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Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship) [Hardcover]

Joel B. Green/Scot McKnight/I. Howard Marshall , Joel B. Green , Scot McKnight
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Mar 1992 Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship
'The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels' is unique among
reference books on the Bible, the first volume of its kind since James
Hastings published his 'Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels' in 1909. In
the more than eight decades since Hastings our understanding of Jesus, the
Evangelists and their word has grown remarkably. New interpretive methods
have illumined the text, the ever-changing profile of modern culture has
put new questions to the Gospels, and our understanding of the Judaism of
Jesus' day has advanced in ways that could not have been predicted in
Hastings's day. But for many readers of the Gospels the new outlook on the
Gospels remains hidden within technical journals and academic monographs.

'The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels' bridges the gap between scholars
and those pastors, teachers, students and lay people desiring in-depth
treatment of select topics in an accessible and summary format. The topics
range from cross-sectional themes (such as faith, law, Sabbath) to methods
of interpretation (such as form criticism, redaction criticism,
sociological approaches), from key events (such as the birth, temptation
and death of Jesus) to each of the four Gospels as a whole. Some articles
- such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic traditions and revolutionary
movements at the time of Jesus - provide significant background information
to the Gospels. Others reflect recent and less familiar issues in Jesus
and the Gospel studies, such as divine man, ancient rhetoric and the
chreiai.

Contemporary concerns of general interest are discussed in articles
covering such topics as healing, the demonic and the historical reliability
of the Gospels. And for those entrusted with communicating the message of
the Gospels, there is an extensive article on preaching from the Gospels.

'The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels' presents the fruit of evangelical
New Testament scholarship at the end of the twentieth century - committed
to the authority of Scripture, utilising the best of critical methods, and
maintaining dialog with contemporary scholarship and challenges facing the
church.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: IVP (23 Mar 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851106463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851106465
  • Product Dimensions: 25.8 x 18 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Publisher

This superb volume of over 200 in-depth articles with
extensive bibliographies is destined to become the indispensable work of
reference on the gospels well into the twenty-first century.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly indispensable for New Testament study 7 Aug 2009
Format:Hardcover
IVP's `Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels' (DJG) is a fabulous, `must have' resource for studying Jesus himself as well as the Gospels. IVP have long been ardent supporters of biblical and theological study, offering a plethora of excellent books, and some software. DJG is just one of these titles.

Remembering that this dictionary focuses quite specifically on `Jesus and the Gospels', it's 900-page, large format size alone shows the breadth of modern scholarship available. (The list of contributors stretches to well over two pages.) However, since this is a dictionary it does not need to be read cover-to-cover, it can be just dipped into it whenever it's needed.

Although the scholarly input is dizzyingly enormous, none of the vast array of articles are "dry academia", they are all vibrant and modern (even though this is now 17 years old - gasp!) whilst still covering all the theological angles. This means you get the meat of the theology but can still follow the arguments; no mean feat and hugely important.

For instance: if you look up `Gospel', you may be surprised to find three entries: `Gospel (Genre)', `Gospel (Good News)' and `Gospels (Apocryphal)'. The first looks at what `category or type of literature [a Gospel is], such as biography or novel'. A five page investigation reveals that the Gospels are closely linked to a type of literature called `Greco-Roman... biography, but they also form a distinctive group [of their own]'. In other words, a Gospel is contemporary with its time but is also quite unique. Hurrah!

Following each article there is a `See also' note which lists other especially relevant articles within the dictionary, as well as a (usually) massive bibliography.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent reference source 25 July 2001
Format:Hardcover
I agree with the previous reviewer that this is more of an encyclopedia than a dictionary. The articles are in-depth focusing on major topics in the Gospels, with up to date referenced articles by experts in the field. However, the articles are still usable by those of us with no formal theological training. I use it for background information when preparing Bible Studies. The book on Paul and the Letters is of a similar high standard. I'm off to buy the latest two. And by the way, the International Bible Standard Encyclopedia is an old stalwart - great if you could find a cheap copy second hand.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent refference and background reading. 17 Feb 2001
Format:Hardcover
An easyly accesable sourse of in deapth information. More an encyclopedia than a dictionary, as most articles take up several pages. It is well presented, and clear. Useful for me as a reader and for my daugter doing A level R E. Very good value.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource - but don't make it the only one 26 Aug 2001
By Elizabeth G. Melillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Distinguished Discourses on Subjects related to the 4 Gospels 25 Aug 2006
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is book one of a four volume dictionary of the New Testament, and it's terrific. Most bible dictionaries are single volume works which encompass the entire canon of scripture. But because this book covers only the four gospels, the scholars were allowed to turn in more detailed articles. Many of them are outstanding. I really liked Ben Witherington's lengthy discussion about The Birth of Christ, and Harold Hoehner's Chronology of the life of Christ.

