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4.1 out of 5 stars8
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VINE VOICEon March 9, 2008
This is a very handy little book for anyone interested in biblical studies. It's set up in alphabetical order, from acrostic and advocacy criticism to Walther Zimmerli and zweiquellentheorie, the two source theory. Want to know what 'mashal' means in biblical studies? It's all right here, in an easy to use format. This is especially useful for people who may not be familiar with German terms, for biblical scholarship for centuries has been dominated by German scholars. So if you come across "religionsgeschichtliche schule" it's a mention of the old History of religions theory.

One small caveat: it doesn't include the most modern scholarship.
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on July 17, 2009
It's been said that a lexicographer (someone who writes a dictionary) does not seek praise; rather, she or he merely hopes to avoid criticism. This is because we all have a sense of how a dictionary 'should' be and how it 'should' read: Concise, authoritative, clear, comprehensive... It should have examples, sub sections, word parts - we expect it all to just "be there", nicely laid out and impeccably researched. When it is, we nod. When it isn't, we whine.

Well, this book delivers very well on all counts, so I for one say it deserves praise - because dictionaries that are this well researched and laid out don't just appear! They must take a lot of work, and the evidence is in the punchiness, clarity and authoritative way that the entires here come across. It defines all of the major approaches to biblical scholarship (such as narrative criticism and feminist criticism) and lots of more obscure stuff as well. Many of the entries give a kind of chronology of how each field came about, and how it has developed. Most of the major 'players' in the field (like Gunkel) gets bibliographic entries, as do lots of technical terms - a welcome addition.

This is a very useful book for seminary students, although I imagine it would really 'come into its own' for graduate study such as exegetical dissertations. It's when you really need to 'deploy' the tools yourself that the guides, overviews and 'map points' that this book gives you are really useful.

My criticisms are minor. Some entries (such a Reader-response criticism) acknowledge that they encompass a 'spectrum' of positions, but do not enumerate what the major sub-sections are (eg, performative and dialogical approaches). A small number of Bible translations have brief entries - I reckon a wider range should have been included, or none at all. But these quibbles are minor, and the fold-out diagram at the back is just delicious and makes me really glad I have this book!
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on July 10, 2013
If you are headed on to seminary, this book is an excellent resource to have beside while you're being inundated with an entirely new vocabulary. The authors have covered a vast number of terms and do so succinctly, but often, especially when dealing with critical movements, they give the reader authors and books to continue reading.

So why only four stars? There are certain elements that seem to be missing from the book. For instance, there's entries concerning prophecy and prophets, but no entries concerning the critical reading of the priestly movement. There's an entry for Cult-criticism, but very little concerning the actual points of Cult-criticism (a paragraph and a half).

This book therefore is a good primer, and anyone interested in biblical studies would do well to have it on his or her book shelf. However, it is far from being robust enough to be a source for any kind of research.
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on February 16, 2014
Dr. Richard Soulen was my New Testament Professor when I attended the School of Theology at VUU. This book is still useful in my study of the Old and New Testament. Every serious student of the Bible should own this book. It is easy to use and provides enough information to explain the word you are seeking to define. It is well worth the price. The Soulens have continued to refine this work of scholarship. Geoffrey V. Guns
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on February 20, 2010
Richard N. Soulen and I were classmates at Baker University and it is with great interest that I follow his career and that of his son R. Kendall Soulen.

I came to this book late in my studies because I am more interested in theology than Biblical studies, though one must study the Bible inorder to have a theological thought.

I was captivated by this book. It is able to gather together so much useful information about the way scholars study the bible. Some information I found in seminary but other information has been developed since that time. I have kept this book close at hand and cannot imagine any student of the Bible, scholar or layperson who does not have it at the ready.

A great tool when you need it.

J. Robert Ewbank, author of "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
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on November 10, 2011
A nice reference for anyone wishing to engage in the study of the bible in a deeper and scholarly way.
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on June 1, 2015
I Thought The Book Was More Of A Discussion Forum ; It's More a Dictionary Than Any Thing .
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on July 21, 2015
needed for school
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