Is there a place to get recommendations on Bible dictionaries?

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Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Jul 21 2013 7:41 PM

I recently spent some time working through best commentaries.com and prioritized accordingly. Is there a similar site to see what dictionary/encyclopedia's are best..... I have many, not sure which would be best... 

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 21 2013 8:41 PM

Even the sight on commentaries is only a set of opinions. The best thing you can do is look up reviews from people or organizations you trust. 

-Dan

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 21 2013 8:52 PM

BTW for what it is worth...

Evangelical circles often seem to favour  in a one volume either the New Bible Dictionary or often Ungers as a preferred dictionary (I would go for NBD in that pairing myself). I personally prefer the Eerdman's Bible Dictionary as my main one volume one.

The multi- Volume ones the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (REVISED)  is one of the favourites of many conservatives. Anchor Bible Dictionary still seems to me to be the top one over all but many people more and more are favouring the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Zondervan recently updated theirs but I was not impressed with it before and the revision seems much cosmetic as the articles I compared were identical (though I am quite sure some must have been updated). I own in hard copy both ISBE and NIDB but still lean towards Anchor.

-Dan

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 21 2013 11:12 PM

I do not know of any site comparable to bestcommentaries.com that reviews dictionaries/encyclopedias.

You can look at the ratings and product reviews that users have posted on Logos.com on the product description pages. They're not as in-depth as the reviews that bestcommentaries.com links to for commentaries, though. Amazon.com might have some better ones.

You can also check out the Resource Reviews page on the Logos wiki. Users have posted screenshots and pros and cons of several of the Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias. It's not comprehensive by any means, and I'm not sure many people are aware of that section of the wiki, or have been adding to it lately. Once Logos added the reviews on the product description pages, I think people kind of abandoned the wiki resource reviews. But the ones that are there are still somewhat useful.

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jul 21 2013 11:19 PM

One other note: The IVP "black dictionaries" series (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, et al.) is top notch, one of the very very best, and well worth the cost. The Essential IVP Reference Collection Version 3, which includes all the New Testament ones, as well as several other IVP reference resources (including the excellent Dictionary of Biblical Imagery), is probably the best bang for your buck add-on to any Logos base package you could possibly get. It's not included in any of them, but is outstanding. And you can pick up the Old Testament ones in the IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament Bundle (2 vols.) and IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament Bundle Upgrade (2 vols.). Not as good a deal as the "Essential" collection, but still excellent to own. Better to get the OT Bundle Upgrade while it's still in pre-pub. It's shipping in September and the price will go up.

http://www.logos.com/product/4714/ivp-dictionary-of-the-old-testament-bundle

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Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 1:46 AM

Thank you for your help! The IVP series does look good, however I am looking more along the lines of knowing what dictionaries/encyclopedia's I already have should be preferred......

I have many and always wonder which is the most up to date etc..... here is a screenshot of my dictionaries....what would you prefer?

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Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 4:38 AM

Your screenshot did not show up, unfortunately.

IMHO, bible dictionaries are some of our most important resources.  In general, I think the dictionaries are more important than the commentaries.  You have been given some decent recommendations above, but I strongly suggest that you evaluate what you have.  I find that I do need multiple ones.  I need a short one for when I need just basic information about a topic, and I need bigger ones when I am studying a topic in more detail.  Maybe I am wierd, but an enjoyable afternoon (depending on the size of your library) would be to just read the dictionary articles on a common topic, like "Pharisees".

Some questions to ask yourself when reading a dictionary article - is it answering the question I had when I came here, or is it distracted by information I have not interest in?  Does the dictionary include a bibliography for where to get more information?  How reliable is the information in this dictionary compared with what is in other dictionaries as well as what I find when actually doing the research?  How up to date is it?  And quite important (even if a bit less so with computer searching) - Do the headwords make logical sense to find things in it?

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 5:14 AM

Mike Tourangeau:
I have many, not sure which would be best... 

Mike, I do not know what you have, but of the whole Bible Dictionaries I have they'd go:

AYBD

ISBE, Rev.

NBD

BEB

NNIBD (Nelson's illustrated)

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 171
Adam Rao | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 6:00 AM

Favorite one-volume dictionary: Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible.

Favorite multi-volume dictionary: New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.

For what it's worth, I think BestCommentaries.com is pretty useless – the ratings/rankings are based almost exclusively on the reviews of conservative evangelicals. If that's your tradition, then perhaps it'll be useful to you.

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 6:08 AM

Mark Smith:

Mike Tourangeau:
I have many, not sure which would be best... 

Mike, I do not know what you have, but of the whole Bible Dictionaries I have they'd go:

AYBD

ISBE, Rev.

