anchor yale bible dic versus IVP OT dic?

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:20 AM
Can anyone advise me or give me information to help me decide whether I go for Anchor Yale at the sale price or IVP at 12 Days price? I have Scholarts at the moment, tho am wondering about updating to Godl or Platinum, in which case maybe I would have so many dictionaries I wouldn't need more. I'm not an academic theologian, just an aged missionary trying to understand the Book well enough to communicate its truths in another language and culture and faith environment.
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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:26 AM

The AYBD is the more scholarly work, but you should consider your needs first. You may be better served by the IVP.

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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:39 AM

Thanks for instant reply. I'll need to try to chase up AYBD sample pages on Amazon, as I don't think they exist on Logos webpage.  I have a theological degree, but need info rather than many details about the different theories of different scholars.  e.g. I find WBC useful, but ICC more detailed and academic than I need.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:41 AM

The two aren't really comparable.

  • AYBD - very comprehensive, great for background (people, places, etc.) where there is almost nothing missing, poor for theology (no article on 'prayer', for example)
  • IVPOT - partial (obviously!), good for background and theology. Tends to have longer articles on fewer topics.

So, if you want a dictionary that will give you information about every person/place in the Bible, go for AYBD. If you want something that will help you reflect on the major biblical/theological issues in the early part of the OT go for IVP.

Just as a comparison on theology, here's the sub-section of both dictionaries on the theology of 1-2 Kings:

AYBD

1. Deity. The god, Yahweh, that was worshipped in the Solomonic Temple of Jerusalem was the only living God; belief in any other god or goddess was both illusory and sinful; compare the story of Elijah versus the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kgs 18:19–40), and Hezekiah’s prayer, a transparent example of Deuteronomic theology (2 Kgs 19:14–19). Yahweh is god of all nations, a point ironically driven home in the speech of the Assyrian Rabshakeh (2 Kgs 18:25); Yahweh’s forgiveness is available to the faithful even in exile (1 Kgs 8:46–53). The most heinous of sins committed in Kings are cultic (tolerance and proliferation of non-Yahwistic worship), not ethical (murder, theft, perjury). In the historiography of Kings, monotheistic Yahwism dates to the time of Moses; “later” paganizing rulers of Israel and Judah consistently ignored the example of David and “orthodox” prophetic exhortations.

2. History. Deuteronomic theology is rooted in the particular historical circumstances of a western Asiatic people. The infidelity of the kings and people of Israel was punished according to Deuteronomic law “in order to demonstrate how Israel’s continual disobedience to the laws of God finally caused the nation to be destroyed through divine judgment” (IOTS, 286). It is fairly said that, in Kings, history is how the prophets see it. The Divine Will, against which humans cannot successfully resist, is made known through the prophets (2 Kgs 17:13; 21:10–15   V 4, p 82  ) and through Deuteronomic law (2 Kgs 22:16). Nevertheless, history and Deuteronomic theology engage in sporadic conflict: God lies through the prophets (1 Kgs 22:19–23); unconditional dynastic promises are modified (1 Kgs 9:4–9); Josiah, the one king who fulfills the Deuteronomic law “with all his heart, and with all his soul and with all his might” (2 Kgs 23:23) dies before a heathen Pharaoh. The raw and ambiguous stuff of history, even that of the Chosen People, occasionally overflows the boundaries fixed by the theological agenda of the author(s) of Kings.


IVP

5.1. Kings as Prophecy.

5.1.1. Prophets in the Narrative. The perception of Kings as prophecy (part of the Former Prophets) is an important balance to the view of it as history. It contains material that also appears in the book of *Isaiah (2 Kings 18:1–20:21 is quite similar to Is 36:1–39:8). A number of prophets, including Isaiah, take important roles in the story: Elijah and Elisha have pride of place, but others include Ahijah, who speaks to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:29–39), and Huldah, the prophet of Josiah’s reform (2 Kings 22:14). Micaiah has a vision of God enthroned, reminiscent of Isaiah’s temple vision, and is involved in a theological debate about true and false prophecy (1 Kings 22:1–35). The great conflict on *Carmel takes place between prophets, Elijah and the prophets of Baal, with King Ahab a helpless onlooker, subject to the prophetic word (1 Kings 18:17–20).

