Sunday, February 15, 2009

Vine's Expository Dictionary of the New Testament

Browsing through this little number, I keep hitting problems.

Perhaps it is the expository part. Perhaps it's the weak theology of the author's brethren (open) background; but I'm starting to think the "Expository" part of Vine's is not one of its best features, as it seems he eisegetes1 his own meanings into some of the text too very often, and that it is more an enthusiastic approach to definitions than scholarly rigor.

Thus I would only approach using this resource very, very critically, using his definitions critically. (Repetition intended.) One example is the use of "predestined", where the author reads "middle knowledge" (scientia media) into the term, saying that God sees beforehand whether a believer will or will not believe, and yet I distinctly remember some very honest, rigorous, Arminian scholars saying (or perhaps I mis-remember and it was just non-Calvinist ones; I realize I need to re-dig-up those sources), as do Calvinists, that this is NOT the way the word is ever used in Greek (and other scholars concur). There are also passages that explicitly discount this theory, despite its popularity and currency among Arminians and philosophizing [neo]evangelicals.

I am, therefore, wholly removing the link to the resource and just leaving-up this warning page, not because I don't appreciate the work, not solely for Arminian or -like tendencies, but because it seems each time I page through it that I find inaccuracies, I don't know how truly helpful it is to someone if they're not either studying Greek, or very familiar (read, practiced) with critical use of lexicons, concordances, commentaries, etc.; normally caveatted works are said to be "for scholars then", yet Scholars, believing scholars, don't really seem to give this work much stock, so far as I know; the trouble with telling people "read critically" is that to do so requires the background and experience in the matter to be read which the general populace will not know, and which would make a popularly aimed like "Vine's..." perhaps useless anyways. Thus, as I said I would, the link is stricken.

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