Dictionary of Biblical Imagery
Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

by eds. Ryken, Leland; Wilhoit, James C.; Longman III, Tremper; Duriez, Colin; Penney, Douglas; Reid, Daniel G.

4.75 Rank Score: 4.99 from 2 reviews, 0 featured collections, and 2 user libraries
Pages 1058
Publisher InterVarsity Press
Published 1998
ISBN-13 9780830814510
A Christianity Today 1999 Book of the Year!Every reader of the Bible has encountered the powerful, comforting and sometimes puzzling imagery of Scripture. These concrete pictures with their hidden force have struck sharp and lasting impressions on our minds. Their imprint has etched itself on the language and grammar of Christian faith and Western culture.Why then do traditional Bible dictionaries and reference works offer so little help to explorers of the Bible's galaxy of verbal pictures? They excel in describing the climate, borders and location of Galilee or Sinai. But they are often blind to the artistic expressions and deaf to the musical meanings that echo from within the world of the biblical text.The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery is the first contemporary reference work dedicated to exploring the images, symbols, motifs, metaphors and literary patterns found in the Bible. More than that, it examines the Bible's universal archetypes or master images--including the plot motifs and character types that recur throughout life, literature and the Bible.This unique dictionary explores the dazzling variety in which the Word of God comes dressed in clothes of everyday life. It traces the trail of images from Eden to the New Jerusalem. It captures the plotted patterns of biblical narrative. It surveys the imaged texture of each book of the Bible. In short, The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery is an inviting, enlightening and indispensable companion to the reading, study, contemplation and enjoyment of the Bible.


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This is no typical Bible dictionary. The editors set out to produce a reference book that would assist readers in exploring "the fascinating and varied world of the imagery, metaphors and archetypes of the Bible" (p. vii). The volume is a collaborative effort in that it combines the expertise of literary and biblical scholars. The editors have freely shaped and augmented the articles, blending together these scholars' perspectives, so that the articles are unsigned though a list of contributors appears as part of the book's front matter (pp. xi-xii). This will probably enhance the usefulness of the dictionary for the intended lay audience, although informed readers will most likely wish for more information on particular authors of individual articles. As expected in a dictionary of biblical imagery, one will find articles on "armor," "banquet," "eagle," "light," "lightning," etc. But one will also find articles here that can not be found in other Bible dictionaries (such as "black," "boldness," "darkness," "gestures," "lying down," "well, meeting at the," etc.). In addition, the volume contains helpful entries on topics of interest to literary critics, such as "character types," "plot motifs," "rhetorical patterns," etc. In this sense, the book's title is too restricted, since it provides more than a simple taxonomy of imagery On the other hand, typical articles such as "wall" or "tower" are also included, although they are much different from entries by that name in other Bible reference tools. Rather than archaeological and historical details, these articles focus on what the editors call "evocative dimensions" (p. [Full Review]