Prophets are important figures, not in their own right, but only as bearers of the word of God. Some are unnamed (such as the prophets from Judah and Bethel in 1 Kings 13; see also 1 Kings 20:13, 35). Even Elijah appears abruptly, identified only by reference to his place of origin, which itself requires the narrator’s clarifying comment (1 Kings 17:1). Elisha’s lineage is scarcely more promising (1 Kings 19:19). Their personal obscurity is a pointer to the real source of authority in the word of God.

Finally, in an important passage, they are grouped as “my servants the prophets,” and God declares that prophetic warnings were his regular means of seeking to turn the people back to himself (2 Kings 17:13, 23).

In our observations about the book’s structure we saw that God’s speech through prophets   p 630  shows his power to direct events and achieve his purposes. But it also stresses the possibility of a decisive change of mind. Elijah’s rhetoric on Mount Carmel is intended precisely to turn people both from outright apostasy and from mere hesitation between two ways (1 Kings 18:21). The possibility of repentance is held out virtually to the end (Wolff).

5.1.2. Prophets, Kings and Power. The theme of the prophetic word as the source of true authority is stated formally in the commission of Elijah, to anoint not only Elisha as his successor, but also Jehu as king of Israel and even Hazael as king of Syria (1 Kings 19:15–16). And it is woven skillfully into the narrative—for example, in Ahab’s powerlessness in the matter of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:4), and in the role of Elisha (and a servant girl!) in the healing of the Syrian commander Naaman (2 Kings 5) (see Ellul, 23–40). The same concept is present in the unlikely victories of the weak over the strong, as in the case of two defeats of the Syrians (1 Kings 20:1–34; 2 Kings 6:23). In the latter instance the vision of heavenly armies vastly outnumbering the foe is a parable on the true balance of power, and also on the ability to see where it lies (2 Kings 6:17). In this analysis, kings are always in the dock before the tribunal of the word of God, which is borne by the prophets.

5.2. God and the Gods in Kings. The worship of other gods is the foremost crime of the kings. Solomon fell into it. And Jeroboam’s rejection of the worship of Yahweh in Jerusalem echoes the apostasy of the golden calf, that first breach of the first commandment at the very moment of the forging of the Sinai covenant (cf. Ex 32:8 and 1 Kings 12:28). Jeroboam may have intended his arrangements as a kind of worship of Yahweh (see, e.g., Gnuse, 186–87), since his appeal to the tribes is cast in traditional Israelite terms. But his action is portrayed as idolatrous. And the issue takes shape in Kings as between the worship of Yahweh and of Baal (1 Kings 18), and indeed other gods and goddesses (e.g., Ashtoreth, Chemosh, Milcom [1 Kings 11:33; 2 Kings 23:13]; Asherah, Molech [2 Kings 23:7, 10]). King Ahaz established a Syrian model of worship in the temple (2 Kings 16:10–16). And King Josiah’s reformation is conceived as a cleansing of Judah from the worship of other deities (2 Kings 23).

Kings indeed is one of the great apologies for Israel’s belief in Yahweh as one, following the Deuteronomic proclamation known as the Shema (Deut 6:4). The confession of God as one appears in 1 Kings 8:60, in Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, in one of its strongest forms in the OT. It is at the heart of Elijah’s conflict with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:21, 37, 39). And it is the foundation of the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians, in that near-climactic story that puts Kings close to the theological territory of the book of Isaiah (2 Kings 19:15). The effect of all this is to show that the God who judges Israel is the same God who made the promise to David “forever” (2 Sam 7:13). His victories over Baal and over the forces (and gods) of Assyria form the background to the exilic audience’s present plight. In Kings’ affirmations of Yahweh’s uniqueness and supreme power lies its hope for the future, as well as a continuing prophetic call to faith and loyalty.

