A group of friends and I got together and purchased this book for our dear Professor. He recently sent a thank note to us, so I have copied it below:
"A few weeks ago [the Theology] surprised me with a cake - with an amazing compliment on it, partially in Greek, even - and a perfectly chosen book. Believe it or not, these students found a way, on student budgets, to get me the 3rd edition of the Bauer Greek lexicon (BDAG, for those to whom this abbreviation means something)!And, in case you have not priced it lately, it is very expensive!Few, if any, of these students have this marvellous language tool, yet they were thoughtful and generous enough to allow me to replace the out-dated 2nd edition I was using."
All in all, we were pleased with the arrival (ON TIME) and quality of the book!
This single resource has replaced my entire collection of concordances and lexicons. This tome stands out like a beautifully sore thumb in the line up of Greek-English references. The definitions are rather thorough explanations of the multiple usages common to the Koine Greek vernacular of the time period. Every other lexicon I have encountered includes only a narrow definition consisting of only a couple usages. Some pathetic lexicons even define the Greek words according to how the King James Version of the Bible decided to translate them; which is an absurd and backwards way to go about it. This Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature 3rd edition surely triumphs ^_^
The new edition of the BDAG Lexicon meets a desperate need in the field of NT studies. While lexicons like Thayers and Abbott-Smith have their place, for the serious student there can be no substitute for this volume. Excellent semantic studies. Thorough word defintions. Clear and somewhat definitve articultions on tricky issues. While the price is steep and the criticisms warranted (the learning curve is steep when using this work), I can recommend no other work for the student who intends to do serious NT study. This is not for the faint of heart, but for the serious scholar.
The new BDAG lexicon is a great lexicon, but it like all human reference books, it is not perfect. Its strength is its linguistic, semantical, and lexical detail coupled with the historical sources it cites in most entries. Indeed, it is a lexical marvel. Its weakness is that there is so much information packed so tight that this scholarly tool is virtually useless to the non-linguist and the beginning Greek student. In other words, it just isn't a practical tool to anyone except those who are well-versed in Greek, and some of the definitions given (or comments made) are pure conjecture as no original sources are cited to legitimize a few of the entries. Nonetheless, it is among the most thorough lexicons for biblical language study. I personally believe the 2nd edition "BAGD" (1979) is more sensitive to the way words are used in New Testament contexts, and is therefore "more accurate" in some ways than the latest edition. Thayer is still useful but it is severely dated; it's a pre-papyri lexicon. Abbott-Smith is likewise dated. In my judgment, the very best "all-purpose" Greek-English lexicon is the Analytical Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Timothy Friberg and Neva Miller. The only thing it lacks is the sources cited by BDAG. They are not needed unless one is a language scholar and wants to reference the original sources for verification, dissertation writing, etc.