by Merrill C. Tenney, J. D. Douglas
Hardcover, 1584 pp.
The Bible is a big book, and since the nineteenth century, many big Bible dictionaries have been published to assist readers and students of the Bible to understand important words, concepts and background information. The most recent effort in the field of Bible dictionaries is the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary
(ZIBD). This dictionary is Moisés Silva’s substantial revision and expansion of Zondervan’s previous Bible dictionaries, the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary
(ed. Merrill C. Tenney) and the New International Bible Dictionary
(ed. J. D. Douglas).
ZIBD is, in all technical aspects, quite well done. The full color photographs, maps, and charts are helpful without being overdone so as to dominate the text. The introduction is entirely correct when it says that “the new artistic design and use of fonts greatly enhance the attractiveness and clarity of the work” (v). In the articles I compared with the original Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, the changes in wording improved the clarity. One other commendable point is that the publisher has kept the price affordable for such a large volume, as well as making a Kindle version available for those who prefer an ebook.
The introduction notes that ZIBD “may be regarded to some extent as an abbreviated version of its multivolume cousin,” the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, and the reader is referred to the larger work for more argumentation, documentation, and bibliographic information. Nevertheless, I found the articles to be adequate in depth, and the 7,200 entries were superbly comprehensive in breadth. One can find information on any person or place in the Bible. Many, many doctrinal topics are introduced. One can even find an occasional foray into church history (s.v. “Apostolic Fathers,” although I wonder about the relevance of a full entry on Valentinus to a Bible dictionary). read more