Dictionaries, Biblical

Dictionaries, Biblical.

The term dictionary is the most general one for designating an alphabetical arrangement of words with copious explanations attached, whereas vocabulary (Latin vocabulum) denotes a simple list of words with brief definitions; while a lexicon, on the one hand, is an etymological and grammatical exhibit of the words of a (usually foreign) language, and Encyclopaedia (ἐν κύκλῳ παιδεία, instruction in a complete circle) is properly a series (whether alphabetical or otherwise) of treatises embracing the whole range of a science by topics (Crabbe's English Synonymes). This last word is used by English authors specially as a title of works covering the entire compass of human knowledge, arranged alphabetically under leading heads, and has thence been sometimes applied, in a more limited sense, to similar works on one or more branches of science. The term Cyclopedia, however, is now generally recognized as more distinctively applicable to books of this class (see History of Cyclopaedias, in the Lond. Quart. Rev. April, 1863). In order to entitle it justly to the rank of either of these latter appellations, a work should contain the literature of the subjects of which it treats. Finally, a glossary is an elucidation of obscure or obsolete words occurring in a particular author or class of writers; thesaurus is applied to a collection of learned dissertations, and also to an extensive lexicon, both being usually written in Latin; Bibliotheca is applied to Bibliographical works, and also to collective editions, e.g. Bibliotheca Patrum.

The first production of this kind, relating to the Bible, of which we have any definite knowledge, aside from those purely lexical, was the Onomasticon of Eusobius, edited and translated by Jerome, which, however, was merely geographical, and embraced Palestine only. It has been of great service, nevertheless, to all writers since on Biblical topography. Jerome likewise prepared a treatise of less value on the Hebrew proper names occurring in the Scriptures (De Nonzinsibus Hebraicis, in vol. 3 of his works, No. 15) chiefly from materials previously afforded by Philo Judous and Origen; likewise the biographies of eminent early Christians (De Viris Illustribus, vol. ii, pt. ii of his works). After this, however, no work worthy of note belonging to the class we are considering appeared till the renewal of Biblical learning after the Reformation. The following are those of leading importance and celebrity.

(1.) Aug. Calmet (q.v.), Dictionnaire Historique, Critique, Chronologiquoe, Geographique, et Litterale de la Bible (Paris, 1722, 2 vols., and [most complete] 1730, 4 vols. fol.). "This work was composed in a great degree out of the materials already used by the author in the notes, dissertations, and prefaces of his great work, the Commentaire Litterale. The first translation of it appeared in 1732, in three large and costly folio volumes, executed by two clergymen, Samuel d'Oyley and John Colson, the former of whom translated to the letter M, and the other to the end of the book. This translation formed the great treasury from which were drawn the materials of the large number of lesser dictionaries of the Bible which subsequently appeared. These exhibited little more diversity from each other than such as naturally arises where persons of different habits of mind form different abridgments of the same work, the original or new matter being chiefly constituted by the interspersion of doctrinal articles in support of the particular views which the compiler entertained. At length a new edition of Calmet was undertaken by Mr. Charles Taylor, and appeared in 1795 in four, and in later editions in five, quarto volumes. This was a very eccentric performance, composed thus: two volumes consisted of an abridgment of Calmet, one volume of engravings, and two volumes of 'Fragments.' These fragments contained a sprinkling of useful matter drawn from histories and travels; but three fourths of the whole consist of singularly wild and fanciful speculations respecting mythology, ethnology, natural history, antiquities, and sundry other matters, and are replete with unsound learning, outrageous etymologies, and the vagaries of an undisciplined intellect. Calmet, thus transformed, and containing as much of the editor as of the original author, has in its turn formed the basis of nearly all the Biblical dictionaries which have since appeared, including a very painstaking digest of the more useful parts of Taylor's matter incorporated with the dictionary under one alphabet, the whole abridged into one volume royal 8vo, which appeared in 1832. This work was in the same year reproduced in Boston, under the supervision of Dr. E. Robinson, who made some few but valuable additions to particular articles" (Kitto). Calmet's own dictionary is still a standard work with Roman Catholics, and a modified edition of it is incorporated into the extensive series of Dictionaires Chretiennes lately published by the Abbe Migne at Paris. It never was a profound work, however, and has now so far fallen behind the progress of Biblical science as to be of little use to the student beyond mere textual purposes.

