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Thread: Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament

  1. #1
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    Default Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament

    I am considering purchasing the 15 volume Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament.

    My wondeful wife says to "go ahead", but I have my reservations.

    I currently own the New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis by VanGemern, as well as the Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament by Jenni and Westermann. I also own Koehler & Baumgartner and, for good measure, the 8 volume Dictionary of Classical Hebrew. (Not everything I had expected, but when they published only one volume every 2-3 years, the price didn't hurt so much)

    Would TDOT be of that much extra benefit to justify the cost (some $1100 or so)?

    Could those who have used it please give their comments.

    Many thanks.
    Last edited by jimofbentley; 10-25-2012 at 10:18 PM.

  2. #2

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    I haven't used it at any length and won't have an opinion, BUT I bet it will help others answer if you explain the use to which you'd put it. Are you an academic, looking to write journal articles? Semi-academic, writing books? Pastor, preparing sermons?
    Dan Phillips
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    tfo+[]l;w> hw"hy> tr:AT-ta, vArd>li Abb'l. !ykihe ar"z>[, yKi

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Phillips View Post
    I haven't used it at any length and won't have an opinion, BUT — I bet it will help others answer if you explain the use to which you'd put it. Are you an academic, looking to write journal articles? Semi-academic, writing books? Pastor, preparing sermons?
    Pastor, preparing sermons, Bible studies, and following my own general curiosity about what words mean.

    In Bible studies we take our time. I think it took a year to do 1 Peter, eighteen months to do Colossians. Words. Meaning, and depth.

    Sunday morning messages are similar, but "different" as they need to be because of the different context. In the OT I have preached through Leviticus, Samuel, Chronicles - Numbers or one of the prophets is on the future agenda. I tend to alternate between an OT and NT book.

    My desire is for aids which can help me with a more full and complete meaning so that I can best understand the text and relate it in a meaningful way.
    Last edited by jimofbentley; 10-26-2012 at 09:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    I own all 15 current volumes of TDOT and plan to buy the last volume in English, if it is ever translated. I also own Jenni-Westermann and Koehler-Baumgartner. I bought TDOT volume by volume as it came out, but I never paid full price for a volume. I bought it through Christian Book Distributors, and even got the first couple volumes on sale. I was working on my master's in OT when I started to purchase TDOT, and I already had TDNT, so I wanted to "complete the set" and be "up to date" on the latest scholarship.
    Was it worth the price? No. I hardly ever used it for my studies. I almost never use it now. I get enough information from HALOT and BDB within BibleWorks to give me a good idea about what the Hebrew words mean. I learn more by doing my own word studies after doing a lemma search in BW and actually reading the passages. Before BW it was a definite help for someone else to have looked up all the passages for a given lemma and laid them all out on a few pages. But now I can do that myself. If I were interested in cognate languages to Hebrew, TDOT would be the place I would check. But for sermon and Bible study preparation that has never been necessary. (Most of my people think I alread go into too much detail.) Even when I was doing my master's thesis, I found Jenni-Westermann (in German, before it was translated) more helpful than TDOT. J-W is more concise. I also do not have much heart any more to subject myself to lots of things I know will be wrong, since TDOT is higher critical through and through. I just cannot swallow all the speculation, e.g. about "late" Hebrew in the Pentateuch, alleged multiple authors of the prophets, etc. I prefer to learn from my reference books, not argue with them.
    My 2 cents' worth.
    Mark Eddy
    Last edited by Mark Eddy; 11-01-2012 at 01:01 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Eddy View Post
    I own all 15 current volumes of TDOT and plan to buy the last volume in English, if it is ever translated. I also own Jenni-Westermann and Koehler-Baumgartner.

    Was it worth the price? No. I hardly ever used it for my studies. I almost never use it now.

    I found Jenni-Westermann . . . more concise.

    TDOT is higher critical through and through. . . . I prefer to learn from my reference books, not argue with them.

    My 2 cents' worth.
    Mark Eddy
    Mark, thank you for your reply. It was most helpful.

  6. #6
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    Yes Mark, thank you. I've been keeping an eye on this thread to see what responses it would get. I had thought very seriously about getting TDOT in the past, decided not to do so, and am okay that I didn't.
    καὶ ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν ἵνα οἱ ζῶντες μηκέτι ἑαυτοῖς ζῶσιν, ἀλλὰ τῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀποθανόντι καὶ ἐγερθέντι.

  7. #7
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    Default Save your pennies...

    I agree with Mark. I used to own TDOT,but I ended up selling it (I bought it for a song - $15/vol. at a CBD sale... Those were the good old days when you could haggle at the warehouse). With the tools you have already, you should be more than set for pastoral teaching. Unless you were planning on going into Semitic lexicography, I'd imagine that TDOT is more a vanity purchase than anything.
    Jim Darlack - Associate Director of Goddard Library /
    Reference Librarian at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

    Gloucester Assembly of God | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
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