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A Student's Dictionary for Biblical and Theological StudiesA Handbook of Special and Technical Terms
By F.B. Huey Jr. Bruce Corley
ZondervanCopyright © 1984 Zondervan
All right reserved.
ABIOGENESIS. An ancient belief that life can emerge from inanimate matter.
ABLATIVE CASE. This is the -> case of separation in Greek; its form is the same as the -> genitive, but its function is different. Gk: "They ran out of the house naked and bleeding" (Acts 19:16).
ABLAUT. The German term for -> vowel gradation.
AB OVO. Latin for "from the egg." An expression used to mean "from the very beginning."
ABSOLUTE. In Hebrew Greek grammar, a word is absolute when it stands independently and has no grammatical relation to other elements in the sentence. The most common instance in Greek is the -> genitive absolute.
ABSOLUTE OBJECT. Another name for -> cognate accusative.
ABSOLUTE STATE. The Hebrew -> absolute together with a word in the -> construct state expresses the -> genitive. Do not confuse with the -> infinitive absolute. Heb: king (absolute); horse of (construct) the king (absolute), i.e., the king's horse (genitive). -> Genitive Absolute.
ABSTRACT NOUN. -> Noun.
AB URBE CONDITA. Latin for "from the founding of the city," abbreviated A.U.C. The Romans numbered their years from the founding of Rome. The date of this event, disputed among Roman historians, was established by Varro as 753 B.C. Ex: Herod the Great died in 750 A.U.C. = 4 B.C.
ACCENT/ACCENTUATION. In the biblical languages, a matter of stressed sound or force of utterance. Also a mark used in written Hebrew and Greek to indicate the nature and place of the spoken accent. See Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (Kautzsch-Cowley 2nd ed.), section 15; and Robertson's New Short Grammar of the Greek Testament, sections 86-102.
ACCIDENCE. That part of grammar that treats -> inflection; a subcategory of -> morphology.
ACCUSATIVE CASE. A -> substantive used as the direct object of a -> transitive verb is said to be in the accusative -> case. In Greek, the accusative is the case of extension. Heb: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Gk: "He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
ACRONYM. A word that is formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of the successive parts of a term of more than one word. Ex: BASOR = Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research; Ichthus (Greek, "fish") = Ieous Christos Theou Uios Soter (Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior; the picture of a fish was a common sign among early Christians by which they identified themselves to one another). -> Notarikon.
ACROPHONY. From Greek, "the sound of the initial [letter]." A term used to describe the manner in which letters of the alphabet originated. It is believed that the form of letters originally represented the rude outlines of concrete objects, the names of which began with the -> consonant represented. Heb: aleph, derived from eleph, the old Hebrew word for ox; notice the two horns in the aleph.
ACROSTIC. In Hebrew poetry, an arrangement of successive words or phrases that begin with consecutive letters of the alphabet. There are a number of acrostics in the OT that are lost in translation. Heb: Pss. 111, 112, 119; Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1-4. There are no NT acrostics.
ACTIVE VOICE. In the active -> voice, the -> subject is the doer of the action that is expressed by the verb. Heb: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). Gk: "He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
ADD. Abbreviation of Latin addit or addunt, "it adds" or "they add." Used in a -> critical apparatus to refer to a reading added in a -> manuscript.
ADDAD. A word that possesses mutually contradictory or contrasting meanings. Heb: hadal, "cease" or "continue"; rapa', "weaken" or "heal". Gk: poieo, "give" or "keep"; erchomai, "come" or "go."
AD HOMINEM. Latin, "to the man." An argument that is directed to one's prejudices rather than to one's intellect, or an argument that attacks the opponent rather than his arguments. Gk: the argument of Rom. 3:1-5 concludes, "I am using a human argument"; cf. Matt. 12:27. -> Epidiorthosis.
ADIAPHORA/ADIAPHORISTIC. Greek for "things indifferent." A technical term in Stoic philosophy for things neither good nor evil. In Christian theology, matters not essential to faith, therefore neither required nor forbidden. Ex: the eating of meats sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8:4-13; 10:23-11:1).
ADJECTIVE/ADJECTIVAL. A word, -> phrase, or -> clause used to modify a -> noun or in some cases a -> substantive. In Hebrew and Greek, it agrees with the word modified (-> concord). Heb: "Abraham held a great feast" (Gen. 21:8). Gk: "I am the good shepherd" (John 10:11). Also called -> adnominal.
ADJUNCT. A -> modifier attached to the head of a -> phrase, or a secondary element (such as an -> adjective or -> adverb), that can be removed without the structural identity of the construction being affected. Ex: "I went home today," or "I went home," but not "I went today."
ADJUNCTIVE. The use of a word, usually a -> conjunction, to mean "also," "too." Heb: "She also gave some to her husband" (Gen. 3:6). Gk: "but also you can say to this mountain" (Matt. 21:21).
AD LOC. Abbreviation of Latin ad locum, "at the place." The place in a book referred to, the relevant passage to be consulted.
ADNOMINAL. A term used by some grammarians for -> adjectival; a construction "related to the nominal" on analogy with -> adverbial.
ADONAI, ADONAY. One of the names for God found in the OT; it is translated "Lord." Heb: "O Lord, I have never been eloquent" (Exod. 4:10). -> Yahweh.
ADOPTIONISM. A -> christological heresy of -> Gnosticism, which holds that the human Jesus became divine or was possessed by the divine Christ at the time of His baptism; a form of -> docetism ascribed to Cerinthus in Asia Minor at the end of the first century A.D.
Excerpted from A Student's Dictionary for Biblical and Theological Studies by F.B. Huey Jr. Bruce Corley Copyright © 1984 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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