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A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann's Lexicon Syriacum
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A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann's Lexicon Syriacum

Author: Michael Sokoloff
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The second edition of Carl Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum, published in 1928, is rightly considered to be the best dictionary of Syriac ever written. However, its Latin language and the ordering of words according to triliteral Semitic roots make difficult to use for most students and scholars. Moreover, the dictionary was composed in an extremely concise manner, which meant that references were given without citing any of the text. This often makes the glosses impossible even for someone who knows Latin.

In the 81 years that have passed since the book’s publication, there have been great advances in both Aramaic and Semitic studies. Moreover, Syriac studies—especially the publication of the critical texts of classical authors, such as Ephrem—have greatly enhanced our knowledge of Syriac and have made the publication of a new and up-to-date dictionary imperative. However, because a new dictionary project does not yet exist and would take decades to complete, this edition of Brockelmann’s work has been undertaken to make Syriac vocabulary more accessible to both scholars and students. Following are the changes introduced into the Syriac Lexicon in this revision:

  • The meanings are given in English, not Latin.
  • The vocabulary is ordered alphabetically.
  • All text citations have been verified by consulting the original publications, and where new critical editions have appeared (for example, those of E. Beck for the works of Ephrem), references have been changed to point to the new editions.
  • Text citations with partial or complete translations have now been provided.
  • All of the etymologies have been thoroughly revised.
  • Two electronic indexes (English-Syriac and Text References) have been prepared.

This dictionary is an essential tool for anyone working in Syriac studies, Semitic linguistics, and biblical studies.


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