The Greco-Roman World: A Bibliographical And Review Article -- By: Edwin M. Yamauchi

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 20:2 (Jun 1977)
Article: The Greco-Roman World: A Bibliographical And Review Article
Author: Edwin M. Yamauchi

The Greco-Roman World:
A Bibliographical And Review Article

Edwin M. Yamauchi*

Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Classical World. By Michael Avi-Yonah and. Israel Shatzman. New York: Harper and Row, 1975, 510 pp., $20.00.

The late Michael Avi-Yonah (d. 1974) was the leading Israeli scholar of the classical and Byzantine periods. He had directed a number of excavations in Israel and had served as the editor of IEJ and of the Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land. He had planned the Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Classical World, but its completion is largely the work of Professor Israel Shatzman of the Hebrew University, who is primarily a scholar of the Roman period.

In many respects this is perhaps the best reference work of its kind available. It is quite comprehensive, containing articles on 2300 topics, which are by and large concise and accurate. For the reader who is not a classical scholar, this is more serviceable and readable than the Oxford Classical Dictionary. It is more up to date than William Smith’s Classical Dictionary. It is superior to the comparable Praeger Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Civilization (ed. by Pierre De-vambez) in that it includes bibliographical references, some as recent as works published in 1974.

The work contains six maps and seven pages of chronological charts. There are helpful cross-references throughout the volume as well as a six-page index of items that are not the subject of articles but are discussed in the course of other articles. There are a generous selection of black-and-white photos and some splendid colored illustrations. Unfortunately there is no list of the latter, which are interspersed almost at random without any necessary relation to nearby articles. Nor are there references in the text to the relevant colored illustrations.

In view of its many excellent features, it is a pity that there are some rather glaring deficiencies, particularly in regard to the works listed in the unnecessarily spare bibliographies. In part this may be due to the publisher’s guidelines or to the limitations of works accessible in Israel. In part it probably reflects the fact that no individual scholar can hope to be competent in all fields. The deficiencies are most obvious with respect to peripheral areas of the Greek world and the Roman Empire, such as Anatolia and Persia.

What is more lamentable, particularly in a work conceived by one who was himself a leading archaeologist, is the noticeable lack of references to current excavations. Understandable but still regrettable is the omission of references to the NT; the articles on GALATIA,

* Edwin Yamauchi is p...

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