Pickering’s Greek Lexicon -- By: Samuel H. Taylor

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 004:13 (Feb 1847)
Article: Pickering’s Greek Lexicon
Author: Samuel H. Taylor

Pickering’s Greek Lexicon

Samuel H. Taylor

The progress in the study of the Greek language in our country within the last twenty years, may be estimated with some degree of correctness, by the improvement in Greek lexicography during that period. Twenty years ago, almost the only Greek lexicon used in our schools, was that of Schrevelius, the definitions of which were in Latin, and the limited number of words which it contained, made it suitable for only a small circle of authors. In 1826, the same year that Donnegan’s Greek lexicon appeared in England, the translation of Schrevelius by Messrs. Pickering and Oliver, was published in this country, with the addition of upwards of 2000 articles. The publication of this lexicon at once relieved the student of the awkward and wearisome process of studying one dead language through the medium

of another; and we well recollect with what pleasure we first looked upon its pages, containing definitions in our good mother tongue. In 1829, the second edition of the same work appeared, with the addition of more than 10,000 entire articles, and other improvements by Mr. Pickering. About this time, Donnegan’s Greek lexicon was published in this country. Although this work was sufficiently extensive for general use, yet the great want of order in the arrangement of the definitions, the almost entire absence of any logical connection between the primary and secondary or metaphorical meanings, rendered it a very unsafe guide to be put into the hands of students. But notwithstanding the acknowledged defects of Donnegan, it was used more generally than any other lexicon, from the time it was first published in this country until the present year, the small lexicon of Grove, republished from the English edition, being the only other one readily accessible.

But in speaking of the progress of Greek lexicography in our country, mention should be made of the two New Testament lexicons of Dr. Robinson. The first of these, published in 1826, was mainly a translation of the Clavis Philologica of Wahl; the second published in 1836, was a wholly independent work, upon which he had spent several years of unwearied effort, and which reflects high honor on the literature of our country.

The third edition of Mr. Pickering’s Greek lexicon, the recent appearance of which has suggested these remarks, may be considered in many respects as an entirely new work. Mr. Pickering’s attention was directed to the subject of Greek lexicography as early as the year 1814. Since that time until his death in May last, he was constantly increasing his knowledge of the Greek language, both by his own investigations and by the careful study of the best authors on Greek Philology. In add...

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