China Church Solidarity (CCS)
             China Church Solidarity (CCS)

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DISTINCTIVE FEATURES 

OF 

THE BIBLICAL HEBREW & ARAMAIC-CHINESE LEXICON

 

This Lexicon is being edited by leading Catholic scholars in China and will serve as a guide to Hebrew/Aramaic usage. By consulting the biblical vocabulary in this lexicon, users will have a more accurate knowledge of the biblical text and will be able to understand it better.

Up until now, Chinese Catholics had only available two Chinese Bible Dictionaries for consultation – The Bible Dictionary (published in Hong Kong in 1975) and The Dictionary of Biblical Theology (a translation of Xavier Leon-Dufour’s Vocabulaire de Theologie Biblique, published in Taiwan in 1978). However, these two dictionaries do not deal specifically with the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek vocabulary as such.

On the other hand, there are several Hebrew/Aramaic Chinese dictionaries available in Protestant churches (the most recent one was published in 2015) but they are all based on two English dictionaries published more than a century ago, namely, BDB (1907) and Strong’s Concordance (1890). One of the main sources now available, on which  this work is based,, is the most recent nine volume Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, edited by David J. A. Clines, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2018.

A comparison with previous dictionaries reveals distinctive features of this Lexicon that are clearly seen from the methodology, authorship, audience, and availability: 

1. Distinctive methodology:

While all the other versions are a direct translation from either BDB or Strong’s Concordance, the present Lexicon is based on the critical work of the editors using five more language resources, namely, Spanish,German, Italian, French, and modern Hebrew. Previous versions focused mainly on the literal description of a Hebrew entry, while this Lexicon offers Hebrew words in their context (in a phrase, clause, or sentence) to help the reader to clearly understand the meaning.

2. Different authorship:

Apart from the translator of the BDB, other translators had no direct first-hand experience of translating the Hebrew/Aramaic Bible, while the present editors are all involved in directly translating the Bible from Hebrew/Aramaic into modern Chinese.

  3. Intended readers:

Previous dictionaries concentrated on helping lay readers, group coordinators and theological students, while the present Lexicon aims at a much broader audience. Apart from catering to the needs of lay people, bible reading groups, seminarians, religious and preaching, it also caters to the specific needs of bible translators, bible teachers and scholars generally.

4.       Publicity:

Previous dictionaries were available only in private church stores but were unavailable in mainstream bookstores in mainland China. This Lexicon will be published by mainstream publishers and will be available in public bookstores that will give interested non-Christians, who are searching for meaning in life, an opportunity to purchase it as well.

 

The hope is that this Lexicon will be a brand-new tool for interested readers, indeed the first of its kind, that will create a precedent as well as setting an objective standard for future biblical dictionaries in the Chinese Catholic Church.

 

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