— Biography and Sources —
(Note that many of the following books sell very inexpensively at Amazon's used books section)
🔼Books we refer to on (pretty much) every page:
- HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: A Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, written by 46 contributors and edited by R. Laird Harris, Gleason J. Archer, Jr. and Bruce K. Waltke. Published by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago in 1980. Pleasantly written and conveniently organized. An excellent dictionary for beginning students of Biblical Hebrew. Sadly though: this dictionary omits almost all Biblical names.
- BDB Theological Dictionary: The globally recognized standard dictionary of Biblical Hebrew: A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Francis Brown, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. Based on William Gesenius brilliant work. Published first in 1906 by the Oxford University Press and reprinted time and again. This dictionary contains nearly all Biblical names but offers an interpretation only rarely. Very helpful, however, is BDB's propensity to list Biblical names under the root they are suspected to derive from.
- NOBSE Study Bible Name List: The New Open Bible Study Edition. Based on the 1960 New American Standard Bible and published in 1990, this study Bible was among the first of its kind. Its 'Topical Index to the Bible' also contains almost all the names that occur in the Bible, accompanied by an unargumented and sometimes inexplicable or easily refutable translation.
- Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names: First published in 1856 by Samuel Bagster, the famous onomasticon of Alfred Jones draws heavily from the work of William Gesenius and explains names usually according to their textual context, preferable the context perceived by Jones' unstoppable enthusiasm. Most of Jones' methods are presently considered outdated and ultimately incorrect.
🔼Additional Hebrew Language
- Klein's Etymological dictionary of the Hebrew Language; A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary Of The Hebrew Language Ernest Klein, 1987, Carta Jerusalem, The University of Haifa.
- Botterweck's Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament in 11 volumes; 1974, William Eerdmans Publishing Company.
- Fuerst's Hebrew & Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament; 1867, Julius Fuerst, Samuel Davidson, Williams and Norgate, London.
- Gesenius's Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, 1825, William Gesenius, Samuel Bagster and sons, London.
- Spiros Zodhiates (The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary); The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary - New Testament, Spiros Zodhiates, 1992, AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers.
- A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Walter Bauer), William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, 1957, The University of Chicago Press.
- Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon; online at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu
- Marcus Jastrow Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi and Midrashic Literature, 1971, Judaica Treasury.
🔼Bible — General
Here at Abarim Publications we love scrounging around used book stores in search of decades-old Bible commentaries. Of course, Biblical criticism has changed drastically over the last century, but for some reason, older commentaries seem to handle Biblical material with a kind of reverence that newer works rarely display and even at times condemn. Scholars of the previous century seem to focus much on the humanity of the characters of Biblical stories, whereas modern scholars appear to be predominantly interested in the motivations and cultural context of the author(s) and/or editors of the stories. To us here at Abarim Publications, both are interesting. Here's a list, from new to old, of thoroughly worn-out and dog-eared works we frequently consult:
- T&T Clark Handbook of the Old Testament, Jan Christian Gertz, Angelika Berlejung, Konrad Schmid, Markus Witte, 2012, T&T Clark, New York, London.
- The Oxford Guide to Ideas & Issues of the Bible, Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, 2001, Oxford University Press.
- The Oxford History of the Biblical World, Michael D. Coogan, 1998, Oxford University Press.
- An Introduction to the Old Testament, Raymond B. Dillard, Tremper Longman III, 1994, Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan.
- The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce M. Metzger and Michael D. Coogan, 1993, Oxford University Press.
- The Oxford Study Bible, A complete guide to the world of the Bible; revised English Bible with the Apocrypha, M. Jack Suggs, Katherine Doob Sakenfeld, James R. Mueller, 1992, Oxford University Press.
- The indispensable Interlinear Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament in 4 volumes, Jay P. Green, Sr; 1976, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts. This recently re-released work gives the user easy access to the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts of the Bible, with English translations beneath every word and Strong's index numbers hovering over them.
- The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible, P. R. Ackroyd, A. R. C. Leany, J. W. Packer, 1965, Cambridge At The University Press. This wonderful series comes in several volumes.
- A Companion to the Bible, second edition, H. H. Rowley, 1963, T&T Clark, Edinburgh.
- An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament, S. R. Driver, 1957, Meridian Books, New York.