5.3. God and the Gods in Israel’s Religion. The nature of the dialogue between mono-Yahwism as we know it from the OT and Canaanite polytheism (see Canaanite Gods and Religion) is a function of conceptions of Israel’s history. In modern discussion it is widely supposed that premonarchical Israelite and Judahite religion was similar to that of Canaan. Archaeological evidence in the form of inscriptions from Kuntillet-ʾAjrud and Khirbet el-Qom has led a number of scholars to think that Asherah was worshiped by some as Yahweh’s consort (Gnuse, 69–73), though the significance of these is disputed (Arnold, 411–13; Smith, 80–114). Modern historical studies go further and propose that Israel was in essence an autochthonous Canaanite people (Gnuse, 58–61). So, is mono-Yahwism the creation of exilic and postexilic theological reflection?

R. K. Gnuse (179–81) adduces texts such as 1 Kings 11:1–8 and 2 Kings 17:29–41 as evidence of polytheistic belief in Israel before the exile. In doing so, he poses an important methodological question. It is clear from a reading of Kings that many in Israel and Judah indulged in polytheistic worship. But does it therefore follow that Yahwism was by nature polytheistic in this early phase, and that biblical monotheism emerged as a result of an evolutionary development? The thesis depends on certain interpretations that may be challenged. For example, does it make sense to suppose that Elijah and Jehu, in promoting the worship of Yahweh against Baal,   p 631  were unconcerned about the worship of Asherah (Gnuse, 184)? More promising is R. J. Bauckham’s recent critique of Gnuse. In Bauckham’s view, the OT’s monotheism (a term that he accepts with careful qualification) is not an evolutionary culmination, but rather is a matter of perpetual dispute with Canaanite polytheism. This picture fits very well with Kings’ concept of a clash of cultures, religion and politics, stretching from Solomon to Josiah and manifested in the polemics of the prophets.

5.4. The Nature of Israel.

5.4.1. Who or What Is Israel? Kings begins with a united Israel under a strong king within maximal borders, proceeds rapidly to a division into two kingdoms, one of which bears the name Israel, goes on to chart the disappearance of the latter from history, so that only Judah is left of the Israel that was, and finally relates the loss of all marks of statehood, following a people into exile whose claim to be Israel in any case is in question. The term Israel itself, with its various possibilities, invites reflection on its ambiguity (see Israel).

The question of who and what constitutes legitimate Israel is involved in the removal of ten tribes from Solomon, in which Jeroboam receives a prophetic commission, parallel to David’s own (Ahijah in the role of Nathan), to be “king of Israel” (1 Kings 11:31, 37–38). Does Israel truly continue in the north, therefore? Or is continuance after all in Jerusalem, which with its temple is so important to the vision of true worship in Kings, and which is left to Solomon “for the sake of David my servant whom I chose” (1 Kings 11:34). Each scenario has plausibility, but in fact each is subverted by the development, the north by its apostasy at its inception (1 Kings 12), and the south ultimately by its habit of mimicking the north.

It is northern kings who are dignified with the title “king of Israel.” King Ahab again exemplifies the ironies and ambiguities involved in this. In his wars with Syria he is repeatedly designated “the king of Israel” (1 Kings 20:4, 7, 11, 22; and throughout 1 Kings 22). The narrative’s preference for this title for Ahab over his name (in 1 Kings 22) in contrast to Jehoshaphat of Judah, who is named regularly, is striking. It seems that attention is being drawn to Ahab’s official status, perhaps in an ironic way: can this man match any reasonable claim to bear the title? In addition, his status as king of Israel is juxtaposed jarringly with the mere presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. As for the “good” Jehoshaphat, it is equally puzzling that he should make common cause with Ahab.

The duality of Israel, in “Israel” and Judah, poses the question of what constitutes true Israel. The ambiguity in the name itself is scarcely accidental. In 2 Kings 17:20, for example, its use in a context that largely concerns the northern kingdom seems to point to an inclusive understanding (with Linville, 209–10, but against Sweeney, 84–85; cf. Provan 1995, 249).

It seems that both kingdoms somehow partake of the status of “Israel” (“two rival microcosms of the collective” [Linville, 23]). On the fall of the north, the mantle devolves upon Judah alone, signaled in the use of the term nāgîd (“prince, ruler”) for Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:5), a term originally applied to Saul, David and Solomon, and which is used only here for a king of Judah. Judah’s privilege is short-lived, of course. The result of this is to pose the question of what might constitute “Israel” in an era after the two “Israels” have come to an end. The use of nāgîd, incidentally, helps prepare for the new situation, since it shows that leadership need not be limited to the form of kingship (Linville, 149).

