Rev. Frederick William Danker (1920–2012)
The world lost one of its most noted lexicographers earlier this month with the passing of Rev. Frederick William Danker. A scholar of the New Testament and the Greek tragedians, a prolific author, a much-admired teacher, and perhaps the foremost expert on the early Christian use of the ancient Greek language, Danker died following complications from a fall.
His crowning achievement, the Third Edition of Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (2000), for which he served as editor, totaled almost 1,100 pages and contained more than 5,500 ancient Greek words and 25,000 additional references to classical, Early Christian, and modern literature.
A graduate of Concordia Seminary and the University of Chicago, Danker (along with his older brother William) was among 45 faculty members fired from Concordia in 1974, for the “liberal” bent of their teachings. Following this, Danker cofounded Seminex, the Concordia Seminary in Exile, before later closing his academic career at the Luthern School of Theology, and committing to work (“12 years working 14-hour days”) on the Lexicon, and its later abbreviated version, the Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (2009). Danker’s contributions included incorporating new archeological findings that shed new light on the meanings of early Christian writers.
More information about Danker, his life, and works can be found in remembrances by the Lutheran School of Theology and St. Louis Today.