Lexical Fallacies by Linguists

Daniel B. Wallace

Ever since James Barr’s Semantics of Biblical Language, originally published in 1961, introduced students of the Bible to the fascinating field of linguistics, the world of biblical studies has not been the same. Barr took his cues from linguists such as Ferdinand de Saussure, whose 1916 work Cours de linguistiquegénérale (translated as Course in General Linguistics), marked a milestone in lexical studies.

Some of the lexical fallacies pointed out by these scholars, and numerous others after them, include the following:

  • Root fallacy: assigning the (supposed) original meaning of a word to its usages throughout history;
  • Diachronic priority: like the etymological or root fallacy, this looks at usage throughout the history of a word as though all such uses are still in vogue at any given slice of history (synchronic view);
  • Illegitimate totality transfer: assumes that all the uses that occur at a given time…

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About James Ross Kelly

Posts are meant to share an aspect of the universal Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. James Kelly is a Christian seeking the Mercy of God (i.e., His Goodness and Loving Kindness) and daily more of the Grace of His Holy Spirit. Posts of other authors are meant for review of salient points made by said authors and are credited and meant to share light with others and encourage others to read their works, and when possible, by providing links to where their works may be purchased.
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