By: Richard Gottheil
Collections of articles in alphabetical order treating of the various biographical, archeological, geographical, and other subjects of the Bible. Up to within quite recent times Jews have taken very little part in such work. The earliest attempt at anything like a Bible dictionary is the work of Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea (d. 340), on the geographical names mentioned in the Old and New Testaments, entitled Περὶ τῶν Τοπικῶν Ονομάτων τῶν ἐν τῃ Θείᾳ Γραφῇ (ed. Lagarde, in "Onomastica Sacra," 2d ed., 1887; republished by Klostermann in "Texte und Uebersetz." viii. 2). To this must be added the "Onomasticon" of Biblical proper names in Greek, also published by Lagarde. Jerome's "Liber Interpretationis Hebraicorum Nominum" and "De Situ et Nominibus Locorum Hebraicorum Liber" (ed. Lagarde, l.c.) are based on the work of Eusebius. The work of the Spanish priest Arias Montanus, entitled "Communes et Familiares Hebraicæ Linguæ," etc. (Antwerp, 1572), contains a large amount of material which, if put in alphabetical sequence, might have made a Biblical dictionary. Even the interest aroused in the Bible by the Reformation and the Humanist development (see Humanists) was largely philological in character; but the works of learned French, Dutch, and English Orientalists had brought out a large amount of material dealing with the social life of the Israelites, and the travels of some of them had increased the interest in the East as the best aid to an exposition of Biblical times. The first successful attempt to compile a dictionary of the Bible was made by the polyhistor and Protestant theologian Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638), who wrote a universal encyclopedia and a "Triumphus Bibliorum Sacrorum seu Encyclopædia Biblica," Frankfort, 1625. Not many years later P. Ravenilli published his "Bibliotheca Sacra seu Thesaurus Scripturæ Canonicæ" (Geneva, 1650; 2d ed., 1660), which is in the proper form of a dictionary. This work might rather be called a dictionary to the Vulgate, just as the extract made of it in English, "A Complete Christian Dictionary of the O. and N. Test.," by Thomas Wilson, John Bagwell, and Andrew Simon (London, 1661), is rather a concordance to the English Bible. In 1693 J. Simon published at Lyons a "Dictionarium Biblicum," which was reprinted several times, the last in 1717. Simon, however, was ignorant of Hebrew, and it was for the purpose of correcting the many mistakes in his dictionary that the epoch-making work of Augustin Calmet, "La Sainte Bible en Latin et en François avec un Commentaire Littéral et Critique" (23 vols., Paris, 1707), was published. See Calmet, Augustin.
Calmet's dictionary, translated into English by D'Oyley and Colson (1732), was republished with many additions by Charles Taylor (London, 1793), but with the omission of all the rabbinic and Catholic material; and it reached an eighth edition in 1841. In a condensed form it was edited by Edward Robinson (7th ed., Boston, Mass., 1832-35). Calmet's dictionary was incorporated in the series of theological encyclopedias edited by Abbé Migne; and not only the text, but the illustrations also have served until quite recently to illustrate books dealing with the Bible or with the Jews. Upon Calmet is based also Daniel Schneider's "Allg. Bibl. Lexikon" (3 vols., Frankfort, 1728-31), containing much material from Geiers, Carpzov, Buxtorf, Bochart, Lightfoot, Selden, and Vitringa. Though very diffuse, this represents the first German attempt at a Bible dictionary, some of the articles being of special Jewish interest; e.g., "Falsche Messias," "Falsche Christen," and "Gebot," in which last Schneider has added an incomplete list in German of the 613 commandments. W. F. Hezel's "Bibl. Reallexikon" (3 vols., Leipsic, 1783-85) also depends upon Calmet.
The rise of the critical school, especially as represented at Halle by the two Michaelis, Semler, Eichhorn, etc., finds its expression in the "Biblische Encyclopädic," published at Gotha (1793-98) by a company of learned scholars, which work, however, was never finished. The Gotha encyclopedia was completely overshadowed by G. B. Winer's "Biblisches Realwörterbuch" (2 vols., Leipsic, 1820, 1833, 1847), which has remained a standard work almost down to the present day. A number of popular presentations appeared in Germany during the first half of the nineteenth century; for example:
- 1829. Wörlein.—Encyk. Wörterbuch der Bibl. Grund-Realien. Nuremberg.
- 1836. Allgem. Wörterb. der Heil. Schrift. (Catholic). Regensburg.
- 1837. Gemmerli and Löhn.—Encyk. der Bibelkunde. Leipsic.
- 1846-50. Von Hoffmann and Redslob.—Allg. Volksbibellexikon. Ib.
- 1849. F. C. Oetinger.—Bibl. Wörterb. (purely theological). Stuttgart.
- 1856. H. Zeller.—Bibl. Wörterb. 2d ed. 1866; 3d ed. 1884.