5.4.2. One God and One Israel. If “Israel” is an elusive quantity in Kings, this is strongly at odds with its identity in principle, as the book presents it. The name of Israel is insisted on in close connection with the assertion of Israel’s uniqueness as a nation among the nations, in the context of the demonstration on Carmel that Yahweh alone is God. Not only is the supremacy of Yahweh at stake in that confrontation between Elijah and Ahab, but also the true nature of Israel. At the height of the conflict Elijah sets up twelve stones, representing the twelve tribes, and invokes the renaming of Jacob as Israel (1 Kings 18:31, 36; cf. Gen 32:28; 35:10). This status in principle is balanced by Elijah’s call to the people to choose. Israel’s true identity, it seems, is tied to an acceptance of Yahweh as God (Yahweh is always the “God of Israel,” even in the mouth of a king of Judah [2 Kings 19:15]). To ask the question what Israel truly is, is to ask what kind of God Yahweh is.

5.4.3. Israel as “Inheritance”; Naboth’s Vineyard. The story of Naboth’s vineyard reveals most penetratingly the type of society entailed in a choice to serve Yahweh, in sharp contrast to the type of society that Ahab, as a typical ancient   p 632  Near Eastern potentate, craves. Naboth refuses to part with “the inheritance of my ancestors” (1 Kings 21:3), and in doing so he invokes a vision of Israel as gift of Yahweh to all the people of Israel, each having an entitlement by virtue of the gift to a possession in the land. The theology of Deuteronomy is writ large here (Deut 4:21; 15:4; Josh 13–22). Israel as land is held in perpetuity by Israel as people, not by decree of a king. Here the “democratic” entailment of Israel’s monotheism is as clear as anywhere in the OT, and it stands in sharp contrast to the political tyranny of its polytheistic neighbors.

It is, of course, the hostility evinced by Ahab, under influence of the Phoenician Jezebel, to the very nature of Israel according to Yahwistic tradition that puts in question his true status as “king of Israel.”

5.4.4. “Israel” in Exile? What, then, is the entity that eventually goes into exile, shorn of trappings that might qualify it as either “Israel” or “Judah”? This is perhaps the most acute question for the first audience of the book. The clearest answer comes in Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, in which he envisages that a disobedient Israel might one day go into exile. In that event, he prays that God would hear their prayer and maintain their cause (mišpāṭ [1 Kings 8:49])—that is, a legal right that presupposes that their relationship with Yahweh continues. And then they are explicitly equated with “your people, your inheritance, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace” (1 Kings 8:51; cf. Deut 4:20). Kings is unlike Deuteronomy and Jeremiah in envisaging a return to land, and so to a form of political life resembling that which had been lost. Here the outward appearance and constitution of the future people is an unresolved question. The book’s careful detachment from the historic institutions is strikingly illustrated by the prayer’s insistence that God cannot be contained by heaven itself, much less a building (1 Kings 8:27). The true nature of Israel depends not on institutions, not even on possession of land, but on loyalty to Yahweh, and this as manifested in commitments to *justice, as exemplified by the case of Naboth.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:43 AM

And here's a thread that will show you the strengths of AYBD: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/22656/169214.aspx

(Neither are particularly academic/scholarly, by the way. Detailed yes, but quite understandable by everyone.)

 

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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 4:58 AM

Mark Barnes:
(Neither are particularly academic/scholarly, by the way. Detailed yes, but quite understandable by everyone.)

I would agree that they're similarly accessible, but there's more 'scholarly' commentary in AYBD than in IVP, where 'scholarly' refers to the kind of critical commentary which is more highly regarded internationally, outside North American Christian circles. The AYBD is far more likely to refer to higher critical commentary and to take such commentary seriously, the IVP is more likely to be sensitive to apologetic concerns. Compare for example the articles on 'David' (AYBD spends more time on critical commentary, IVP spends more time on apologetic commentary), and 'Goliath' (IVP argues for a 9' 9" Goliath with acromegaly and tunnel vision, AYBD argues for a 6' 9" giant).

