Friday, September 12, 2008

IVP Dictionary of the Bible Series

A couple of the comments we have received regarding The IVP Bible Dictionary Series have mentioned the expense of these volumes. This is a serious issue, especially for pastors and students who are on a limited income. Finding the time to read can be just as challenging as trying to come up with enough cash to build an excellent library. I find that some pastors settle with getting by with meager tools 1) because they do not know how to choose the best books and 2) because they do not have the income to spare.

Every situation is a bit different, so, solutions will vary. However, here are a couple of ideas for you:
  1. The burden of TheoSource is to provide information on books, authors, and theological topics in order to aid pastors and students as they build their personal study libraries. There are a number of printed sources with which you ought to be familiar. We have supplied an annotated list of these tools here: Tools for Building a Theological Library. Also, I would like to make mention of John Dyer's excellent site, BestCommentaries.com.
  2. I would suggest that pastors take seriously the need for up-to-date tools. The goal is to have "the right tool for the right job." Some pastors are supplied with book funds. Others have access to a Pastoral Expenses fund. Congregations ought to make sure that pastors have access to a fund like these. Otherwise, find opportunities to squirrel away book money (see my post, Tools of the Trade). Students, just keep begging! Don't ask for people to buy books for you unless you give them a list from which to choose. Ask for book money for birthdays and Christmas. Research before you buy; find the best deal (shipping included).
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Now, back to the IVP Bible Dictionaries. True, these volumes can be a bit pricey and there are a lot of them. First, let's take a look at what is being offered in this series.

Complete Series
The IVP Bible Dictionary Series (7 volumes)
  • Retail: $410.00
    • IVP: $328.00 [plus shipping: approx: $27.]
Partial Series
The IVP New Testament Dictionary Series (4 volumes)
  • Retail: $240.00
    • CBD: $174.99 [plus shipping]
Electronic Versions
The Essential IVP Reference Collection 3.0 (CD-ROM/Libronix Digital Library System)

Includes:

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Dictionary of Paul and His Letters
Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments
Dictionary of New Testament Background


IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament
IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament


New Bible Dictionary
New Bible Commentary


Hard Sayings of the Bible

Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

New Bible Atlas
New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

New Dictionary of Theology


Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies
Pocket Dictionary for
the Study of New Testament Greek
Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and the Philosophy of Religion

Many unlockable sources
  • Retail: $180.00
    • IVP: $126.00 [plus shipping]
    • CBD: $102.99 [plus shipping]
    • Amazon: $131.40 [Free Super Saver shipping.]
    • Logos: $119.95 [plus shipping]

One-Volume NT Dictionary
Reid, Daniel, ed. The IVP Dictionary of the New Testament: A One-Volume Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (2004) Hardcover (paper). 996 pages.
  • Retail: $50.00
    • CBD: $29.99 [plus shipping]
    • Amazon: $35.00 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]

Individual Titles

Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight and I. Howard Marshall, eds. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (1992). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxv + 934 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $32.40 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid, eds. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (1993). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxix + 1,038 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $31.50 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

Ralph P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, eds. Dictionary of the Later New Testament & Its Developments (1997). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxx+1,289 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $37.20 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, eds. Dictionary of New Testament Background (2000). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxxiv + 1,328 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $37.20 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, eds. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (2002). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxii + 954 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $37.20 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

Bill T. Arnold and H. G. M. Williamson, eds. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books (2005). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxiv + 1,060 pages

  • Retail: $60.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $36.00 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $37.80 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]

Tremper Lonmgan III and Peter Enns, eds. Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (2008). Jacketed, hardback (cloth). xxiv + 967 pages

  • Retail: $50.00
    • IVP: $48.00 [plus shipping]
    • WTS Bookstore: $31.00 [Orders $35 and over: $4 via UPS. Orders below $35: $7.50 via UPS]
    • Amazon: $31.50 [Free Super Saver shipping on orders $25 or more.]
    • CBD: $44.99 [plus shipping]
As you can see, there are a number of options to choose from. Print editions will run you about $35.00 each (plus shipping). As far as I can tell, Logos has not yet produced an electronic version of the OT dictionaries. However, all of the other IVP dictionaries are available and can be purchased at a very nice price in The Essential IVP Reference Collection (CD-ROM). Purchasing the electronic edition will give you access to a lot of resources and will run less than $10 per volume.

Finally, is $35.00 per volume of the print edition really too expensive? I don't think so. It is admittedly a chunk of change! However, the investment is well worth it. The first thing you will notice as you handle these volumes is the book construction. These books are well made, and I am confident that they will last for many years to come enduring frequent usage. The mere volume of pages is amazing: there are more than 7,500 pages total. The quantity of articles and quality of scholarship is no light matter. Think of how costly are many smaller monographs from single authors: $20-25 easy. Now, comparing that to $35 each for the dictionaries, there isn't much contest. The "Black Dictionaries" are a great value!

Still, you may be like me and have to be very particular in your book purchases in order to stretch your book allowance as far as it will go. Find a local library that holds this dictionary series (check www.worldcat.org or request your library to purchase them), and make yourself familiar with their contents. Ultimately, this is the best way to determine if these (or any) books will be of help to you in your particular situation.

I hope that this helps!
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