Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 19:2 (Spring 1976)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews


The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Edited by Merrill C. Tenney and Steven Barabas. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975, 5 vols., $79.95.

When I was quite small, my chief longing as one particular Christmas approached was for a model train set. We had a catalogue giving details of what was available, and before Christmas I knew by heart the description that began, “This is the largest and best of the complete model railway sets…” The publishers of the present work might well want to state in their catalogue that this is “the largest and best” Bible encyclopedia of recent years.

The Bible student already has available a number of Bible encyclopedias, and these are detailed in the article “Bible Dictionaries” in ZPEB by that indefatigable bibliophile, Wilbur M. Smith (who has also contributed a survey of Biblical “Commentaries”). British scholars, such as the present reviewer, are most familiar with The New Bible Dictionary. (1962) edited by J. D. Douglas, whose

expertise is also revealed in The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church (Zondervan, 1974). The New Bible Dictionary contains a remarkable amount of compact information in the Biblical field and is especially strong on the archaeological side. At the same time those who wanted fuller information have been able to turn to The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, a lavish work in four volumes with many illustrations. We are not so familiar with the one-volume Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary (1963), which has not enjoyed such a wide circulation in Britain.

But now we have this new mammoth-sized work from Zondervan, and it is good to know that it is also to be marketed in Britain by Marshall, Morgan and Scott. It runs to just under 5,000 pages of text, interspersed with many illustrations in black and white and accompanied by colored plates in each volume and also a set of Rand McNally maps in the final volume. Among the illustrations special mention must be accorded to the quite superb set of 71 photos in color of Biblical coins, for which we are indebted to Gleason L. Archer.

The success of a work must be judged in the light of its stated aims. This encyclopedia is intended to supply more detail for scholarly study than was possible in the one-volume ZPBD, which was intended for the use of pastors and others. It claims, therefore, to deal in greater detail with technical matters and to be a comprehensive survey of general Biblical and theological knowledge.

The scope of the work is thus very similar to that of IDB, and comparison will show that the g...

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