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:23 AM

Jonathan, you seem to be equating higher criticism with scholarly rigour, which is unfair. One can be scholarly without accepting the entire tenor of higher criticism, and you can even do so outside of North America. Believe it or not, it's even possible to be scholarly and argue for a 9 foot Goliath.

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Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:32 AM

Quick question, does AYBD reflect the liberal tradition of its namesake?

 

"As any translator will attest, a literal translation is no translation at all."

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David Bailey | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:39 AM

I just purchased the IVP 2-volume OT Dictionaries.  That completes my IVP reference books on the OT and NT, at least until IVP releases the last 2 volumes for the OT series.  This fits the bill, literally, since my budget this month is very tight.  Thanks, Logos, for offering this exciting reference work on day 1!

 

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:41 AM

Paul Golder:

Quick question, does AYBD reflect the liberal tradition of its namesake?

Because it's not particularly theological the question doesn't always apply. There's a little more discussion here: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/22656/169214.aspx

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Paul Golder | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 5:49 AM

Mark Barnes:

Paul Golder:

Quick question, does AYBD reflect the liberal tradition of its namesake?

Because it's not particularly theological the question doesn't always apply. There's a little more discussion here: http://community.logos.com/forums/p/22656/169214.aspx

Thanks Mark

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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 6:06 AM

Mark Barnes:
Jonathan, you seem to be equating higher criticism with scholarly rigour, which is unfair. One can be scholarly without accepting the entire tenor of higher criticism, and you can even do so outside of North America. Believe it or not, it's even possible to be scholarly and argue for a 9 foot Goliath.

I apologize if that's how I came across, it's not what I meant. I have the IVP dictionary bundle, and refer regularly to the typical North American evangelical commentaries (BECNT, TOTC, NIBC, BNTC, CPNIV, etc). I certainly didn't mean to disparage them, not least because a some of them do actually use the kind of criticism of which I'm speaking. I didn't mean that only higher criticism is scholarly, just that I was using the term in this particular context to refer to the kind of scholarship which prevails on the Continent, as opposed to what prevails in North America. It's the difference between CPNIV and Hermeneia, for example.

I'm aware that on the Continent a work published by Mohr Siebeck, Brill, or Walter de Gruyter is expected to be of a higher quality of scholarship than a work published by Eerdman, Baker, or IVP, but that's not what I intended to convey.

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 6:19 AM

Mark Barnes:
Just as a comparison on theology, here's the sub-section of both dictionaries on the theology of 1-2 Kings:

Thanks Mark. That helped me decide to get the IVP (even with a 9 ft 9" Goliath)!

Dave
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nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 6:21 AM
Mark, Thank you very much. I wonder if you could be kind enough to go the second mile and give me a screenshot of what both AYBD and IVP say about Raka? That would meet me at a point where I'm searching and getting no joy, so would help me get an idea which would be most helpful to me.
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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 6:22 AM

RACA. An expression of reproach used as an example by Jesus in one of his teachings (Matt 5:22). The RSV translates this term as “insult.” In Matt 5:22a “raca” (Gk rhaka) is basically parallel in meaning to mōre (Fool!) in v 22b, and is thus a term of abuse or contempt. The key difference is that while the second of these is a Greek word, the first is not. It seems in fact to be the emphatic state of Aram r (y)q˒, meaning “empty,” and hence “worthless,” “good for nothing.” As a term of contempt, it is found in the Talmud and Midrash, e.g., b. Ber. 22b, “… she said to him, Numskull! (= ryq˒) …;” and Eccl. Rab. to 9:15, “Woe to you, worthless fellows (rqyy˒), tomorrow the Flood is coming …” (that is, these are the men of the flood generation). The word was first noticed as a Semitism by John Lightfoot (1684), who gave a series of examples from Talmudic and Midrashic literature. The context in Matt 5:22 supports the identification of “raca” as a Semitism, in that it refers in turn to the person who is wrathful with his fellow, calls him “Numskull” (raqā˒) or “fool,” as worthy of “the judgment,” “the Sanhedrin,” or “the Gehenna of fire.” The use of “raca” in Matt 5:22, without any following explanation or translation in Greek, was held by Jeremias to indicate that Matthew’s audience could cope with some Aramaic.
       MAX WILCOX


Freedman, D. N. (1996). Vol. 5: The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (605). New York: Doubleday.

