The preface of volume one states
The Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (EDNT) is a translation of the Exegetisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (EWNT) and seeks to meet a broad range of needs of the student, pastor, and scholar. It is a complete English dictionary of New Testament Greek that includes definitions of every word appearing in the New Testament, a guide to the usage in different New Testament literary and theological contexts of every significant New Testament word, a systematic summation of the results of recent exegetical study of the New Testament, and a valuable source of bibliographical data for New Testament exegesis and theology.
The three volumes which comprise the dictionary were published in 1990 by Eerdmans and in spite of the fact that it is now over 20 years old it remains an absolutely invaluable resource. Logos has an electronic edition which replicates the print edition and which is, consequently, extremely easy to search and utilize.
The Preface to volume three specifies the intention of the edition-
EDNT is not a “theological dictionary,” but proceeds rather from an “exegesis” of the words in their contexts, it is certainly no less theologically oriented. But unlike the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, it covers all the words of the Greek New Testament (including the most important textual variants) and all proper names. And comparison with other dictionaries treating the entire New Testament vocabulary throws the theological orientation of EDNT into sharp relief: Wherever it has been appropriate, key words are treated in the context of individual writings or groups of writings. In this way the contours of the different New Testament “theologies” can be seen clearly.
It is- for that reason – more complete than the three volume edition of Spicq and in many ways more useful than TDNT (which in too many instances manifests incredibly outdated lexical material as well as ideologically driven entries).
Searches, as I suggested, are simplified in the electronic edition. Here’s a screenshot of the table of contents with the page open to the entry on αμαρτια:
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Here’s a sample entry:
ἰδιώτης, ου, ὁ idiōtēs layperson, uneducated person
Lit.: BILLERBECK III, 454–56. — H. SCHLIER, TDNT III, 215–17. — SPICQ, Notes I, 384–86.
1. In Greek usage ἰδιώτης means both “private person” in contrast to public officials, and “stranger” in contrast to members of the group or local persons. Although the word does not appear in the LXX, it was taken over as a loanword with the same meaning in the rabbinic literature: heḏeyôṭ can thus designate a human being in contrast to the deity. The meaning is determined concretely by its context or by the contrast that is made. In the NT the Greek word appears 5 times, of which 3 are in 1 Corinthians 14 (vv. 16, 23, and 24).
2. In Acts 4:13 the apostles are called ἄνθρωποι ἀγράμματοι καὶ ἰδιῶται (Hippolytus Philos. ix.11.1 uses the same phrase): they are uneducated and are not scribes. Similarly, Paul calls himself ἰδιώτης τῷ λόγῳ in 2 Cor 11:6. His intent is not to describe himself as generally uneducated, but rather to emphasize οὐ τῇ γνώσει. Thus the phrase is to be translated “unversed in speaking” (cf. Hippolytus Philos. viii.18: ἰδιῶται τὴν γνῶσιν; similarly Justin Apol. i.39.3; in 60.11 parallel to βάρβαροι).
In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul uses the term in reference to untranslated glossolalia. It is disputed whether Paul is concerned about the church member who is incapable of glossolalia or the non-Christian outsider. In v. 16 ὁ ἀναπληρῶν τὸν τόπον τοῦ ἰδιώτου might refer to a church member whose status (cf. τόπον in Acts 1:25) leaves him ignorant of glossolalia. The meaning in 14:23 is also ambiguous: “When the whole church assembles and all speak in tongues, εἰσέλθωσιν δὲ ἰδιῶται ἢ ἄπιστοι, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, εἰσέλθῃ δέ τις ἄπιστος ἢ ἰδιώτης, he is convicted by all.” Schlier (217) and Conzelmann (1 Cor [Hermeneia] 243) see no distinction between ἄπιστος and ἰδιώτης, while BAGD (s.v. 2), referring to the t.t. of religious associations, understands ἰδιώτης as a type of proselyte, a participant who is not fully a member. The parallel to βάρβαρος in Justin [see above] is also present in 1 Cor 14:11.
What’s of interest here, and in all the entries included in the dictionary is the combination of thoroughness of treatment and perspicuity of presentation. Also quite valuable indeed are the bibliographic materials which preface each entry.
