HarperCollins Bible Dictionary
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HarperCollins Bible Dictionary [Hardcover]

Paul J. Achtemeier
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For the maps alone, this book is worth it. Following 1,250 pages that describe and explain the people, places, terms, and events of the Bible from Aaron to Zurishaddai, the 16 spectacular maps detail the political entities and boundaries of biblical times, bringing the historic times to vivid life. A fascinating book, an impressive collection of scholarship, and a possession to cherish, the 188 contributors and five editors show what can be produced if you don't cut corners on excellence.

From Library Journal

In the field of biblical studies, the past ten years have seen continuing archaeological discoveries, new trends in biblical criticism, and the release of the full corpus of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Thus, it is entirely fitting that a new edition of a standard Bible dictionary appear. The first edition of The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (under the title Harper's Bible Dictionary, LJ 1/96) was well received by scholars, students, and lay readers. This edition has been expanded and revised, with approximately 25 percent of the material either new or updated. The number of contributors has also increased, from 179 to 193. The work has retained the two-column format, with 16 single-column articles interspersed throughout (including "Art in the Biblical Period," "Jesus Christ," and "The Temple"), and it is well illustrated. Many of the longer articles include a brief bibliography (most of which have been updated from the first edition). Though not a flawless work (e.g., the article "Manasseh" treats only the 14th king of Judah but neither the patriarch nor the tribe of Israel that also bear that name), it is outstanding in terms of scholarship and writing. All biblical studies collections should have this new work (balanced by New Bible Dictionary, InterVarsity, 1996. 3d ed., which represents current evangelical scholarship), even if they already own the previous edition. Browning's (New Testament studies, Cuddleson Coll., Oxford) dictionary is different in several ways. It is the work of one person. Few of the articles are more than a page long (though "Jesus" merits two and a half pages). The only illustrations are four two-page black-and-white maps at the end of the volume, and the bibliography is limited to a one-page select list of titles. The tone of the writing is at times casual, and Browning makes rather blunt statements. For instance, he declares the Bible's report of the number of Israelites who left Egypt in the exodus?600,000 men plus women and children, according to the book of Exodus?"unbelievable." Browning is certainly knowledgeable regarding the Bible and biblical studies, and he offers some interesting observations: "Paul's converts were often on the margin of society...and women were attracted by being valued as persons." A good choice for libraries that need to round out a comprehensive collection.?Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama Lib., Birmingham
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"[This is] a magnificent Bible dictionary...a mine of information for the beginning Biblical student, the seasoned scholar, and the layperson." -- --Biblical Archaeology Review

About the Author

Paul J. Achtemeier is Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. A widely respected authority on the Bible, he is the author or co-author of 14 books, former editor of the quarterly Interpretation, and New Testament editor of the Interpretation Biblical Commentary Series. Professor Achtemeier has also been chief executive officer and president of the Society of Biblical Literature, and president of the Catholic Biblical Association.

The Editorial Board of the revised edition of The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary includes associate editors; Roger S. Boraas, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Religion, Uppsala College; Michael Fishbane, Ph.D., Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Chicago Divinity School; Pheme Perkins, Ph.D., Professor of Theology (New Testament), Boston College; and William O. Walker, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Religion, Trinity University.

The Society of Biblical Literature is a seven-thousand-member international group of experts on the Bible and related fields.

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