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The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, O-Sh: Volume 5

The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, O-Sh: Volume 5

by David Noel Freedman, John David Pleins (Editor), David F. Graf (Editor), Gary A. Herion (Editor)

The most extensive Bible dictionary ever created:

-         The first major Bible dictionary to be published in America in 30 years

-         6 volumes of approximately 1,200 pages each

-         More than 6,000


The most extensive Bible dictionary ever created:

-         The first major Bible dictionary to be published in America in 30 years

-         6 volumes of approximately 1,200 pages each

-         More than 6,000 entries

-         More than 7,000,000 words

-         Nearly 1,000 contributors —all the biggest names from around the world

-         Multicultural and interdisciplinary in scope

-         An unprecedented interfaith exploration of the Bible

-         Illustrated throughout with easy-to-find references

-         Endpaper maps of the Near Eastern world keyed to text for quick location of archaeological and biblical sites

-         Extensively cross-referenced for comprehensive coverage of topics

-         Easy-to-read article and chapter headings for speedy location of material

-         Full bibliographic references following all major entries

Inside you’ll find:

-         Exciting articles on pseudepigraphic and apocryphal texts, Nag Hammadi tractates, and individual dead Sea Scrolls—including the very latest on the most recently published sectarian Dead Sea Scrolls

-         “Minor entries” on personal and place-names that go well beyond the one- or two-sentence descriptions found in other Bible dictionaries

-         Outstanding summaries of the latest research on the historical Jesus

-         Fascinating new articles discussing the growing reappraisal of early Christianity’s relationship with Judaism (was Christianity an “offspring” or “sibling” of rabbinic Judaism?)

-         Many articles illustrating the literary artistry of the biblical text

-         Intriguing discussions of everyday life in Bible lands—including articles that help us to understand health and disease, the role of animals and plants in the ancient ecosystem, and the demographics of human settlement in ancient Palestine

-         A richness of information unequaled in the history of biblical studies

Edited by David Noel Freedman

Editorial Consultants:

