- Hardcover: 1200 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. (June 1, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 038542583X
- ISBN-13: 978-0385425834
- Product Dimensions: 12 x 8.2 x 17.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 27.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,194,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Anchor Bible Dictionary (6 Volume Set) (v. 1-6)
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Six volume Bible dictionary is arguably the best such work by critical scholarship available.
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The Anchor volumes are far more like the single volume `HarperCollins Bible Dictionary' which is also a misnamed encyclopedia. Whether you purchase the Anchor or the HarperCollins may depend (aside from financial resources) on whether you plan to use the book `on the road', as in a Sunday Bible Study class. Another reason for passing on the Anchor volumes is if you happen to live within walking distance or easy driving distance of a good library, or even a modest library dedicated to Christian study, as you may find in a local church. Every municipal, college, and church library I have seen has a copy of `The Anchor Bible Dictionary'.
To state the obvious, the Anchor clearly has more information in it than HarperCollins, as it is literally six times longer. Among other things, this means that for `Torah', for example, you get a bit over one and a half pages in HarperCollins, while you get eighteen (18) pages, or about nine times as much information, plus a very good bibliography, which is absent from the HarperCollins article. And, for each book of the Bible, you essentially get a thumbnail commentary and outline, probably good enough for most, unless you intend to study that book in detail. This does not mean the HarperCollins has no bibliographies. It does, but it is not with every long article.
On smaller articles, the Anchor also tends to be a bit better than the HarperCollins. I have run across many minor (single occurrence) proper names in the New Testament which are simply not in HarperCollins, but which are in the Anchor. There may not be much to say, but at least you may get an etymology and a proper pronunciation.
I know there are other reputable Bible `encyclopedias' available, but I am fairly sure these two are the best. And, in the end, it may all come down to your wallet. Both are good choices, but the Anchor is unquestionably more complete and better for many purposes.