NBD

BEB

NNIBD (Nelson's illustrated)

Mine is:

AYBD

ISBE

SDABD

LBD

TBD

My top five, in no particular order, although I use LBD more and more, simply because it points me to what others have to say.

Lynden Williams Communications https://www.lyndenwilliams.net 

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Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 6:14 AM

Mike Tourangeau:
The IVP series does look good

Save your pennies and PLEASE listen to Rosie, you won't regret your purchase, get the pre-pub then get the rest on payment plan if you must. Next listen to all who are gently steering you to the AYBD, these afore mentioned are essential.

Mike Tourangeau:

I am looking more along the lines of knowing what dictionaries/encyclopedia's I already have should be preferred......

I have many and always wonder which is the most up to date etc

Before I give you advice on what you already have, hear this. The dictionary you use is the best. Now, having said that, know that most of the opinions of the users who have chimed in have been developed over time. Your prioritized resources are not etched in stone they are fluid.

At this moment my Top Five are Easton's, Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible, Holman's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia rev., and The Lexham Bible Dictionary. I have the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary but right now I am giving the Lexham Dictionary a trial period. I am a layman with a scholarly bent. I do enjoy the depth of coverage you get with the AYBD, but, it is definitely not my first tome to reach for.

Of the five I mention all you lack is the excellent ISBE and the hallowed AYBD. In the toss up I would probably counsel the AYBD. My thoughts for a penny.

I reproduce your screenshot below:

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 7:44 AM

Agree with Rosie; I especially like the IVP Essentials.  I just can't say enough that's good about them. I also have AYD which often goes into a lot more detail that I really need.  However 'prioritizing' I have AYB at the top.  The reason is that when I double-click a word, I usually want an in-depth lookup. But when I'm interested in  a subject, the IVP series is really useful.

Regarding the Wiki review site, along with others (Rosie, Steve, etc), I did a bunch. My main frustrations with the Logos.com site is that they don't market why the resource is so powerful in Logos.  Instead, they just insert their boilerplate paragraph.

- The 'look here' uses the Biblia engine which doesn't show the interlinears (sorry George!) which for many non-Logos people is their access to 'the languages'.  They're not looking to save the world with greek nuances.

- The forum's often the only way to know 'exactly' which edition/version is involved (the Wiki review gets dated).

- And for me, especially, the linkages to the other Logos resources are most important (most recently the DSS resource discussions).  In other words, the L5 'Info' panel that shows indices, etc.

I really don't understand why so much power is built into Logos, but it's consciously not marketed.  Today after reading the Saturday blog on the NT discourse package, I'm really tempted to get the Hebrew one (I had a pre-pub that I cancelled). What caught my eye was the hebrew discourse discussion volume. 'However' they don't have any 'Look here' buttons or jpgs to see how in-depth it is. A pamphet?  So I'm sitting on it (again).  I just don't understand why authors (Steve) spend so much effort, and then when it's time to 'sell', nobody's home.

This is super-off-topic but actually germaine to this thread; the Logos user wants to potentially spend some Logos dollars but doesn't have a good discussion of the dictionary choices.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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Lynden Williams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 7:47 AM

Denise:
I really don't understand why so much power is built into Logos,

Some of us are addicted to power. WinkLightning

Lynden Williams Communications https://www.lyndenwilliams.net 

Posts 19262
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 12:32 PM

Denise:
My main frustrations with the Logos.com site is that they don't market why the resource is so powerful in Logos.  Instead, they just insert their boilerplate paragraph.

That's actually one of my main critiques of the Logos.com site for the opposite reason. OK, we get it already. Books in Logos are much better than as print editions. I don't need to be sold on that anymore. I'm sick of seeing their boilerplate paragraph. And I wouldn't be particularly interested in seeing more marketing about why the resource is so powerful in Logos. Maybe some other venue where they're reaching out to people who don't have Logos yet. But those of us who have already bought into the Logos system and are looking for more resources to add to our libraries don't really need to be the target of that marketing.

Posts 391
Geo Philips | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 12:35 PM

With regards to BestCommentaries.com, I agree the name is misleading (it is not exactly the Rotten Tomatoes of Bible commentaries) but it does a decent job of compiling reviews (apart from the ranking) that should be helpful to anyone. I also find the Denver Seminary bibliography to be helpful. Though they are evangelical, they have a wide spread of commentaries they recommend from every tradition.

That being said, I find it interesting that evangelical/conservative scholars tend to recommend commentaries from a liberal/critical tradition (perhaps with certain reservations noted) but those on the liberal side do not seem to want to do the inverse! 

Posts 1359
Mike Tourangeau | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 22 2013 4:49 PM

Thanks for all your replies. I have been driving all day (family vacation) I will investigate the info given when I get my head cleared. From Niagara to Winston-Salem, NC.... whew! 

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