Again, using the electronic edition as our example, if someone wished to find, for instance, all of the bibliographic mentions of Rudolf Karl Bultmann one could do so with haste:
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Naturally one can use the search function for Greek words or English as well. This comes in handy should one wish to look up the name ‘Saul’ in order to verify the claim of Ben Witherington III that Saul was named Paul because “Saulos has connotations of how a prostitute walks” (by which I suppose he means that Saulos has connotations with how prostitutes perambulate). I’ve never heard such a reason given and it really makes no sense at all. So I wanted to check. EDNT knows no such usage:
Σαῦλος, ου Saulos Saul
Σαούλ Saoul Saul*
Lit.: H. J. CADBURY, The Book of Acts in History (1955) 69ff. — H. CONZELMANN, Acts (Hermeneia), on 13:9. — E. HAENCHEN, Acts (Eng. tr., 1971), on 13:9. — G. A. HARRER, “Saul who also is called Paul,” HTR 33 (1940) 19–34. — K. LÖNING, Die Saulustradition in der Apostelgeschichte (NTAbh 9, 1973). — For further bibliography → Παῦλος.
1. Paul is mentioned by his Jewish name (Heb. šā’ûl) 22 times in the NT, all in Acts. 15 times the Grecized form Σαῦλος appears (all between Acts 7:58 and 13:9). 8 times the indeclinable form Σαούλ appears (all voc. and all in narrative of his conversion: 9:4 bis, 17; 22:7 bis, 13; 26:14 bis; in 26:14 with Ἑβραῒς διάλεκτος) and is to be understood as a literary archaism. Acts 13:21 mentions the first Israelite king Σαούλ, son of Kish (cf. 1 Sam 9ff.; 1 Chr 8:33; 10:1ff.; 1 Macc 4:30; 1 Clem. 4:13) and attributes to him a reign of forty years (as does Josephus Ant. vi.378; according to x.143 only twenty years).
2. The Grecized form of the name (Σαῦλος) was common in the Hellenistic age (several occurrences in Josephus) and might have been given to Paul by his parents (→ Παῦλος 2). In general Luke’s narrative first uses this form (and in Acts 22:7 D; 26:14 v.l. it replaces the archaizing form) since it would be more accessible to the Hellenistic reader (7:58; 8:1, 3; 9:1, 8, 11, 22, 24; 11:25, 30; 12:25; 13:1, 2, 7, 9; but P45 always has Σαούλ: see Harrer 24f.). Esp. the archaizing form reveals the Lukan intention of introducing Paul as a good Jew and in this way corresponds to the broader Lukan portrait of Paul.
But from Acts 13:9 (Σαῦλος δέ, ὁ καὶ Παῦλος) on Saul is referred to in narrative by his Roman name. One may assume (with Harrer) that Paul also carried the similar-sounding Roman name (perhaps as a cognomen in addition to the Jewish name as signum or supernomen) from birth (cf. his Roman citizenship: 22:28). Nonetheless, a literary agenda stands behind the change in Acts 13:9: The excellent Jew Saul becomes Paul, the missionary to the Gentiles! This agenda is cleverly worked into an episode telling about a Roman official with this name (→ Σέργιος Παῦλος; the change is not, however, to be associated with the name of the Roman proconsul; cf. Haenchen).
Can the name Saul ever have been present in pre-Lukan tradition? The only possibilities would be the baptism story in Acts 9 (according to Löning) and the reports in Acts 11:30 (the collection) and 13:1 (the list of coworkers). In the second and third of these Paul is already mentioned as an Antiochian coworker in the service of a Hellenistic mission community. The baptism story, too, as the report of the conversion of a great man, was probably related only on the basis of more extensive successes. As his letters attest, Paul was probably known only by his Roman name (→ Παῦλος 1, 2), so that one should reject the possibility of a genuine Saul tradition. In a skillful literary manner Luke has woven his own personal knowledge into the form of an illuminating and convincing portrayal.
Where, then, did Witherington get this weird idea? Apparently from someone named David Capes, who makes the suggestion on his blog without so much as a single citation or source. So, Witherington has simply adopted an unsubstantiated claim because, apparently, it sounds sensible. But do remember, because words sound like something doesn’t mean they mean something! In order to make such a statement Witherington, and Capes, need to offer some proof. Such proof is absent the better Dictionaries.
So much, then, for bizarre claims- claims easily put to rest by use of an excellent Dictionary. And that, good readers, is exactly what we have in the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. Making use of such resources rescues one from the perils of making claims without substance.
If you want to avoid inaccurate exegesis, use a good exegetical dictionary. Use THIS exegetical dictionary, either in its print form or in the electronic format. Whatever you do, though, do use it.