Call Number (3 vols): PJ5491 .P39 2007
ISBN: 9781593335533 1593335539
Robert Payne Smith published the largest Syriac Lexicon of the 19th Century. It was originally published in 1879 by Claredon Press.
His lexicon is based on the unpublished collections of many European colleagues who passed away, as well as major medieval Lexica. For this reason, each entry is bibliographically rich. Smith exceeds other lexica especially in the areas of proper names and idioms. The glosses of the lexicon are in Latin, but short enough that a translation tool would compensate for lack of facility in Latin.
Upon release of the first fascile, Paul de Legarde unleashed severe criticism towards Smith's work. There was not yet any critical editions of many of the Syriac mss., including the Peshitta. De Legarde also accuses Smith of misreading his medieval sources on account of his lacking in knowledge of Arabic and Iranian dialects, which represents the original cultures within which those sources circulated. By the time of the final fascile, however, Smith enlisted the editorial assistance of renown Arabicist William Wright.
Jessie Payne Smith (Mrs. Margoliouth) is the daughter of Robert Payne Smith. Upon his death in 1895, J.P. Smith sought to publish an abridgment of her father's work in English.
Due to its accessibility, this dictionary is most widely used by students of Syriac. There are, however, a few caveats to keep in mind. Citations are not provided for the entries. Thus, if one wants to know where to look up a given word in context, recourse must be made to her father's work. Also, there are words in the Syriac Bible not included in this dictionary.
The second edition of Carl Brockelmann's Lexicon Syriacum appeared in 1928. Words not found in either of the Smith dictionaries, such as rare words and many Biblical words, are found this work. The second edition includes material not available to Brockelmann during preparation for his first edition.
The dictionary is organized according to roots. All glosses are given in latin. References given are not quoted, thus making the glosses difficult to place. Also, some abbreviations used in the body are not spelled out in the list of abbreviations.
Although more reliables than the Smiths' volumes, Michael Sokloff in his translation, update and expansion volume notes that these and other difficulties in Brockelmann's work prompt users to turn to J.P. Smith's dictionary; Sokloff even says that scholars only cite Brockelmann as "a demonstration of their scientific acumen" (pg. xii, n. 29).
After Brockelmann's dictionary, new advances in Semitic studies in general, and newly formed critical editions of Syriac texts in particular, necessitated the need for an up-to-date dictionary. Such a task, however, would take decades. Thus, 81 years later Dr. Michael Sokoloff decided to translate, expand, update, and correct Brockelmann's work.
The translation of Latin glosses alone makes this work welcome. Sokloff, however, did not confine himself to a translation alone. He has added additional English glosses. Also, references are now quoted in full along with updated editions of certain texts which makes them easier to find in modern libraries. Finally, Sokoloff made sure all abbreviations were included in the list of abbreviations at the beginning. The comparative Semitic data in Brockelmann's edition was replaced with insights into other Aramaic dialects, mostly due to time limitations in revising the comparative Semitic material.
Keep in mind, however, that Sokoloff is not claiming an up-to-date lexicon and is still largely dependent on Brockelmann.
Taken from the website: "The Syriac Electronic Data Research Archive (SEDRA) is a linguistic and literary database of the Syriac language and literature. Its acronym derives from Syriac word ܣܕܪܐ sedrā whose meanings include 'array', 'series' as well as 'order' and 'rank', all of which are terms that are associated with database theory."
SEDRA is a tremendous resource. The dictionary search function not only retrieves entries from all the major lexica, but an actual photograph of the paper entry accompanies the digital one. As of 1/23/2018 SEDRA has 3228 roots, 32795 lexemes, and 59160 words.
SEDRA also contains a paradigm function whereby the full paradigm for any verbal root. Moreover, morphemes specific to the conjugation are set off in a different color.
Dukhrana began as a site which accessed the database of earlier versions of SEDRA. It has since evolved in its own right.
Dukhrana, like SEDRA, includes the ability to retrieve photographs of pages of all the major lexica. Its advantage lies mainly in the fact that it is more focused on the Peshitta. Entries typed into its Analytical Lexicon of the New Testament retrieves (1) photographs of the entry in all the major lexica, (2) morphological information, and (3) a widget of the entry in the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon, all in one window. Additionally, Dukhrana provides the ability to search the lexica via English glosses.