The last-named was a protest against the rationalism of Winer and of Redslob (who followed Vatke's Biblical criticism). It was, however, fast becoming apparent that no more than an encyclopedia, could a real Bible dictionary be compiled by one man. The "Real-Encyklopädic für Protestantische Theologic und Kirche," edited by Herzog and a number of leading German scholars (Stuttgart, 1852-62; 2d ed., by Herzog and Plitt, 1877-88; 3d ed., by A. Hauck, 1896 et seq.), while not strictly a Bible dictionary, contains many valuable articles dealing with Biblical subjects and personages. Germany has, in modern times, published two Bible dictionaries in condensed form; namely, those of Schenkel and C. A. Riehm. Schenkel's "Bibel-Lexikon" (5 vols., 1869-75) was written in large part by Diestel, Dillmann, Hitzig, Holtzman, Merx, Nöldeke, Graf, Reuss, and Schrader. It omits subjects which are of minor importance. Riehm was assisted in his "Handwörterb. des Bibl. Alterthums" (2 vols., 1874) by Beischlag, Delitzsch, Ebers, Diestel, Kautzsch, Schrader, and others (2d ed., by F. Baethgen, 1894). Of other and more popular dictionaries published in Germany may be cited the following:
- 1714. Ad. Rechenberg.—Hierolexicon Reale Collectum. 2 vols. Leipsic and Frankfort.
- 1776. J. A. Dalmasius.—Dict. Manuale Biblicum. 2 vols. Augsburg.
- 1793-96. G. L. Gebhardt.—Bibl. Wörterb. 3 vols. Lemgo.
- 1820-27. C. G. Haupt.—Bibl. Real und Verbal Encyk. 3 vols. Quedlinburg.
- 1828. C. A. Wahl.—Bibl. Handwörterb. 2 vols. Leipsic.
- 1837. C. L. Walbrecht.—Bibl. Wörterb. Göttingen.
- 1842. A. C. Hoffmann.—Allgem. Volksbibellexikon. Leipsic.
- 1866. H. Besser.—Bibl. Wörterb. Gotha.
The first to break away from Calmet in England was John Kitto. He recast the whole work, being assisted by such scholars as Hävernick, Tholuck, Reginald Stuart Poole, and William Wright, and published "A Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature" (Edinburgh, 1843-45; 2d ed. by Burgess). The whole was rewritten for the third edition by William Lindsay Alexander (Philadelphia, 1865), with especial reference to the religion, literature, and archeology of the Hebrews. For the first time the scope of such dictionaries was enlarged by the addition of lives of prominent Biblical scholars and of articles upon distinctively Jewish subjects (e.g., "Elijah Levita," "Jewish Printers," "Albelda," "Dunash," "Yosippon," "Tanḥuma," "Talmud," "Satanow," "Rashbam"). Among those contributing to this work were Bialloblotzky, Cairns, Samuel Davidson, Emanuel Deutsch, Farrar, Geikie, and D. Ginsburg. Potter's "Complete Bible Encyclopedia" (ed. William Blackwood, 3 vols., Philadelphia, 1875) was based upon Kitto and Ayre (see list). It is a Church dictionary as well as a Biblical one. J. A. Bartow's "Biblical Dict." (2 vols., London, 1845) was popular in character, but did not go further than the letter "L."
Much more scholarly than Kitto's dictionary is the "Dict. of the Bible," published by W. Smith and Aldis Wright (London, 1860). This was frankly stated to be not a dictionary of theology, but a Bible dictionary according to the Authorized Version. It was non-controversial; in certain cases it has several articles treating one and the same subject from diferent points of view. It was the first dictionary to contain a complete list of proper names in the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. The first volume was republished in two parts (1893) with the help of Driver, Naville, Westcott, Ryle, Tristram, Wilson, etc. The first edition was republished in Boston (1863), and again by H. B. Hackett and Ezra Abbot in New York (1871). An abridgment, made by Smith himself, appeared at Hartford (1868). P. Fairbairn's "Imperial Bible Dict." (Edinb., 1865) is more popular in character and more theological. McClintock and Strong's "Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature " (12 vols., New York, 1867-87; rev. ed., 1895) has justly had a great vogue in the United States. It contains nearly all the material to be found in previous dictionaries, and a large number of articles dealing with rabbinical theology and rabbinical writers. Philip Schaff's name is connected with two Bible dictionaries: one published in Philadelphia and New York in 1880 (Italian translation by Enrico Meille, Florence, 1891), and a larger "Religious Encyclopædia: or Dictionary of Biblical, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical Theology," based largely upon Herzog and Plitt's "Real-Encyc." To this he added an "Encyclopedia of Living Divines," the whole being published in a third edition (4 vols.) by Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1891.Robertson Smith.
