Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 58:4 (Dec 2015)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity, vol. 1: A-Da. Edited by Edwin M. Yamauchi and Marvin R. Wilson. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2014, xxxvi + 400 pp., $24.95 paper.

Edwin Yamauchi serves as Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University. He authored Persia and the Bible (Baker, 1990) and Greece and Babylon: Early Contacts between the Aegean and the Near East (Baker, 1967). Marvin Wilson is the Harold J. Ockenga Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College. He wrote Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (Eerdmans, 1989) and its sequel, Exploring Our Hebraic Heritage: A Christian Theology of Roots and Renewal (Eerdmans, 2014).

Thirty-three scholars contribute to the dictionary. Following the list of Abbreviations, the authors provide an overview of the pertinent “Periods, Ages, and Dates” and an Introduction to the series. Volume 1, the first of a projected three-volume set, contains thirty-nine articles ranging from “Abortion” to “Dance.” The entries address subjects seldom included in Bible encyclopedias and dictionaries—subjects such as domestic life, laws, cultic practices, and technology. Each entry, approximately five to twenty pages in length, develops the topic according to six subheadings: the OT, the NT, the Near Eastern world, the Greco-Roman world, the Jewish world, and the Christian world. The articles conclude with a bibliography of topic-specific resources. More general resources appear in the back of the volume in the seven-page Select Bibliography comprised exclusively of books. The back matter also displays seven Figures (photos or sketches) that depict various aspects of ancient culture. Unfortunately, the lack of indexes diminishes the dictionary’s value as a stand-alone reference work.

The contributors often draw attention to background information that illumines the Scriptures. For instance, Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27:14–44 transpired in October, a dangerous time to sail on the eastern Mediterranean (p. 191). The essay on “Clothing” elucidates the charge of 1 Peter 1:13 to “gird up loins of your mind” (p. 325). The discussion of “Ceramics and Pottery” expounds the onomatopoetic term בַּקְבֻּק (Jer 19:1, 10), a “jar” that produced a gurgling noise when liquid was poured out of it (p. 273).

An assortment of fascinating facts lures the reader from one entry to the next. For example, men in antiquity lived only forty years on average, and mot...

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