Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, I attended the Society of Biblical Literature meeting held in Baltimore. I gave a paper for the Biblical Lexicography section entitled: “Greek Words and Roman Meanings: (Re)mapping Righteousness Language in Greco-Roman Discourse as a Prolegomenon to Paul.” The paper summarized the work I have done to remap the definitions for δικαιοσύνη, δίκαιος, and δικαιόω according to their Κοινή or “common” every day use in Greco-Roman discourse. The problem with BDAG and other lexicons like it is their dependence on Septuagintal uses for defining the δικ(αιο)- word group. Letting the LXX define major semantic classifications is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. First we should examine how the words are commonly understood in the everyday discourse of the 1st century Mediterranean world. Then we examine how Paul might modify the definitions by quoting the Septuagint and its dependence on the Hebrew correlatives tsedek/tsedekah to define what the Greek words mean. So the Greco-Roman usages become the baseline for evaluating the likelihood of an echo.

The more unique the definition, or in other words, the further away Paul’s specialized usage of  δικ(αιο)- lexemes is from their “normal” Κοινή use, the greater burden is placed on the exegete that the OT echo does indeed extend the normal meanings of Greek words in that direction.

This is not to say that the LXX is not important to the understanding of Paul’s soteriological terms in his letters. Paul likely uses Septuagintal echoes in his letters to redefine the meaning of the δικ(αιο)- word group. However, these definitions are specialized and should not constitute a major semantic classification. 

Here’s a sample of what I did with δίκαιος . The left column are the definitions in my alternative lexicon based on Κοινή usages. The right column are the entries of BDAG. The full study will be published in the form of two essays in the forthcoming Festschrift for Dr. Seyoon Kim: Fire in My Soul: Essays on Pauline Soteriology and the Gospels in Honor of Seyoon Kim (eds. Soon Bong Choi, Jin Ki Hwang, and Max J. Lee; Wipf&Stock, Mar/April 2014).

(A1): in accordance with the expectations, customs or decorum of the community; right, fitting, appropriate, customary[1]
(A2): in accordance to the rules or civic laws which govern society; just, equitable, fair, lawful[2]
(A2.1; as a substantive): the right to do something as guaranteed by law or custom; legal license or civic liberty; right, freedom[3]
(A2.2; as a substantive): punitive action; punishment[4]
(A3): in accordance to moral integrity; righteous, upright, honest[5]
(A4): judged in the right; justified[6]
unattested [[(A4.1): judged innocent; acquitted; innocent; free]][7]
(1) pertaining to being in accordance with high standards or rectitude, upright, just, fair
(a) of humans
(α) In Gr-Rom. tradition a δίκαιος person upholds the customs and norms of behavior . . . In keeping with OT tradition . . . δίκαιος like tsaddiq = conforming to the laws of God and people
(β) of things relating to human beings . . . αἷμα δικαίου (Jo 4:19; La 4:13 = Pr 6:17 αἷμα δικαίον) blood of an upright, or better, an innocent man
(b) of transcendent beings
(α) God and deities are just or fair in their judgments
(β) of Jesus who, as the ideal of an upright person, is called simply δίκαιος the upright one
(2) obligatory in view of certain requirements of justice, right, fair, equitable

* Prototypical definitions are render in blue. Particularly juridicial or forensic use (marked) is rendered in purple. Unattested, rare, or highly specialized usages are rendered in red. Definitions are ranked from unmarkedness to markedness. The lower digit categories (1, 2, etc.) signify the lexeme’s unmarked meaning(s) that are the least context dependent, while the higher digit categories (3, 4, etc.) indicate increasing semantic markedness. Subcategories (2.1, 2.2, etc.) represent specialized or marked uses of the lexeme regardless of ranking. English glosses (or what Danker calls “formal equivalents”) are distinguished from the definitions by rendering the gloss in italics.
[1] See Homer, Od. 6.120–21; 9.172–76; 13.209–12; 14.89–92. The social meaning of δίκαιος during the Hellenistic and Greco-Roman eras is well-attested, and here I depend mostly on the citations listed in Spicq, “δίκαιος, κτλ.” 320–21; BAGD, s.v. δίκαιος, 246–47; Schrenk, “δίκη, δίκαιος, δικαιοσύνη, κτλ.,” 182–85; Olley, Righteousness in the Septuagint of Isaiah, 32–43; Hill, Greek Words and Hebrew Meanings, 99–100; Ziesler, The Meaning of Righteousness, 48–51; Reumann, “Righteousness: Greco-Roman World,” 743.
[2] Aristotle, EN1129a6–9; 1129a34–1129b1; Demosthenes, Or. 3.21; Thucydides, Hist. 2.71.2; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 5.71.1; 12.45.1; 19.85.4; 40.11.1–2; 49.12.1; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. rom. 10.2.
[3] UPZ II 16 col. 7 lines 22–27; P. Oxy. VI, 905.9.
[4] Dio Cassius, Roman History 40.19.2; 54.19.2; Josephus, Ant. 14.288; 15.213.
[5] Herodotus, Hist. 1.96; Epictetus, Diss. 3.14.13–14; Fr. 14; Fr. 28b; Musonius Rufus, Fr. 16 (= Lutz, p. 104, line 33).
[6] Demosthenes, Or. 44.4; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. rom. 10.2. Cf. Aristotle, EN1137a10–12 (ἄδικος κρίσις ἐστίν).
[7] The double brackets [[ ]] signify that definition of δίκαιος as “acquitted,” “innocent,” or “free” is unattested in Greco-Roman discourse. If found in Paul’s letters, this semantic classification denotes a unique Pauline use atypical of its κοινή usage during the early imperial period of Rome. However, the substantive use of δίκαιος as “punishment” is attested, though rare (see above def. A2.2). The denotation of the verb δικαιόω as “punish / penalize” is much more frequent and well attested (see below def. V3.2).