Re: Anchor Bible Dictionary

From: Tony Prete (
Date: Wed Apr 24 1996 - 15:55:39 EDT


I share your > layperson with an interest in Bible scholarship< designation,
so I felt I could comfortably respond to your post on the value of the
Anchor Bible Dictionary.

Short answer: It's a great resource: comprehensive, current, and balanced.
You'll be glad you have it.

Long answer:
As I recall, the reviews were all quite favorable, given the fact that no
work can cover all aspects, plus some reviewers have different priorities
than those governing what went into ABD. I've had a copy for over two years
now, consider myself an amateur in the field, and use it with almost
everything I'm researching--whether for papers or just curiosity. Mostly,
it's terrific, especially with core concepts and archeological information.
But the absence of an index drives me crazy! Sometimes I just give up in
frustration. Other times, I'm amazed at where things turn up. For example,
you'd expect to find Spirit under "S" right? Wrong. Not even a cross
reference. Try Pneuma--nothing. Finally dug it up under *Holy Spirit*! How
many entries in a *bible* dictionary could be catalogued under "Holy ......"
Also, there are a few gaps--mostly, I've been told, because authors didn't
get their pieces in after having the assignment for years. So Doubleday
(Freedman, actually, I suppose) just had to go to press without them. But I
imagine that this happens with any kind of massive compilation.

Doubleday was touting their forth-coming CD version at last year's SBL
meeting in Philadelphia (nearby, which is why I could go). I'm looking
forward to it because it will solve the index problem, though I'd still
rather read from a book than off a screen. Also--though I'm
speculating--maybe once ABD is on CD they'll be able to publish an index in
print form.

One last thing. Though you say you've ordered it, you're still asking
questions. This leads me to believe that your order is pending, in which
case I can tell you that if you're paying more than $200.00, you're paying
too much. That's what it goes for at Christian Book Distributors (contact me
if you need the specifics).

Hope this helps.

    Tony Prete
    Haddonfield, N.J
    (609) 428-1203.


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