(2.) Although the work of Calmet was the most learned and practically useful of all similar productions that had hitherto appeared, yet the partial standpoint of the author rendered it unsuited to the enlarged demands of the present age, which, with the superficiality and want of plan in: later works, had brought performances of this kind into some disrepute; and it was reserved for Dr. G. B. Winer (q.,v.), a learned theologian of Leipsic, to restore them to their former credit by his Biblisches Real-worterbuch (Leipz. 1820,2 vols. 8vo), of which a second and improved edition was published in 1833-38, and a third, still further enlarged, in 1848. This is a wholly original work, executed in the most careful and scholarly manner, and nearly exhaustive, although in a very condensed form, of the classical and earlier modern illustrations of Biblical topics. It is a masterly performance of its kind, and has been of very great service in the compilation of the present Cyclopaedia. "The sphere of Winer's work is, however, narrowly drawn, being designed altogether for students. The 'critical treatment in it is of a very unequal character, and many of the subjects examined in its pages, especially in the department of natural history; have little relation to the Bible."' Similar publications by various other writers have been produced on the Continent of Europe, but they cannot be regarded as exhibiting equal claims to scientific criticism or well- considered arrangement. Several of these will be noticed below.

(3.) A great advance on all predecessors, constituting, it may be said, a new era in the history of the subject, is marked by the appearance (Edinb. 1845, 2 vols. 8vo) of the Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature, edited by John Kitto, D.D. (q.v.), chiefly from the contributions of original articles by forty writers, including many of the most eminent theologians and Biblical scholars of Protestantism in Great Britain, Germany, and America; a duplicate edition was also issued in this country (N. Y. 1852). This work not only covers a larger range of topics connected with the Bible, in its archeology and introduction, but also handles each subject with a freshness and ability previously unattempted. In the biography of Biblical characters, a department mostly occupied by the editor himself, the narratives are invested with an interest like modern history. The geography and history of the Bible are fundamentally investigated anew. The details of Biblical criticism are given with clearness, accuracy, and considerable copiousness. For the first (and we may almost say the only) time, the difficulties of the natural history of the Bible are here vigorously grappled with by persons (Dr. Royle in the department of Oriental botany, and Col. C. Hamilton Smith in that of Biblical zoology) competent in modern science to throw light upon them. Oriental customs are diligently and carefully explored, and old errors scrupulously weeded out. A tolerably complete view of the literature of each subject is also usually given. In short, an earnest, liberal, and judicious scholarship is brought to bear upon every topic (with but few exceptions) that are appropriate to the scope of such a work. It has been the basis of a large number of important Biblical articles in this Cyclopaedia. The only serious drawback upon its general value is a tendency to prolixity, and in some cases to a speculative vein, together with the almost inevitable consequences of a multiplicity of authors, leading to omissions in some cases and discrepancies in others. The edition of 1856, although professing to be "carefully revised" by Dr. Burgess, altogether failed to remedy these defects, being printed from the same stereotype plates, with the change of a few pages and am unimportant sentence here and there, very many of the most palpable errors being left uncorrected. A really new and greatly augmented edition has now (Edinb. 1862-5, 3 vols. royal 8vo) been carried through the press by Dr. J. L. Alexander, with the aid of a number of scholars, which, while substantially a reprint of many of the old articles, has large additions of new ones, especially the biographies of eminent Biblical writers, thus more fully realizing the special title of the work. The articles on Biblical geography and criticism are also brought down to the present state of investigation.

(4.) The only remaining work which for originality and research deserves to be mentioned in comparison with the foregoing is the Dictionary of the Bible (Lond. 1860-4, 3 vols. 8vo), edited by Wm. Smith, LL.D., of the University of London, and consisting, like the preceding, of articles prepared afresh by fifty-three eminent English and American scholars, although the names appended to the several articles are not always those of persons so well known to be proficients in the topics assigned them. The work is of a very elaborate and learned character, and has been peculiarly available in the preparation of the present Cyclopaedia from the fact that it seems to avoid as much as possible the line of treatment pursued by Kitto's. It has the advantage of the latter in a more copious vocabulary, especially in the less important Biblical names, and in bringing down the investigations to a later date, but is far from excelling it in point of clearness and coherence of style, while it is rather the inferior in opulence of matter and in comprehensiveness. The topographical details are particularly well treated; those relating to natural science are by no means so satisfactory. The articles are, with a very few exceptions, terse and compact, with a tendency, however, to expansion as the work advances. It contains an immense body of very valuable information, to a large degree new, and for the most part well digested, and admirably supplements the stock accumulated by previous efforts in the same line. Like the preceding, it is characterized by a liberal tone of theological sentiment.

(5.) The Imperial Bible Dictionary by Rev. P. Fairbairn, D.D., with numerous coadjutors (Edinb. 1865 sq., 2 vols. imperial 8vo), is of a more popular character, and not so extensive in its general range as those named above. It is, however, entirely evangelical in sentiment. Its cuts, a number of which have been borrowed in this Cyclopaedia are particularly fine. It adds, moreover, some new items to the investigations of its predecessors.

