The New Interpreter’s® Dictionary of the Bible (in five volumes) provides the best quality in contemporary biblical scholarship on a comprehensive range of topics from the Old and New Testaments, the Deuterocanonical books, and from contextual studies of the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman worlds and their literatures. The dictionary contains maps, charts, and illustrations to further clarify the written material. The biblical text used is the NRSV translation.
In keeping with the tradition of the New Interpreter’s® Bible brand, the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible aims to fulfill the promise of a standard already set for reliable, accurate, insightful, and highest quality biblical scholarship in service of the congregation. It is our hope that readers will come to associate the dictionary with thoroughness, comprehensiveness, and ease of use: find it here; find it now.
A diverse group of 900 scholars from 40 countries have contributed 7100 fresh new articles with 8400 entries including persons, places, things, theological concepts, and much more. These contributors were selected by the editorial board for their expertise in their field and for the quality of their scholarship in publication. Special care was taken to select authors who could provide a variety of perspectives from different theological traditions (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish), diverse theological trajectory (conservative and liberal), and from the social locations of gender, ethnicity, and race.
With inclusivity comes a certain amount of exclusivity: the contributors are instructed to keep in mind a particular audience – the congregation. With every dictionary entry, authors seek to define their topics in such a way that the entries will be relevant and useful to pastors, rabbis,preachers, teachers, and students in preparing to serve the congregation in a variety of ways. Thus the dictionary tries to balance the best in contemporary scholarship with the perceived needs of the congregation. Theological content and thorough discussion of various interpretations is tailored for congregational use.
Topics are listed in alphabetical order from A-Z and evenly divided among the five volumes. The main entry (in bold) includes a pronunciation guide. Hebrew and Greek origins of the entry follow, with transliteration. Longer articles contain an introduction that summarizes the topic and include a helpful outline to guide the reader. Articles conclude with a short bibliography and cross references to related articles. In each definition, authors strive to incorporate as many biblical instances of the term as possible in the given amount of space, and to discuss the theological, social, or ecclesial implications of the topic, so that the definitions are practical aids to the tasks of preaching, teaching, and study of the Bible.
Readers who are trained in ancient languages will appreciate the discussion of Hebrew and Greek terms, while at the same time, readers who are not familiar with Hebrew or Greek should not have difficulty following the articles, because transliteration and complete definitions are used throughout. The editorial board elected to use the Society of Biblical Literature Handbook of Style as a guide and determined that the Hebrew would be transliterated in the Handbook’s general-purpose style for ease of use by readers without formal training in the ancient languages.
With the burgeoning use of the internet as a source of information, the unfortunate result can be scattered and uneven coverage of a given topic from unknown and unreliable sources. This dictionary seeks to provide a trusted resource containing comprehensive information based on widely accepted critical tools about a wide variety of topics – all in one place – with cross references to related materials and a searchable CD, so that long and frustrating web searches with unreliable results will no longer be necessary.
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