A useful companion for scholars, students, and anyone seeking to learn more about the Bible, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible presents a comprehensive critical approach to reading and studying that is detailed and easy to use. Replete with 134 illustrations, 16 color maps, and nearly 5,000 alphabetically ordered articles compiled from 600 sources, this reference offers an excellent core of up-to-date knowledge. The density of each entry is impressive; explanations of historical questions, canonical criticism, and cultural settings are rich and informative. The length of each entry is proportional to the subject. For example, the entry for Dead Sea Scrolls comprises four small-print pages and explores matters such as the discovery, physical description, biblical context, and relation to Judaism, while the definition for Consecrate is nicely contained within one sentence. While most Bible concordances exhaust definitions and descriptions, this single-volume dictionary is intended as a practical "rapid-response reference work" for reading and studying the Bible. Nevertheless, it supplies ample information regarding books (including Apocryphal), persons, places, events, and definitions in a succinct manner. The text is based on the New Revised Standard Bible except where otherwise noted, and bibliographical sources are peppered throughout. --Jacque Holthusen
From Library Journal
With this new dictionary (EDB), Freedman (Hebrew biblical studies, Univ. of California, San Diego) repeats the success of his Anchor Bible Dictionary (ABD) on a smaller scale. Like the ABD, this one-volume dictionary includes contributions from an international, interconfessional team of nearly 600 established and up-and-coming scholars. Around 5000 articles treat the books of the Bible (including the Apocrypha, or Deuterocanonicals) and the persons, places, and many of the significant terms found in them. There are also entries for related subjects, such as noncanonical writings and terms one will encounter in the secondary literature (for example, "Elohist" and "Hebrew, Biblical"). In fact, though it is less detailed, this work covers much the same ground as the ABD. It far surpasses such comparable works as The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (LJ 2/15/97) and New Bible Dictionary (InterVarsity, 1996. 3d ed.) in the number of contributors and of articles, and it ranges more broadly across the theological spectrum. Up-to-date, comprehensive, and well written, the EDB is highly recommended. However, because Freedman only partially achieves his goal of providing "balanced discussions reflecting different viewpoints," it should join the aforementioned dictionaries rather than supplant them.ACraig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Birmingham
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