- De Boeken van het Oude Testament & De Boeken van het Nieuwe Testament in 24 volumes, various authors and editors, 1950-1973, J. J. Romen & Zonen, Roermond and Maaseik.
🔼Bible — Topic
And some more books that never stray far from the work floor:
- The Bible Handbook of Difficult Verses, a complete guide to answering the tough questions, Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell, 2013, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon.
- The Transformation of Biblical Proper Names, Joze Krasovec, 2010, T&T Clark, New York, London.
- The Book of Revelation, G. K. Beale, 1999, Eerdmans Publishing, Michigan.
- The Times Atlas of the Bible, James B. Pritchard, 1987, Times Books, London.
- Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, Fred H. Wight, 1953, Moody Press, Chicago.
🔼Jewish, Christian and Human history
Someone once said that the history of mankind is the history of the Jews, and the future of mankind is the future of the Jews. Here at Abarim Publications we're not so sure about that, but that's largely because the Jew is so difficult to define that it's easier to leave out all the labels and just go straight for the big picture. We humans think in words, which is why we think that we don't remember our first three years plus nine prenatal months, but of course we do. Our entire character was formed during those dark ages and our verbal memory is just the very thin icing on a very large cake. Our consicous thoughts are the flopping leaves of the much sturdier tree that is our mind, that grew over time and suddenly bloomed and was inspired, and which all started as a seed long ago.
- The Sacred Chain, a history of the Jews, Norman Cantor, 1994, Harper Collins.
- The Story of the Jews, Simon Schama, 2013, Vintage Books.
- Not In God's Name, Jonathan Sacks, 2015, Schocken Books
- The Jewish Century, Yuri Slezkine, 2004, Princeton University Press.
- Jesus and Yahweh, Harold Bloom, 2005, Riverhead Books.
- In The beginning; A short history of the Hebrew language, Joel, M. Hoffman, 2004, New York University Press.
- In Search of Paul, John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, 2004, Harper San Francisco.
- What did the Biblical writers know & when did they know it?, William G. Dever, 2001, Eerdmans Publishing, Michigan.
- In Search of the Phoenicians, Josephine Quinn, 2018, Princeton University Press.
- Christianity, the First Three Thousand Years, Diarmaid MacCulloch, 2009, Penguin Books.
- The First Signs, Genevieve von Petzinger, 2016, Simon & Schuster.
- 1177 BC, the Year Civilization Collapsed, Eric H. Cline, 2014, Princeton University Press.
- Homo Sapiens / Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari, 2014 / 2016, Vintage Books.
- Liberating the Gospels, John Shelby Spong, 1996, Harper One.
- The Historical Jesus, John Dominic Crossan, 1991, Harper San Francisco.
🔼Secular and Sideways
Here at Abarim Publications we seriously doubt that anyone is going to grasp the whole width and depth of the Bible anytime soon. Academic studies of the Bible become more and more comprehensive and the methods scholars devise to do so become more and more ingenious. Still, we've only seem to have scratched the surface of this inexplicable, enigmatic set of texts that was handed to us by antiquity.
The Bible dwarfs and darkens the Giza Plateau, the Nazca Lines and Stonehenge in compass and complexity. It contains information that we thought we didn't have until the twentieth century, and it stands to reason that the Bible contains information that we don't even know about yet. The Bible has baffled the intelligentsia of every age, and still manages to comfort even the most modestly capable reader.
People ask what the Bible is about. The answer is: everything. But what's the main objective of the Bible? The answer is: the preservation of life.
Trying to understand the Bible requires no less than an avid interest in everything else. We'd like to thank Heinz Pagels, James Gleick, Stephen Hawking, Stanislas Dehaene, Karen Armstrong, Steve Jones, Malcolm Gladwell, Calvin C. Clawson, Gordon Hugenberger, Paul Hoffman, Robert Kanigel, James Surowiecki, Jack Miles, Dean H. Hamer, Susan Cain, Antony Flew, Jacob Needleman, Bogoljub Sijakovic, Harold Bloom, Tony Attwood, Daniel Radosh, Peter Watson, Geoffrey West, Saifedean Ammous and many other fine and encouraging authors.
Thank you Richard Dawkins for pointing out what to look for. Thanks Bill Bryson for showing that we can be very serious by not being serious at all. Thank all of you who continuously report to have been touched by something that can't be touched, and describe something that can't be described.