(6.) A new Bibel-Lexikon is announced in Germany, to be edited by Dr. Daniel Schenkel, with the cooperation of Drs. Bruch, Diestel, Dillmann, Fritzsche, Gass, Hausrath, Hitzig, Holzmann, Keim, Lipsius, Merx, Reuss, Roskoff, Schwarz, Schweizer, and other eminent Biblical scholars. These names give promise of thorough and original research, but of Rationalistic views. The work is to be comprised in 4 vols. 8vo. What has thus far appeared (Leipzig, 1868) does not afford much new material or literature.

Other Biblical dictionaries entitled to special notice as containing much original and useful matter are: P. Ravanel, Bibliotheca Sacra (Genev. 1660, fol.); J. H. Otho, Lex. Rabbinico-philologicum (Genesis 1675, 12mo; with additions by J. F. Zacharia, Kiel, 1757, 8vo); A. Rechenbergii Hierolexicon reale collectum (Lips. et Francf. 1714, 2 vols.); the Dictionnaire Universel, Dogmatique, Canonique, Historique, et Chronologique des Scienceg Ecclesiastiques, et avec dss Sermons abreges des plus celibres Orateurs Chretiens, par le P. R. Richard, et autres Religieux Dominicains, etc. (Paris, 1760-64, 5 vols.); J. Brown (of Haddington), Dictionary of the Holy Bible (London, 1769, 2 vols. 8vo, and often since; also N.Y. 8vo); W. F. Hezel, Biblisches Real-Lexikon (Leipsic, 1783-85, 3 vols. 4to); F. G. Leun, Bibl. Encyklopadie (Gotha, 1793-98, 4 vols. 4to); C. G. Haupt, Bibl. Real. u. Verbal-Encyklopädie (Quedlinb. 1820-7, 3 vols. 8vo); W. Goodhue and W. C. Taylor, Pictorial Dictionary of the Holy Bible (London, 1843, 2 vols. sm. fol.); J. A. Bastow, Biblical Dictionary (Lond. 1848, 3 vols. 12mo; condensed edition, Lond. 1859, 12mo); H. Zeller, Biblisches Worterbuch (Stuttg. 1855-8, 2 vols. large 8vo); Krehl, New-Test. Handworterbuch (Gott. 1857, 8vo). Of less importance in this respect are the following: T. Wilson, Complete Christian Dictionary (Lond. 1661, fol.); J. C. Beck, Vollstand. bibl. Wirterbuch (Basel, 1770, 2 vols. fol.); J. A. Dalmasius, Dictionarium manuale Biblicum (Aug. Vind. 1776, 2 vols. 8vo); A. Macbean, Dictionary of the Bible (Lond. 1779, 8vo); P. Oliver, Scripture Lexicon (Birmingham, 1784, 8vo; London, 1843, 18mo); G. L. Gebhardt, Biblisches Worterb. (Lemgo, 1793-6, 3 vols. 8vo); 1M. C. F. Schneider, Wirterb. ib. d. Bibel (Lpz. 1795-1817, 4 vols. 8vo); J. Robinson, Theolog., Biblical and Ecclesiastes Dictionary (Lond. 1815, 8vo; also 1835); J. C. Vollbeding, Bibl. Worterb. (Berl. 1800-5, 3 vols. 8vo); C. A. Wahl, Bibl. Handworterb. (Lpz. 1828, 2 vols. 8vo); W. Jones, Biblical Cyclopoedia (Lond. 1831, 2 vols. 8vo); R. Watson, Biblical and Theol. Dictionary (Lond. 1831, royal 8vo; N. Y. also Nashville, 8vo); C. L.Walbrecht, Biblisch. Worterbuch (Gott. 1837, 8vo); S. Green, Biblical and Theol. Dictionary (London, 1840, 1860,12mo); J. Gardner, Christian Cyclopoedia (Edinb. n. d. 8vo); A. C. Hoffmann, Allgem. Volks- Bibellexikon (Lpz. 1842 sq., 4to); J. Eadie, Biblical Cyclopaedia (2d ed. 1849, 8vo); J. P. Lawson, Bible Cyclopedia (London, 1849, 3 vols. royal 8vo); F. C. Oetinger, Biblisches Worterb. (Stuttg. 1849, 8vo); J. Farrar, Biblical and Theolog. Dictionary (Lond. 1852, 12mo); H. Malcom, Dictionary of the Bible (London, 1854, 18mo); J. A. Bost, Dictionaire de la Bible (Paris, 1865, 8vo); J. Ayre, Treasury of Bible Knowledge (London, 1866, small 8vo); H. Besser, Bibl. Woirterbuch (Gotha, 1866, 8vo); J. Hamburger, Biblisch-talmudisches Wirterbuch (Strelitz, 1866 sq., 8vo); with many others of still less extent or importance in this country as well as in Europe. The strictly Biblical articles contained in the general Cyclopaedias, as a class, are usually too meager to deserve particular attention in this comparison.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

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