Accordance Blog
Sep 6, 2012 David Lang

IVP OT Dictionaries: A Personal Recommendation

IVP-PentateuchCover-sm When we first released the IVP Dictionary of the OT: Pentateuch and IVP Dictionary of the OT: Historical Books in May of this year, I blogged about how useful they are and how excited we were to be able to offer them. Since then, I've found myself turning to these dictionaries more and more in my own research, and I just wanted to offer a quick personal recommendation.

As I've been writing about various aspects of Old Testament narratives—worship practices, pagan religion, daily life, etc.—I've been looking up subjects that are not always easy to get clear information about. Many of these things are shrouded in mystery or clouded in the uncertainty of scholarly debate. General Bible dictionaries tend to focus on what we know for certain, which means they often lack the depth or detail I'm looking for. The larger, more encyclopedic dictionaries offer greater depth and detail, but even the most recent are typically several decades old. If I'm dealing with something that is still being debated or reevaluated in the light on ongoing discoveries, I want the most recent information I can get.

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That's where the IVP Old Testament dictionaries have proven really helpful. When I look up Canaan or Baal, for example, I find a concise summary of more recent discoveries and what they mean for the current state of the discussion. It's detailed enough that I feel I can understand and evaluate various arguments, yet concise enough that I don't get bogged down in the scholarly minutiae.

In short, I've been extremely impressed with how helpful these dictionaries are. If you're preaching or teaching through the Pentateuch or Historical Books and you want solid information about the people, places, events, and practices they mention, do yourself a favor and pick up these two dictionaries.


 

May 10, 2012 David Lang

Three New IVP Dictionaries Available

I'm pleased to announce the release of three new Bible Dictionaries from InterVarsity Press: the Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, and Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books. Each of these ground-breaking dictionaries weighs in at around 1000 pages in print, so carrying all three around would be an exercise in body-building! Loading the Accordance editions on your laptop or iPhone won't do nearly as much for your biceps, but you'll be much more likely to have them available when you need them!

IVP-MajorInterpretersCover-sm The Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters introduces you to the principal players in the history of Biblical interpretation, their historical and intellectual contexts, their primary works, their interpretive principles and their broader historical significance. Many of the differences between religious traditions, academic schools of thought, and leading theologians are rooted in the assumptions and interpretive methods these people bring to the Bible. This helpful dictionary enables you to appreciate where these major interpreters were coming from so that you can better understand their conclusions.

The two volumes of the Dictionary of the Old Testament follow the same award-winning formula as IVP’s highly regarded New Testament dictionaries (which have long been available in our IVP Essential Reference Collection). They present you with an accessible summary of current scholarship in the “Pentateuch” (the first five books of the Bible) and the “Historical Books” (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah). If you've already used IVP's New Testament dictionaries, you already know how useful these Old Testament volumes will prove to be. The wealth of New Testament commentaries and dictionaries make it relatively easy for us to interact with the current state of New Testament scholarship, but when we're studying or preaching through books of the Hebrew Bible it can be much more difficult to find information which is not already out of date. This series of dictionaries fills a much-needed void.IVP-PentateuchCover-sm

For example, I recently read Psalm 110, a Messianic psalm which mentions the priesthood of Melchizedek, an enigmatic figure mentioned in Genesis 14. Psalm 110's mention of Melchizedek later gets used by the author of Hebrews to argue that the priesthood of Christ is greater than that of the levitical priesthood. Since many New Testament dictionaries and commentaries seem to read the Genesis passage through the lens of these later passages, I was curious to see how a dictionary specifically focused on the Pentateuch would approach the subject of Melchizedek. The article on Melchizedek in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch discusses each aspect of the Genesis description of Melchizedek, then examines how that passage had come to be associated with messianic expectations. It concludes by setting those later interpretations aside to consider the meaning of this passage in its original context of the narratives about Abraham. From there, I decided to see if this dictionary had an article on "Messiah" which specifically focused on messianic expectations in the Pentateuch. I was not disappointed.

Now through May 24, you can get all three of these dictionaries for a special bundle price of just $99.99. Once you've purchased them, they can be downloaded immediately through Easy Install.