Mention should be made here of the ninth edition of the "Encyclopædia Britannica." With Robertson Smith as editor, it is natural that it should contain a large number of articles dealing with the Bible, and largely written by Smith himself (see "Encyc. Bibl." Preface, p. vii.). The articles on Jewish literature were written by S. M. Schiller-Szinessy. It was Smith's intention to republish the Biblical articles, and, with the help of other scholars, to form an "Encyclopedia Biblica." The immense mass of archeological and critical material gathered since the appearance of the "Britannica" made this impossible; but the project paved the way for the "Encyc. Bibl." of T. K. Cheyne and T. S. Black (4 vols., New York and London, 1899 et seq.). All the leading Biblical scholars are contributors to this work, which reaches the highest standard of accuracy and completeness; but it has one great drawback in that it gives too much attention to conjectural Biblical criticism. The "Dict. of the Bible," published at the same time by J. Hastings in conjunction with John A. Selbic, A. B. Davidson, S. R. Driver, and H. B. Swete (4 vols., New York, 1898-1902), is meant for intelligent laymen as well as for scholars, and therefore contains much less purely technical matter. It contains also articles on specifically Jewish subjects written by W. Bacher and other Jewish scholars.
By the side of these works must be placed the "Dict. de la Bible," now in course of publication by F. Vigouroux (Paris, 1895 et seq.). Containing the work of a number of Catholic scholars and prefaced by an encyclical of Pope Leo XIII., this dictionary is an authoritative Catholic presentation. It embraces a number of subjects dealing with the theology and history of the Church; and it endeavors to combat from the Catholic standpoint modern Biblical criticism. The care employed in its compilation and the richness of its illustrations make it a valuable addition to the list of Biblical reference-books.
There are only three dictionaries by Jewish scholars to be recorded here. Ezekiel b. Joseph Mandelstamm compiled ("Sefer ha-Shemot," Warsaw, 1889) an alphabetic account in Hebrew of all persons and places mentioned in the Bible. In 1896 A. H. Rosenberg commenced the publication of a Bible dictionary in Hebrew, "Oẓar ha-Shemot." No topics or general subjects were treated, but only proper names and words occurring in the Hebrew text. The publication ceased after two parts had been issued (New York, 1896-99). A far more ambitious attempt is the "Real-Encyc. des Judenthums, Wörterb. für Gemeinde, Schule und Haus," of J. Hamburger, the first part of which (Strelitz, 1874) is devoted to the Bible. Hamburger attempts to treat the Biblical subjects entirely from a Jewish point of view, and with continual reference to the Talmud and Midrash, often with a practical end in view, as many of the topics treated were the subject of controversy within the Jewish body. Unfortunately, his references are not exact.
Quite different in character from all those above mentioned is James Inglis' "Bible Text Cyclopædia" (Philadelphia, 1877). This is a topical classification of Bible texts, the wording of which is given in full. A shorter work, but upon similar lines, is the "Bible Text-Book," published by the American Tract Society (n.d.). The following list comprises the chief Bible dictionaries published in modern times for more general use:
- 1769. J. Brown.—Dict. of the Holy Bible. 2 vols. London.
- 1779. A. Macbean.—Dict. of the Bible. Ib.
- 1784. P. Oliver.—Scripture Lexicon. Birmingham; London, 1843.
- 1793-98. F. G. Lenn.—Bibl. Encyc. 4 vols. Gotha.
- 1815-35. J. Robinson.—Theological, Biblical, and Ecclesiastical Dict. London.
- 1816. J. Brown.—Dict. of the Holy Bible. 2 vols., Albany; 1 vol., New York, 1846.
- 1829. W. Gurney.—Pocket Dict. of the Holy Bible. London.
- 1831. W. Jones.—Bibl. Cyc. 2 vols. Ib.
- 1831. R. Watson.—Bibl. and Theol. Dict. London.
- 1839, 1855. F. A. P.—Union Bible Dict. Philadelphia.
- 1840, 1860. S. Green.—Bibl. and Theol. Dict. London.
- 1848, 1849, 1853. J. Eadie.—Bibl. Cyc. London; Philadelphia, 1902.
- 1849. J. G. Lawson.—Bibl. Cyc. 3 vols. London.
- 1850. Alfred Jones.—Proper Names of the O. T. Scriptures Expounded and Illustrated. London.
- 1852. J. Farrar.—Bibl. and Theol. Dict. London.
- 1854. H. Malcolm.—Dict. of the Bible. Ib.
- 1859, 1886. Dict. of the Holy Bible for General Use. American Tract Soc., New York.
- 1863. G. S. Bowen.—Manual of Illustrations Gathered from Scriptural Figures, etc. New York.
- 1865. J. A. Bost.—Dict. de la Bible. Paris.
- 1866. J. Ayre.—Treasury of Bible Knowledge. London.
- 1877. James Inglis.—Bible Text Cyc. Philadelphia.
- 1880. Manrique Alonzo Lallave.—Diccionario Biblico. Part i. Seville.
- 1893. Edwin N. Rice.—People's Dict. of the Bible. Philadelphia.
- 1903. H. Guthe.—Kurzes Bibl. Wörterb. Tübingen and Leipsic.
- n.d. W. Goodhue and W. C. Taylor—Pictorial Dict. of the Holy Bible.
- n.d. Index to the Holy Bible. American Sunday School Union, Philadelphia.
- n.d. Bible Text-Book. American Tract Soc.
- Diestel, Gesch. des Alten Test. pp. 577 et seq.;
- McClintock and Strong, Cyc. ii. 787, xii. 278;
- T. H. Horne, Manual of Biblical Bibliography, pp. 369-372, London, 1839.