 

Assuming we're talking about the IVP Dictionary of New Testament Background, I can't find a separate entry on rhaka.

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Todd Phillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 6:38 AM

nicky crane:
Mark, Thank you very much. I wonder if you could be kind enough to go the second mile and give me a screenshot of what both AYBD and IVP say about Raka? That would meet me at a point where I'm searching and getting no joy, so would help me get an idea which would be most helpful to me.

As Jonathan showed, the entry for RACA in the AYDB is fairly short, and it's not found at all in the IVP NT dictionaries.

You'd be better off with a language-oriented dictionary like TDNT or NIDNTT for that.  They both have longer entries for ῥακά (than AYDB does for RAKA), plus NIDNTT has an extensive bibliography for its entry (it's almost as long as the entry itself).

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 8:04 AM

Jonathan Burke:
I apologize if that's how I came across, it's not what I meant.

Thanks for the clarification. Smile

Jonathan Burke:
I'm aware that on the Continent a work published by Mohr Siebeck, Brill, or Walter de Gruyter is expected to be of a higher quality of scholarship than a work published by Eerdman, Baker, or IVP, but that's not what I intended to convey.

Yes, and to a certain extent that's true, of course, because Eerdmans, Baker and IVP publish for both the academic and non-academic markets, whereas the three other publishers you mention are pretty much academic only.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 8:09 AM

Todd Phillips:
You'd be better off with a language-oriented dictionary like TDNT or NIDNTT for that.  They both have longer entries for ῥακά (than AYDB does for RAKA), plus NIDNTT has an extensive bibliography for its entry (it's almost as long as the entry itself).

Absolutely (though EDNT could also be considered). NIDNTT would be best in this specific instance, I think.

As I mentioned earlier, the IVP have a small(ish) number of large articles. They wouldn't have an entry on something like raca. To give you an ideal of the quantity of articles you could expect from an IVP dictionary, here's the entire list of the Pentateuch volume, entries beginning with the letter 'A'. The page numbers will give you an idea of length, the 'Aaron' article spans about three and a half letter-sized pages if I was to print from Logos at the default settings.

  Aaron, 1
  Abel, 4
  Abimelech, 6
  Abraham, 8
  Adam, 18
  Agriculture, 21
  Alien, Foreign Resident, 26
  Altars, 33
  Archaeology, 37
  Arts and Crafts, 49
  Asher, 53
  Atonement, Day of, 54
  Authorship of the Pentateuch, 61

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Jonathan Burke | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 8:13 AM

Thanks Mark. Since we're in agreement I'll add that I do think it's useful to make the distinction between apologetic and scholarly commentary to which I referred, however, if only because their (ostensible), aims are different.

As I see it, apologetic commentary ostensibly seeks to defend an understanding of the text which is already held, whereas scholarly commentary ostensibly seeks to establish an understanding of the text as if it hasn't yet been discovered. It doesn't always work out that way, but those are the ostensible aims, and they are different. The IVP commentaries do take an apologetic approach more often than AYBD, and I think that's worth understanding.

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Dec 9 2010 8:56 AM

Jonathan Burke:
As I see it, apologetic commentary ostensibly seeks to defend an understanding of the text which is already held, whereas scholarly commentary ostensibly seeks to establish an understanding of the text as if it hasn't yet been discovered. It doesn't always work out that way, but those are the ostensible aims, and they are different. The IVP commentaries do take an apologetic approach more often than AYBD, and I think that's worth understanding.

I prefer the term 'confessional' to 'apologetic', and 'critical' to 'scholarly' in this context. I'm glad you included the work 'ostensibly' as I am far from convinced that there is such a thing as a neutral understanding of the text. We all bring our presuppositions, and I would argue that it is better to be upfront about them than pretend to be 100% objective, which of course is impossible. (That said, I get as frustrated as the next man when confessional presuppositions clearly contradict the text, but are allowed to stand! Our confession needs to be moulded by our understanding the text, and vice versa. )

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