Customer Reviews: A lexicon abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English lexicon
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on November 23, 2004
Just to add comment on all the discussion concerning printing. After reading the above comments, I decided to purchase an earlier edition of the Liddell & Scott via eBay. I took a risk but found that the "big" Liddell, 8th ed., published American Book Company (New York: Cincinnati: Chicago) was typeset and not the undesirable offset. At a savings of about $100, I got the best version (the big Liddell) of the best lexicon (Liddell & Scott) with the clearest printing (typeset). There is no better lexicon for pagan or sacred writings in the classical or koine Greek.
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on September 20, 2002
Updated: December 2014

The Oxford University Press's "Little Liddell" (ISBN 978-0199102075) was published in 1935 and is still available as a new book (from Amazon) for about $50.00.

Eschew the cheap paperback replication published by the elusive Simon Wallenburg Press with a supposedly "Larger Typeface".

The Oxford University Press's First Edition 1945 Impression 1999 of the "Middle Liddell" (ISBN 978-0199102068) is the best of the three Liddell & Scott dictionaries for legibility and usefulness. It is still available as a new book (from Amazon) for about $55.00.

BEWARE of the Benediction Classics 2010 editions of the "Middle Liddell" which are not updated editions of the current Oxford University Press edition but poor quality replications of a much older out of copyright edition.

The "Great Scott" is the one to buy when you're about to do your doctorate. But it has been offset so many times that the print is faint and verging on the illegible. My copy actually has pieces of print missing. The Clarendon Press really ought to have the whole thing revised and reset. But what a daunting task! (It will probably end up being republished on disk.)

Just so you know, "Liddell" rhymes with "middle".
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on August 13, 2004
The problem is photolithography. Reading some reprints can be like looking at a photograph of a photograph. You might consider finding an older typeset copy of the LSJ. Although this means buying a used book, it may be easier on your eyes.

You cannot, however, identify a typeset copy by edition number, publication date, or ISBN. I browsed a copy of the 9th Edition (0198642148) published in 1961 and printed in 1992. It was offset and looked like the printer was running out of ink. I purchased a copy of this same 1961 edition printed in 1978. My copy is typeset. It looks fine.

Whether a copy of the book is offset or typeset seems to depend upon who printed the book and when it was printed. At one time the University of Oxford printed its own books. My LSJ states on the copyright page "Printed in Great Britain at the University Press, Oxford by Eric Buckley, printer to the University." My old copy of Denniston says the same thing except for the name of the printer.

It seems that new books from the Oxford University Press are printed by a variety of firms located anywhere between Bristol and Hong Kong. I don't know when the University stopped printing its books, but I don't think that any copies of the 9th Revised (1996) Edition of the LSJ (0198642261) were printed by the University.

I can't say as a hard and fast rule that all copies printed by and at the University are typeset; however, before purchasing and shipping anything this big and expensive, I would contact the seller and ask the seller where and by whom that copy was printed.
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on May 18, 2000
There is not to much to add to this gentleman's estimation of the Great Scott. Though I will point out that it is invaluable to anyone who has completed the fundamentals and finds themselves reading multiple dialects. The gentleman is right again in saying that a little Liddell, or Middle Liddell is more appropriate for the beginning Greek reader; there is absolutely no reason to spring for the full Lexicon at that point. A reader who has, however, stuck out two or three years and moved beyond the fundamentals should make all efforts to aquire this Lexicon. The 3 rules of Greek reading [1. know your Principle parts they will save your sanity 2. the Lexicon is your friend and 3. above all else, the first thing to do when encountering any Greek is to supress panic] don't change whether you've read two years or twenty, but you can outgrow your lexicon, and any serious readers (if you've stuck it out for three years or more, your serious) should invest in this lexicon. It is the standard and a necessity.
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on January 9, 2005
As an ageing student of Greek, an aged pensioner only half way through the second year of a university course in the subject, I decided to ask my wife to give me the big lexicon for Christmas. Some say it is best to wait until more advanced study is required, but waiting several years at my age is perhaps overly optimistic. Generally I find the Intermediate version very useful, and I have it sitting on top of the Big One. I am sure the large version will be of considerable use, but it won't be travelling with me. I also have the small version which fits well into my luggage.

