The Anchor Bible DictionaryIt’s often difficult to tell which encyclopedias and reference works you should rely on for academic biblical studies. There are a lot of “Bible Dictionaries” that are too shallow to be very useful, or that don’t reflect modern scholarship. One helpful tool is A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works by John F. Evans (10th edition; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016). But I’ve also compiled here an (incomplete) list of reference works that are academically reliable and useful in writing research essays on New Testament topics. Those marked with a plus (+) are especially useful.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

General

  • Coogan, Michael David. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible. The Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [link]
  • Freedman, David Noel, ed. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. 6 volumes. New York: Doubleday, 1992.+
  • Metzger, Bruce M., and Michael David Coogan. The Oxford Guide to People & Places of the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. [link]
  • Paget, James Carleton, and Joachim Schaper, eds. The New Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginnings to 600. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. [link]
  • Sakenfeld, Katherine Doob, ed. New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. 5 vols. Nashville: Abingdon, 2009.+
  • Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2019. [link]

Jesus and the Gospels

  • Green, Joel B., Jeannine K. Brown, Nicholas Perrin, ed. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2013.+ [link]
  • Harrington, Daniel J. Historical Dictionary of Jesus. Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements 102. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2010. [link]

Paul

  • Dunn, James D. G., ed. The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. [link]
  • Hawthorne, Gerald F.; Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, ed. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1993.+ [link]

Other NT Writings

  • Davids, Peter H., and Ralph P. Martin, ed. Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1997.+ [link]

Methods and Hermeneutics

  • Aune, David E., ed. Westminster Dictionary of New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Rhetoric. Westminster John Knox, 2003.
  • Hernando, James D. Dictionary of Hermeneutics: A Concise Guide to Terms, Names, Methods, and Expressions. Revised. Springfield, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 2012. [link]
  • McKenzie, Steven L. ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. [link]
  • Porter, Stanley E., ed. Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation. New York: Routledge, 2006. [link]
  • Ryken, Leland, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2010. [link]
  • Ryken, Leland. A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2014. [link]

Biblical Theology and Ethics

  • Alexander, T. Desmond, and Brian S. Rosner, ed. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Leicester/Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000.
  • Brown, Colin, ed. The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1986.
  • Green, Joel B, Jacqueline E. Lapsley, Rebekah Miles, and Allen Verhey, ed. Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2014. [link]
  • Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier, and N. T Wright, eds. Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. London: SPCK, 2014. [link]

Women and Gender

  • Meyers, Carol L., Toni Craven, and Ross Shepard Kraemer, eds. Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
  • O’Brien, Julia M, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies. Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. [link]

Other Themes and Topics

  • Beal, Timothy K., ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. [link]
  • Strawn, Brent A, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law. Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. [link]
  • Toorn, K. van der, Bob Becking, and Pieter Willem van der Horst. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD). 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill, 1999.

New Testament Theologies

  • Balentine, Samuel E. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Theology. The Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. [link]
  • Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Daniel J. Treier, and N. T. Wright. Theological Interpretation of the New Testament : A Book-By-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008. [link]

New Testament Ethics

  • Brawley, Robert L, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Ethics. The Oxford Encyclopedias of the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. [link]
  • Green, Joel B. The New Testament and Ethics: A Book-By-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2013.

Greco-Roman History and Society

Surveys and Histories

  • Bispham, Edward, Thomas J Harrison, and Brian A Sparkes, eds. The Edinburgh Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010. [link]
  • Boardman, John, Jasper Griffin, and Oswyn Murray, eds. The Oxford History of the Classical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
  • Bugh, Glenn Richard. The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
  • Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Grant, Michael, and Rachel Kitzinger. Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome. New York: Scribner’s, 1988.
  • Hornblower, Simon, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow. The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. [link]
  • Johnston, Sarah Iles. Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Koester, Helmut. History, Culture, and Religion of the Hellenistic Age. 2nd ed. Introduction to the New Testament 1. New York: W. de Gruyter, 1995. [link]
  • Potter, David S., ed. A Companion to the Roman Empire. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 2006.
  • Porter, Stanley E. Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period (330 BC–AD 400). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1997.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

  • [No Editor] Classical Studies. Dictionary Plus. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. [link]
  • Cancik, Hubert, et al., ed. Brill’s New Pauly: Encyclopedia of the Ancient World: Antiquity. Leiden: Brill, 2002.+
  • Evans, Craig A., Stanley E. Porter, Ginny Evans, ed. Dictionary of New Testament Background. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.+ [link]
  • Gagarin, Michael. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford University Press, 2010. [link]
  • Hornblower, Simon, Antony Spawforth, and Esther Eidinow, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. [link]
  • March, Jennifer R. Dictionary of Classical Mythology. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2014. [link]
  • Neusner, Jacob, and Alan J. Avery-Peck, ed. Encyclopedia of Religious and Philosophical Writings in Late Antiquity. Leiden: Brill, 2008.
  • Sacks, David, and Oswyn Murray. Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. Infobase Publishing, 2009.
  • Shipley, Graham, et al., ed. The Cambridge Dictionary of Classical Civilization. Cambridge, U. K.: Cambridge University, 2006.

