Catholic Bible Dictionary Review


A big thanks to my friends at St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology for this copy of the Catholic Bible Dictionary , published by Doubleday and edited by Scott Hahn.  This volume has been many years in the making and I’m so thankful to finally see it in print. In the preface, Dr. Hahn notes that, “[m]ore than a generation has passed since the appearance of the last major Catholic Bible dictionary.” (x) Indeed, he notes that despite all the tools available to the laity, that “biblical literacy – among all Christians – is not advancing, but declining.” (ibid). Thus, the necessity for this kind of volume is evident.

Some of those who have contributed to this volume include Brant Pitre (of Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of Exile fame), John Bergsma, Curtis Mitch (from the Ignatius Study Bible series), and more.

The book is extremely attractive and the type is easy to read, which is nice considering it’s 1008 pages long. Though I don’t spend a great amount of time reading dictionaries, I find this one particularly readable. The articles are lengthy enough to give one an adequate background on the matter, but clear enough for anyone to find value in this volume. The lay person and scholar alike, as well as Catholic or not, will benefit from this dictionary. Entries on books of the Bible follow the outline of:

I. Authorship and Date
II. Contents
III. Literary Features
IV. Purpose and Themes

The maps and indeces in the back are also very handy. I would recommend this volume to anyone, but in keeping with the mission of the St. Paul Center, I would especially encourage the laity to buy this volume. Any lay person who is serious about reading the Bible will find this extremely advantageous in their studies.

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