Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Guides to biblical reference books

Surveys describing and evaluating available books help one know "where to look" for the best in Biblical helps.

The most comprehensive survey of recent biblical reference books is:

Commentary & Reference Survey: a comprehensive guide to Biblical and theological resources by John Glynn, 2003 by Kregel Publications. It is complete, concise and the single most useful such reference. It attempts to note the theological stance of each author and highlights what he considers to be higher quality references. Some he tagged as "liberal/critical" -- such as Wenham on Leviticus -- well, I didn't notice it.

Also recent is Old Testament Commentary Survey, third edition, by Tremper Longman III, published by Baker Academic and InterVarsity Press, 2003. A paragraph about each book. I personally appreciate the added perspective. The 1995 second edition includes more analysis of a wider range of reference books related to the O.T, such as atlases, whereas the newer one limits itself to commentaries.

New Testament Commentary Survey, fifth edition, by D. A. Carson, published by Baker Academic and InterVarsity Press, 2001. Erudite analysis. Information conveyed in long paragraphs.

The authors of these references seem to be aware that their keenest readers may be looking for the best in conservative [i.e. Scripture-honoring] scholarship.

I also happen to have a 1981 second edition of John Goldingay's Old Testament Commentary Survey ... useful for those, like myself, who often buy books used.

With any of these references it is important to read the author's explanation of how it was designed to be used. Typically much information is encapsulated in abbreviations, et cetera.

-- Jeffrey Caldwell

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