NIDB – is it better than the ABD?

NIDB – is it better than the ABD? June 4, 2008

The NIDB is the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible is a five-volume set (two currently released) from Abingdon (2006-?) which supposedly covers every major person, place, and topic in the Bible with an emphasis on theological concepts and based on the NRSV.  It is/will be written by 900 scholars from 40 countries and across a wide range of denominations and christian affiliations.  What is distinctive about it is that it is geared towards the pastor/rabbi – and the presentation of the book is very neat and inviting.  It is, obviously shorter than the Anchor Bible Dictionary, but it also contains end-of-article bibliographies.

Is it better?  In this topsy-turvy post-modern world, who’s to say what’s ‘better’ 🙂  Let’s just say, for the audience it is aiming at, it is a real gem.  On a personal note, I noticed that the contributors are quite diverse, but there are a decent number of evangelicals – something a bit rare in the Anchor series in my recollection.  The ABD tends, I think, to be more historical-critical (which is great).  The NIDB tends to be more ‘theological’ (which is also great).  So, its good to have both!

I just received the second volume (letters D-H) in the post today.  Before I share with you my thoughts on the second volume, let me give you a sampling of the first one (A-C).

In A-C we have such topics as

‘Abraham, OT’ T. Fretheim

‘Acts of the Apostles’ B. Gaventa

‘Afterlife’ Alan Segal

‘Altar’ Bruce Chilton

‘Anthropology, NT’ Jerry Sumney

‘Apocalypticism’ C. Rowland (THIS ONE IS REALLY GOOD)

‘Authorship, NT’ P. Achtemeier

‘Body’ Joel Green

‘Christology’ Larry Hurtado

‘Colossians’ J.D.G. Dunn

‘Corinthians, First Letter to the’ A. Thiselton

‘Covenant’ John Goldingay

‘Cross’ Michael Gorman

NOW, the 2nd volume is D_H and also contains a good number of interesting articles including

‘Death of Christ’ J.B. Green

‘Education, NT’ Rainer Riesner

‘Ephesians, Letter to the’ Max Turner

‘Eschatology of the NT’ Dale Allison

‘Faith, faithfulness’ J.D.G. Dunn

‘Forgiveness’ S. Westerholm

‘Fulfillment’ Warren Carter

‘Galatians, Letter to the’ Marion Soards

‘Glory, glorify’ Carey Newman

‘Gospel, Message’ M. Eugene Boring

‘Grace’ S. Westerholm

‘Healing’ J.B. Green

‘Hebrews, Letter to the’ D. deSilva

‘Holy, holiness, OT’ Jacob Milgrom

I will report more as I interact with this great reference set more and more.

I welcome comments from those who own either or both volumes and have thoughts.

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  • How much shorter than ABD is it? I looked at the Amazon entry and at 1000 pages it is pretty big and if it’s the same form factor as the New Interpreter’s Commentary it is physically larger than ABD so there should be more words per page unless the font is correspondingly larger as well. Does “neat and inviting” mean a larger font? I will have to have a look in store if I can find one.

  • Ben

    Here’s a weird thing about ABD–there’s no entry on ‘glory’. You would think with all the OT and NT uses it would get something. Otherwise, I like it.