.com.

Given the complexity of this episode's topic, we've included a glossary of technical terms below (the terms are roughly in the order in which they're discussed in the episode).

Here's a snapshot of what you can expect in this conversation:

  • What lexicography is and why it matters for the biblical languages
  • How cognitive-functional linguistics and denotational semantics relates to lexicography
  • The difference between a gloss and a definition and the pros/cons of each
  • How things like polysemy and register should impact how we approach lexical semantics 
  • And much, much more!

Show notes

Resources referenced in this episode:

This is Part 2 of our series on Lexical Semantics. Check out the other episodes in this series:

  • Part 1: Foundations of Lexical Semantics with Malka Rappaport Hovav
  • Part 3: Reinier de Blois on Hebrew lexicography (coming 9/22)
  • Part 4: Nijay Gupta on Greek word studies (coming 9/29)
  • Part 5: Keren Dubnov on Hebrew word studies (coming 10/6)
  • Part 6: Wrapup with Kevin and Nick on Hebrew (coming 10/13)
  • Part 7: Wrapup with Kevin and Nick on Greek (coming 10/20)

Glossary

Lexicography -the study of lexicons (source)

Practical lexicography - the art or craft of compiling, writing and editing dictionaries (source)

Theoretical lexicagraphy - the scholarly study of semantic, orthographic, syntagmatic and paradigmatic features of lexemes of the lexicon (vocabulary) of a language (source)

Content word - words that possess semantic content and contribute to the meaning of the sentence in which they occur (source)

Cognitive-functional linguistics - how usage of language relates to cognitive categories independent of language use. For example, how do humans categorize things in general using their cognition and then how do humans use those same categories in communication (source)

Denotational semantics - relates words to the world (whereas cognitive semantics would relate words to the mind). For example, denotational semantics would give a truth-condition for the meaning of a sentence. The meaning of a sentence would be defined as what the world would have to be like in order for that sentence to be true (source)

Semiotic triangle - a model of how linguistic symbols relate to the objects they represent, describing the relationship between the speaker as the subject, a concept as an object or referent, and its designation or sign (source)

Sense - the relation between the linguistic expression and other expressions in the language system (source)

Reference (referent) - the relation between the linguistic expression and the entity in the real world to which it refers (source)

Prototype theory - a theory of categorization in cognitive science, particularly in psychology and cognitive linguistics, in which there is a graded degree of belonging to a conceptual category, and some members are more central than others (source)

Prototype - a cognitive reference point, i.e the proto-image of all representatives of the meaning of a word or of a category (source)

Gloss - a translation equivalent (see "lexical correspondence")

Definition - a concise description or statement of meaning (see "lexical meaning")

Polysemy -the capacity for a word or phrase to have multiple related meanings (source)

Lexical correspondence -a relation of denotational equivalence between two lexical units in the context of two segments that are translation equivalents (source)

Lexical meaning - the meaning of a word in relation to the physical world or to abstract concepts, without reference to any sentence in which the word may occur (source)

Register - a variety of language used for a particular purpose or in a particular communicative situation (source)

Where to listen

You can listen and subscribe for updates here: https://biblingo.org/podcast/

You can also listen and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, and Overcast.
 
You can also watch on YouTube.

Listen to the full episode, share your feedback, and let us know topics you'd like to hear on future episodes!

Image

The Biblical Languages Podcast hosts discussions and interviews related to learning the biblical languages and issues relevant to biblical exegesis. Episodes cover topics in 4 major categories: language acquisition, linguistics, cultural backgrounds, and exegesis.

Listen & subscribe here: https://biblingo.org/podcast/

 

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