            Hans Dieter Betz—Greco-Roman Religin

            James H. Charlesworth—Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha

            Frank More Cross—Old Testament

            William G. Dever—Archaeology

A.     Kirk Grayson—Mesopotamia and Assyriology

Peter  Machinist—Bible and Ancient Near East

Abraham J. Malherbe—New Testament

Birger A. Pearson—Early Christianity

Jack M. Sassoon—Bible and Ancient Near East

William R. Schoedel—Early Christian Literature

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the past 30 years , there have been three major encyclopedic Bible dictionaries published in English: The Interpreter's Bible Dictionary (IBD ), the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible , and The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia ( ISBE ). When it was published in 1962 (with a supplementary volume in 1976), the IBD represented the state of critical Biblical scholarship. The ISBE , though an extensive revision of the previous edition (1929), retained many articles from its predecessors (1915 and 1929). Because of the numerous developments in biblical scholarship during the past three decades, the editor felt (rightly) that it was time for a Bible dictionary that would represent the current state of the discipline. The Anchor Bible Dictionary ( ABD ) is the result of his vision. The ABD is both international and interconfessional, with nearly 1000 contributors from around the world representing Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim traditions (and also those of no religious tradition). The list of contributing scholars includes names long associated with biblical and theological studies. The currency of the dictionary as a whole is reflected especially in the inclusion of such subjects as the Dead Sea Scrolls, early Jewish-Christian relations, the historical Jesus, and sociological and literary methods of biblical criticism (including feminist hermeneutics), and in numerous entries on archaeological sites. In addition, the bibliographies are usually up to date and often extensive. Unlike previous Bible dictionaries, the bibliographic entries in the ABD are complete citations, listed individually rather than in a run-on fashion, and hence easier to use. Even in such a monumental success as the ABD , there are weak spots. One might expect to find pronunciations, especially for place and personal names--which is the case with the IBD and the ISBE --but none are given here. There are few illustrations throughout. The maps are inadequate, and some of the topics are handled clumsily. Yet overall, this is a solid piece of work, well written and well edited. It will serve scholars and students because of its currency and thoroughness and lay readers because of its generally readable style. The ABD deserves a place on the shelves beside the standard Bible dictionaries of previous generations and is recommended for public, academic, and seminary libraries.-- Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
Zom Zoms
"The Anchor Bible Dictionary" ("ABD") represents the most comprehensive collection of scholarly articles on biblical studies since "The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible" ("IDB") (1962; supplementary volume, 1976) and will no doubt be the foremost reference work in its field for many years to come. (See "RBB" [D 1 89] for a review of "IDB" and other reference works on the Bible.) Editor-in-chief Freedman has authored numerous religious works, serves as general editor of the ongoing Anchor Bible Commentary series, and was a consultant on "IDB". Freedman and his coeditors gathered some of the leading biblical scholars in the world to contribute to this work. The six-volume set boasts nearly 1,000 contributors of varying religious and scholastic backgrounds. The 6,200 entries include every proper name mentioned in the Bible, whether person or place; all versions of the Bible; methodologies of biblical scholarship; and "hundreds of entries on various historical and archaeological subjects." The primary focus of "ABD" is on topics before the fourth century A.D The set opens with the list of contributors and an introduction, followed by an eight-page user's guide that clearly spells out the scope of the work and the components of an entry. The editors make clear that this work is aimed at "the educated reader" and that "it assumes that the reader has a general understanding of and interest in modern biblical scholarship." Following this is a 27-page listing of abbreviations, which is reproduced at the front of each volume in the set Each entry in this alphabetically arranged work includes a heading; a qualifying tag (e.g., "person," "place," or a map reference number); a transliteration providing the original biblical form of the word with an indication of whether it is Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, or Latin; any variations on the spelling of the heading; and any derivatives (e.g., "Aaronites" after the heading "Aaron"). The text of entries varies in length, from a single line for letters of the alphabet ("Beta" is simply defined as "the second letter of the Greek alphabet") to just under 75 pages for the entry "Languages". All but single-line entries are signed Articles have up-to-date bibliographies, ranging from a few citations to hundreds. The bibliographies feature the seminal works in the field and greatly enhance the reference value of this set. Many longer entries are subdivided, with each section written by a different scholar and with a separate bibliography. For example, the 47-page entry "Righteousness" is subdivided into four articles: "Old Testament," "Early Judaism," "Greco-Roman World," and "New Testament." Most of the longer entries feature an outline at the beginning that lists the major topics to be covered. Such entries have boldface-type subdivisions throughout the article, making it relatively easy for the reader to scan to an area of interest. It would greatly aid the reader, however, if page numbers were given in the beginning outline The "ABD" is clearly of value to institutions with an interest in religious studies, but it has appeal for a much wider audience as well. Because of its broad scope, historians and those with an interest in classical studies will find it invaluable. The article "Mesopotamia, History of", for example, is 63 pages, with five separate articles. Of course, those interested in biblical scholarship will not be disappointed. Such entries as "Computers and Biblical Studies", "Poststructural Analysis", or "Statistical Research on the Bible" provide excellent overviews of recent techniques It is in the area of archeology that "ABD" is particularly strong, as it takes advantage of the plethora of recent scholarship and excavations in this field. The entry "Jericho", for example, was just over four pages in length in "IBD" but is 18 pages here, four of which are devoted to drawings of plans with another two pages featuring a chronological chart. "David, City of" was barely one page in "IDB" but is more than 16 pages here, boasting a bibliography of more than 100 entries--with more than 30 citations dated from the 1980s. The set also reflects recent scholarship regarding the Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts and the Nag Hammadi codices The paucity of illustrations may be viewed as a possible area of weakness in "ABD", a fact that the editors acknowledge in the user's guide, stating that considerations of space and costs resulted in providing only those illustrations "essential to the comprehension of our articles." All illustrations are black and white, with the majority appearing within the archeological articles. Presently, an index to the set is lacking; it is scheduled to be published in the summer of 1993. Cross-references within articles are noted in small capital letters. Nevertheless, an index will certainly be a welcome addition, as the work is arranged primarily by broad topic rather than specific entry. Virtually every entry for an animal, for example, has a "see" reference to the 57-page article "Zoology", with no indication of on what page within that article the given animal appears "ABD" should be considered for purchase by every public and academic library, regardless of size. It is the finest collection of articles available in one place on a topic of wide appeal. Just as appealing is its price; at $360 for six volumes, this work constitutes a real bargain. The introduction states that "every generation needs its own Dictionary of the Bible." The editors have admirably fulfilled this task.

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Yale University Press
Publication date:
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
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7.38(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

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