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5.0 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0830817778
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press|
Release data : January, 1992
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Excellent resource - but don't make it the only one
The information in this book is comprehensive, well-referenced (including mention of non-scriptural resources related to the period), and quite absorbing. I found myself moving from one cross reference to another, avidly seeking the information which "fleshed out" the accounts, and made the meanings of scriptural texts, even those I had studied a number of times, richer and more complete. The relation of gospel texts, particularly Jesus's parables, miracles and the like, to historical perspectives is well done. There also is a valuable section relating how to use gospel texts in preparing sermons. In total, it is a fine reference for placing Jesus's words in context, and understanding the actions of those with whom he dealt. (For example, look up the article on Pontius Pilate... his fear at "you are no friend of Caesar" has an interesting and very natural basis.) With this said, however, this valuable book should not be one's only reference for scripture study. My five stars are for the book as it is intended - a "dictionary," with extensive and often fascinating explanations. It is not sufficient for most scriptural exegesis or advanced New Testament study, particularly because it is strictly composed from an evangelical perspective. Many distinguished contemporary scholars (Raymond Brown, N.T. Wright, E.P. Sanders, to name a few), equally orthodox in their Christology, would have viewpoints that are far less literalist than this work provides. Just as two minor examples, the Dictionary sees no reason to doubt that the apostle Matthew was the author of the first gospel, and the idea that the visit of the Magi was completely, literally true (with no allowance for its being a midrash at all) is unquestioned. The entire approach in this work is extremely conservative. I would place this book on the shelf of anyone studying the gospels, but it would be one of at least five.
IVP and Dr. Daniel Reid have outdone themselves with this great series of dictionaries. This volume on Jesus & the Gospels is packed with over 900 pages of detailed information on the four gospels. With dozens of the leading scholars of our day contributing, the vast coverage of subjects is breathtaking.
The contributors have been given a great degree of freedom to express their views, but this turns out to be good for stretching one's thinking. Matters that I disagree with in various articles have been nothing short of challenging. This is an extremely helpful work that will prove invaluable to the pastor and teacher. There are so many excellent and helpful articles in this work that we would probably do well to just read the entire volume.
Excellent Reference Resource
This is one of the better reference works available from a conservative evangelical publishing company (IVP). The text itself is a very detailed dictionary of the four Gospel accounts. The editors include articles regarding people, places, events, dates, cross-references, etc. The articles are broad in the sense that they include various opinions and views but not so broad that they are too muddled in what they communicate. There is an enormous amount of detail in this volume. The editors discuss things such as the ethics of Jesus, certain feasts, genealogies, historical reliability of the Gospel accounts, the doctrine of Hell, historical quest of Jesus, Josephus, the phrases "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of Heaven," miracles and miracle stories, passion narratives, the Resurrection, what the term Son of Man means, etc. and what I have listed does not even begin to scratch the surface of the material that is within these pages. This work is over 900 pages of great material about the Gospels and their content, history, dating, etc. If you are wanting a great research tool, then this is one of, if not the best one you could add to your library. Another great reference work by the same publishing company (IVP) which works well with this volume is titled "Dictionary of Paul and His Letters." See my review, here at Amazon, on that gereat reference work which is a type of vol. 2 in connection with "Dictionary of Jesus . . ."