August 19, 2011

The IVP Dictionary of the New Testament

IVP's "black dictionary" set has rightfully met with wide acclaim. The New Testament set, which is already complete, consists of four substantial volumes, The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, The Dictionary of the Latter New Testament and Its Developments, and The Dictionary of New Testament Background. Each one of these volumes is filled with outstanding contributions by leaders in their field. Authors include the likes of Larry Hurtado, Ben Witherington, Scot McKnight, F. F. Bruce, I. Howard Marshall, Craig Evans, and Craig Keener. And the articles are substantial, usually filling numerous dictionary pages. This one-volume compend is a distillation of the four New Testament volumes into one large volume. They did this by selecting various articles from each of the four individual volumes that would best serve for a more introductory volume. This means they have included an article on each book of the New Testament, as well as what the editors determined to be the most helpful of the other articles. I have no doubt that a careful review of what was included and what was omitted would result in various quibbles about what should have been deemed essential, but I can easily say that they have created a spectacular and affordable resource. And, to my mind, one of the best features is that they have essentially left the articles in their original form. That is, they haven't created summaries or abbreviations of the individual entries, but left them as they were originally written, so the level of scholarship is still high, and only the article selection is curtailed. In all, I'm happy to enthusiastically recommend this resource. It is an outstanding place to start and at the same time a thorough and updated resource on many important topics.

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