Art and Literature

  • Campbell, Gordon. The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art & Architecture. Oxford University Press. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. [link]
  • Howatson, M. C. The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. 3rd ed. Oxford Paperback Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. [link]

Religion

  • Adkins, Lesley, and Roy Adkins. Dictionary of Roman Religion. New York: Facts on File, 1996.
  • Ando, Clifford. Roman Religion. Edinburgh Readings on the Ancient World. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003. [link]
  • Johnson, Luke Timothy. Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity. The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. [link]
  • Rives, J. B. Religion in the Roman Empire. Blackwell Ancient Religions. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2007.
  • Rüpke Jörg. A Companion to Roman Religion. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. [link]
  • Scheid, John, and Janet Lloyd. An Introduction to Roman Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2003. [link]
  • Warrior, Valerie M. Roman Religion. Cambridge Introduction to Roman Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Life and Society

  • Adkins, Lesley, and Roy Adkins. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1994.
  • Grant, Neil, and Manuela Cappon. Every Day Life in Ancient Rome. Uncovering History. North Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 2004.
  • Lefkowitz, Mary R, and Maureen B Fant. Women’s Life in Greece and Rome : A Source Book in Translation. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005.

First-Century Judaism

On Judaism Generally

These can be very helpful. Just beware of anachronism, since some content won’t apply to the Second Temple period.

  • Berlin, Adele, and Maxine L Grossman. The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [link]
  • Neusner, Jacob, Alan J. Avery-Peck, and William Scott Green, eds. Encyclopaedia of Judaism. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999.
  • Skolnik, Fred, and Michael Berenbaum, eds. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Detroit/Jerusalem: Thomson Gale/Keter Publishing House, 2007.
  • Wigoder, Geoffrey, Fred Skolnik, and Shmuel Himelstein. New Encyclopedia of Judaism. New York: New York University Press, 2002.

Surveys and Histories

  • Barclay, John M. G. Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE-117 CE). Hellenistic Culture and Society, XXXIII. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.
  • Cohen, Shaye J. D. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1987.
  • Collins, John J. Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2000.
  • Collins, John J., and Daniel C. Harlow, eds. Early Judaism: A Comprehensive Overview. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2012.
  • Davies, W. D, Louis Finkelstein, William Horbury, John Sturdy, and Steven T Katz, eds. The Cambridge History of Judaism. 4 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984–2006.
  • Grabbe, Lester L. A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period. Library of Second Temple Studies. London: T & T Clark International, 2004.
  • ______. An Introduction to Second Temple Judaism: History and Religion of the Jews in the Time of Nehemiah, the Maccabees, Hillel and Jesus. London: T & T Clark, 2010.
  • Neusner, Jacob. Judaism in Late Antiquity. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
  • Sanders, E. P. Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE-66 CE. London: SCM Press, 1992.+
  • Schürer, Emil. History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ (175 B.C.-A.D. 135). Revised. Edited by G. Vermes et al. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1973-1987.+
  • Scott, J. Julius. Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2000.
  • Tomasino, Anthony J. Judaism before Jesus: The Events and Ideas That Shaped the New Testament World. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
  • VanderKam, J. C. An Introduction to Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001.

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

  • Collins, John J., ed. Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism: Volume One: The Origins of Apocalypticism in Judaism and Christianity. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2000.
  • Collins, John J, and Daniel C Harlow, eds. The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2010.
  • Evans, Craig A., Stanley E. Porter, Ginny Evans, ed. Dictionary of New Testament Background. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.+ [link]

Galilee

  • Fiensy, David A., and James Riley Strange, eds. Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods. 2 volumes. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014.

Qumran/Dead Sea Scrolls

  • Schiffman, Lawrence H., and James C. VanderKam, eds. Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. [link]

Biblical Interpretation

  • Henze, Matthias. A Companion to Biblical Interpretation in Early Judaism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2012.

Archaeology

  • Blaiklock, E. M, and R. K Harrison. The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1983.
  • Magness, Jodi. The Archaeology of the Holy Land : From the Destruction of Solomon’s Temple to the Muslim Conquest. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. [link]
  • Master, Daniel M. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. [link]
  • Meyers, Eric M., ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the near East. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. [link]
  • Stern, E. New Encyclopaedia of Excavations in the Holy Land. Jerusalem, 1993.

Inappropriate Sources

The following are examples of reference works that are too brief, too unreliable, or too dated to rely on when you are writing a research paper:

  • Court, John M. Dictionary of the Bible. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000. (1 vol.)
  • Gehman, Henry Snyder, and John D Davis. The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970.
  • Holman Bible Dictionary. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991. (1 vol.)
  • Harper Collins Bible Dictionary (1 vol.)
  • Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (2 vols.)
  • Barton, John, and John Muddiman. The Oxford Bible Commentary. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001 (1 vol.).

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