Thus Saith The Dictionary

This comic from Robot Hugs explores some of the many reasons why students should not start an essay with “Webster’s Dictionary defines X as…” I had been thinking about blogging on this topic even before the cartoon was drawn to my attention, and so I decided to share it and offer some thoughts on the subject. The [Read More...]

Quote for the Start of Semester

The quote from Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, comes from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation.” The same can be said of the dictionary – I find it hard to believe that I get students starting essays with “Webster’s Dictionary defines…” – or worse still, [Read More...]

A New Dictionary of Mandaic

Matthew Morgenstern's paper was about his work to produce a new Mandaic lexicon. Much of the talk focused on shortcomings in the Drower-Macuch dictionary, which the current work by Morgenstern seeks to build and improve upon. The photo below indicates the contrast between the image produced from the microfilm of a particular text which suffered [Read More...]

Urban Dictionary Definition of the Bible

A student shared the above with me. All these years teaching the Bible, how did I miss the bestiality? The depiction of it as a novel, as though the entire thing were a single piece of literature in a single genre, is also well off target. But presumably the point (however much one may criticize [Read More...]

The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism

I am grateful to Eerdmans for sending me a free review copy of The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. A dictionary is particularly hard to review, and so no futile attempt will be made here to do justice to the full range of contents and contributors. Among those most directly related to my research interests [Read More...]