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ISSN 0045-0308

BOOK REVIEW  Published in Volume 50, 2002

D. N. Freedman (ed.), Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), Pp. Xxxiii + 1425.

All readers of the Bible will welcome this one-volume dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman with twelve distinguished consulting editors, there are almost five thousand entries by nearly six hundred contributors. The contributors are a mix of established scholars and younger scholars who are making their mark on the field. The articles, arranged in alphabetical order, cover every person, place and event in the Bible and the Deuterocanonical books, as well as important theological subjects and terms. Many entries, particularly the longer ones, contain short but useful bibliographies. Amongst the articles are many charts, illustrations and photographs, and at the end of the book are fourteen very clear maps pertinent to both the Old Testament and New Testament periods.

By any standards this dictionary is a momentous achievement. The publisher’s boast that it is comprehensive, up-to-date, reliable and helpful is not an idle one, and one might add that it is also clear, easy to use and beautifully presented. The scholarship is of a consistently high standard, though, as is to be expected in such collections, there is some unevenness in the entries. This minor observation notwithstanding, Freedman and Eerdmans have provided a great service to their intended readers. This affordable and accessible dictionary will be of considerable use to students, clergy and interested general readers, and it should not be too far away from the desk of the specialist scholar. A better single-volume dictionary of the Bible would be difficult to find.

Review by
Dr. David C. Sim
Australian Catholic University