The article on the Geography and History of Israel was also a distinguished article, as were the articles on the death of Christ and the theology of Mark's Gospel.

This book represents the best of young evangelical scholarship circa 1992. This is a resource that can be read cover to cover, or it can be consulted occasionally when researching a sermon or a report.

I should also say that the other three volumes are also outstanding, and you can purchase them as a set, or you can purchase them (along with other great IVP resources) on a CD-Rom for around $125.

You can also get two Old Testament dictionaries covering the Pentateuch and the Historical Books. I can't say enough about the value of these books. Thumbs way up!!!

May 2008 update
Believe it or not, I actually read this 896 page dictionary from top to bottom on my laptop. And I didn't even get a ribbon :(

But what I did get was a tremendous amount of knowledge about all things related to Jesus and the four gospels. I finished this book wanting more! Standout articles include the one on the Birth of Jesus by Ben Witherington, the artiucle on the Chronology of events in the life of Christ by Harold Hoehner, the entries on the Trials of Jesus, the Synoptic Problem, the Genealogies of Jesus, the Death of Jesus in the Gospels, and the article about Wisdom.

I would say that in reality, this book is more of an encyclopedia than a dictionary. But it is terrific. And considering the great number of writers, there is an amazing amount of solidarity and agreement on the core issues in Gospel studies. Pretty much all the writers would affirm that the Gospel of Mark was written first, and that the Gospels are historically reliable, and that Jesus actually said the things the Gospels say he said.

I found myself in agreement with almost everything I read in this book. I should say that a handful of contributors probably fall outside the evangelical camp (Michael Wise, D.C Allison), but their entries are largely consistent with evangelical perspectives.

This is a great book, the most interesting dictionary I've ever read. It is the first of four published IVP Dictionaries of the New Testament. This particular dictionary was published in 1992, so the scholarship is starting to become slightly dated. But it is probably good for at least another 10-15.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Resource 24 Nov 1999
By J. Leman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am student taking a few classes at a seminary, but have no Greek background. Despite that, I have found this book to be an invaluable resource for indepth study of issues relating to the Gospels. This is a must have reference for anyone who loves the Bible and wants to understand the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus more. It is a great balance of thorough and concise.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's God sent 22 Sep 2000
By Stanislao Esposito - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
At first I couldn't understand what a Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospel could contain that a regular Bible Dictionary didn't have. Well, was I wrong. This is an invaluable book. Though the scholarship presented is more towards the "protestant"/evangelical (conservative?) side, I, as Catholic, have found it extremely useful.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the Kindle Version of This Book 4 April 2012
By Michael D. Gantt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have purchased all four of the IVP Dictionaries for the New Testament: two in print version (Dictionary of New Testament Background (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series) and Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)), and two in Kindle version (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series) and Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)). I am thoroughly pleased with the content in all four books. However, the Kindle versions are a big disappointment.

I've purchased Kindle books in the past and have been very pleased with them. I love the search function and I thought it might be particularly helpful for reference books like these. However, it's a little nightmarish. I'll try to spell the problems out in a list:

1. There are hardly any hyperlinks in the text. The Table of Contents will only take you to the first article under "A" or to the list of article entries. The list of article entries is not hyperlinked.

2. To find a given article, therefore you need to use the search function, but in book with this many words, the search lists come back too long. For example, if I want to look up the article on "Christology" I enter it as a search term, I get back a list of 100 items which I then have to dig through to find the one for the article. That is, every article that has the word "Christology" in it comes back with no easy way to sort them out from the one article on "Christology."

3. The Kindle search function is not intelligent. If I want to qualify my search by entering more than one word, it will only find two contiguous words. It won't find anything that has both words in the same sentence or on the same page.

4. There are hyphenated words in the middle of text which I assume means that they were originally hyphenated in the print version because they came at the end of a line. But in the conversion from print to Kindle, the words moved elsewhere but the hyphens were not removed. In a two-column reference works like these there are lots of hyphenated words. The search function thinks "combined" and "com-bined" are two different words so I have to search twice.

The combination of these four factors make the Kindle version much harder to navigate than a print version. This has never been a problem with any of the other Kindle books I've bought. I suppose this is something that applies only to large dictionaries like this, and I didn't anticipate it. It's very frustrating. Moreover, the discounted price for the Kindle edition is very slight. I thought the smaller discount meant that to have a Kindle version would be more valuable than usual. To think I could have had two print versions instead of these two Kindle versions for almost the same price is just very disappointing.

You're forewarned.
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