- Lexicon Gregorianum, Wörterbuch zu den Schriften Gregors yon Nyssa
Werner Jaeger, Hermann Langerbeck, and Heinrich Dörrie, the previous editors of the critical edition of the Gregorii Nysseni Opera (GNO), all thought of a dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa's writings, conceived along lines similar to those of G. Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament and C. Mayer's Augustinus-Lexikon. The Forschungsstelle Gregor yon Nyssa at the Westfälische Wilhelms University in Münster became the place for this enterprise, most recently under the direction of Wolf-Dieter Hauschild, who is also the head of the Seminar für alte Kirchengeschichte at the same university. As Hauschild tells us in the foreword to the first volume of the Lexicon, shortly after Dörrie's death in 1983, the Forschungsstelle was confronted with two problems which seriously affected the feasibility of the project: financial cuts and the absence of a number of volumes from the GNO. At the time of the publication of the Lexicon volumes reviewed here, GNO III/3 and 5 (De anima et resurrectione and Epistula canonica) and IV/1 and 2 (Apologia in Hexaemeron and De hominis opificio) still awaited publication; accordingly, older critical editions were used in those cases. Faced with these difficulties, the researchers at the Forschungsstelle [End Page 531] adopted a compromise solution: the projected Lexicon should be a combination of index, concordance, and dictionary. Friedhelm Mann, a research associate at the Forschungsstelle, was the designated editor. Over the years, his efforts to bring such an ambitious project to completion have been supported by other scholars, all of whom are duly acknowledged in the foreword.
Projected in seven volumes, with the last one expected to appear in 2004, the Lexicon is the impressive result of more than three decades of dedicated scholarly research at the Forschungsstelle. In the introduction to the first volume, Mann explains how the Lexicon was produced, how it is to be used, and what it is meant to be. Like a word index, the Lexicon includes and explains all the occurrences of individual lemmata. Like a concordance, it tries to illustrate the use of individual lemmata where they are found. Variant readings mentioned in the critical edition of Gregory's own writings are also included in many cases. Yet, far from being a mere word list, this reference work documents Gregory's complete vocabulary, taking account of the syntax, meaning, and connotations of every occurrence of a key word in his writings. It is meant to serve as a philological, historical, philosophical, and theological tool.
The complete Lexicon will comprise more than thirteen thousand entries (common words such as prepositions and pronouns are obviously omitted). Each volume will consist of approximately six hundred three-column pages. Sixty works by Gregory of Nyssa have been scoured. They are easily identifiable in the lemmata by numbers, the key for which is in the introductory section and on a loose page inserted in each volume for handy referencing. A notable absence in the list of works is Basil of Caesarea's famous Epistle 38 on the difference between ousia and hypostasis, a work which an increasing number of scholars attribute to Gregory of Nyssa today-a conclusion obviously shared by neither today's editors of the GNO nor the present Lexicon editor.
A concept of interest for patristic scholars and theologians is, for example, . Occurring 2,251 times in Gregory's works, is dealt with on forty-two pages in the first volume of the Lexicon. The entry is divided into two main parts. First, as in an index, an overview is provided of the meanings of and Gregory's use of it in a formal (especially grammatical) way. Second, the occurrences of are arranged from the point of view of the subject matter, i.e., an overview of important themes connected with , whose occurrences are presented in the context in which they are used. Another example of a major entry is , which is...