Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 08:1 (Nov 1945)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

revised and rewritten by Henry Snyder Gehman: The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, by John D. Davis. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 1944. xii, 666 and 16 plates. $3.50.

For almost a half-century the Davis Bible Dictionary has been a standard and well-nigh indispensable reference work for the minister, the Sunday School teacher, and the casual Bible student. It has served its purpose well. Dr. Davis, the predecessor of the editor and rewriter of the work under review, himself made four editions of his dictionary, revising the material in accordance with advances in archaeology, history, and philology. Dr. Gehman, at present the Professor of Old Testament Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary, has seen fit after twenty years to make another thorough revision. His purpose is most commendable, and any successful attempts to present to the Christian world the latest results of Biblical scholarship and research will be heartily welcomed by every sober student of God’s Word.

A comprehensive analysis and evaluation of a dictionary is a difficult task, because a dictionary, even of the Bible, is in its very nature characterized by an abundance of minute detail. Only by arbitrary selection or by rough generalization can any brief picture be given of the advantages and disadvantages, the strong points and weaknesses, of this work. Before any discussion of the material itself is entered upon, however, it would be well to make a general remark about the format of the new Westminster Dictionary. In every respect it is a considerable improvement upon that of the old Davis Dictionary, a fact which will contribute in no small measure to the convenience of its use and the readiness with which the Bible student will make a better and more thorough use of its material. The type is slightly smaller than that of the Davis Dictionary, but not too small for practical purposes. Pronunciations are given for all entries which are not common English words, whereas Davis listed only syllable division and accent. Arabic rather than Roman numerals are used for chapter numbers in Biblical references, and a well-chosen series of abbreviations adds to the quickness of reference. Unfortunately for the user with no theological training, the abbreviation LXX for Septuagint is omitted from the list

of abbreviations. More frequent paragraphing in the longer entries is a distinct aid to reading, and the replaced and additional illustrations are much superior to those available to Dr. Davis twenty years ago. The maps are especially worthy of comment; without appearing to be cluttered up with print, they use a type face that is much larger than usual for maps of this...

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