The use of Victorian English does not worry me (we can all change "hither" and "thither" into more likely expressions), but the smallness of the print and its lack of clarity is a bit of a problem. I have decided that when I use the unabridged edition it will be in the daytime, and on sunny days at that! I am very thankful for a little magnifying set-up that I made when using Reading Greek as a textbook- very clear but very small print. My spectacles help too of course!

A CD-ROM version may be useful to some people, but I much prefer books for frequent use. The computer is in a different room from where I do my real work. I couldn't stand having one of these monstrosities looking at me as I study Greek.

So far I am very positive about the large version of the lexicon. It can hardly have five stars because it has some inadequacies, but it is better to have it than not. I might write another review in a year's time and give a revised view.


Now, almost one year later I can say that I have found it very useful, especially with post-classical words, and more especially with some vocabulary found on inscriptions and papyri.
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on December 8, 2004
Logos Research software has now made this edition in electronic form, all the supplements are integrated in the main text. Each time there is an abbreviation you just hover the mouse over it and the full title is put up, no more having to look in the abbriviation lists, it makes it a lot easier. This also solves the problem of small typeface, you can really see everything clearly. They have also done an electronic form of the BDAG lexicon and HALOT for the OT. So if you want to get this lexicon but the small typeface is a problem check out the electronic versions. Logos has a lot of other stuff related to Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac also, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. So check it out.
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on October 8, 2009
By all means avoid the 2009 U. of Michigan edition of this indispensable book. It is a Google digital facsimile. Most pages are merely ugly, but perhaps fifty are so smudged, as if someone had dragged an inked rag across them, as to be completely illegible. I had to return my copy. Make sure to get the book produced by Oxford University Press.
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on May 28, 2007
This review specifically refers to the "Big Liddle", ninth edition with revised supplement and inclusive of Linear B references.

This book is indispensable for the professional or Graduate Student. It even includes Linear B Mycenaean Greek entries. This gargantuan work is the definitive Greek-English dictionary. I was not able to read Pindar or the Lyric poets easily without the Big Liddle. My major gripe is that it is rather poorly made. The edges of the very thin pages stuck together and each page had to be separated by hand or flicking the pages. The paper is sliver thin, and some of it was creased in the binding - upsetting in a $160 book. On reviewing the front, I noted that it was printed and bound in China and can't help feeling that if it were printed in Europe or the US it might have been better quality. Eventually, the pages separated and I am now able to use it without problems (although the few creased pages still irritate me).

Regard this review as five stars for content but three for the quality of binding/manufacture.
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on June 7, 2000
In 1996 a supplement appeared to this lexicon and was offered as a separate volume. The full lexicon was also offered with the supplement included ............ That discount is no longer offered but this dictionary is still the cheapest major, standard lexicon of any language available...there is no bigger English-Greek lexicon. Eventually, any Greek student who wants to read beyond the elementary authors in the curriculum will need at least to consult this volume. It is all major dictionaries...and can be annoying to use on the eyes. Sadly, there are no other choices at present...though we yearn for the day when computer technology will replace the printed codex and allow for (a much needed, but immensely difficult) a thorough revision of the lexicon. Its etymological notes are obviously valueless today. Beginning students will better appreciate the intermediate version of this book which lists irregular principal parts of verbs separately. Note that the intermediate version is based on the Eighth, not the Ninth, edition of the if any intermediate student notices or cares.
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on February 12, 2003
The Big Liddell is a very valuable resource, as a number of other reviewers here have observed. It truly is the premier work of its kind. But it has a few drawbacks.
1 - The sheer weight and bulk of this tome makes it a dedicated desk reference. In fact, you might consider building a special shelf or desk just to hold the book.
2 - The offset printing flaws mentioned by other reviewers is a significant problem. Portions of some entries are not even legible.
The Big Liddell is the kind of book that would be much more valuable in digital format than in print. There's been talk about an electronic version for some time, and it looks like we might finally get one soon ...
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