Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 43:4 (Dec 2000)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. Edited by David J. A. Clines. 8 vols. projected. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993-. Vol. 1—aleph: 475 pp., $123.50; vol. 2—beth-waw: 660 pp., $123.50; vol. 3—zayin-tet: 424 pp., $150.00; vol. 4—yod-lamed: 642 pp., $150.00.

The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (DCH) under the general editorship of David J. A. Clines is by now no stranger to Hebrew lexicographers and OT scholars alike. The work has been steadily appearing since 1993 with four of a projected eight volumes presently available, covering the letters aleph to lamed. No less than 35 separate reviews of the dictionary have appeared, including a major review by F. I. Andersen with a response by Clines and further response by Andersen (AusBR 43 [1995]: 50-71). Also among these are five reviewers who have made additional comments as further volumes of the Dictionary have appeared. The Dictionary has been variously praised as a “truly momentous event” and the end of a “hundred year famine since BDB in the English-speaking world.” On the other hand, it has been severely criticized, some of its principles being labeled “a mistake,” “patently false,” and “a mirage.” At any rate, DCH has been widely and successfully received, judging from the comments in the editor’s preface to vols. 3 and 4 alluding to “a very large number of subscribers” (p. 8) and the “extraordinarily positive and enthusiastic” response of the scholarly public (p. 9). Volume 5 is due to appear early in 2001.

A rather lucid description of the project is given by the editor in ZAH 3 (1990): 73-80. The idea of the Dictionary had its beginnings in the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield as early as 1983. Actual work on the project began in 1988 with the first volume appearing five years later. Half the Dictionary is now complete and with subsequent volumes appearing every eighteen months, the entire work will be available by the end of 2004. The project has been funded over the years by Sheffield Academic Press (its major support early on) along with such public entities as the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Board. It remains a research project in the Department of Biblical Studies at Sheffield. John Elwolde has been Executive Editor since vol. 1 but future volumes will bear no such editor.

It is generally agreed that the two most innovative features of DCH are (1) its coverage of all written materials in Hebrew from earliest times to about 200 CE and (2) its syntagmatic analysis of each Hebrew word. Choosing not to privilege in any way Biblical Hebrew, this body of all known materials is subdiv...

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