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Dictionary of the Old Testament Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings (IVP Bible Dictionary)

ISBN: 9780830867387

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The Old Testament books of wisdom and poetry carry themselves differently from those of the Pentateuch, the histories, or the prophets. The divine voice does not peal from Sinai, there are no narratives carried along by prophetic interpretation, nor are oracles declaimed by a prophet. Here Scripture often speaks in the words of human response to God and God’s world. The hymns, laments, and thanksgivings of Israel, the dirge of Lamentations, the questionings of Qohelet, the love poetry of the Song of Songs, the bold drama of Job, and the proverbial wisdom of Israel all offer their textures to this great body of biblical literature. Then too, there are the finely crafted stories of Ruth and Esther that narrate the silent providence of God in the course of Israelite and Jewish lives.

This third Old Testament volume in InterVarsity Press’ celebrated “Black Dictionary” series offers nearly 150 articles covering all the important aspects of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Ruth, and Esther. Over 90 contributors, many of them experts in this literature, have contributed to the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings. This volume maintains the quality of scholarship that students, scholars, and pastors have come to expect from this series.

Coverage of each biblical book includes an introduction to the book itself as well as separate articles on its ancient Near Eastern background and its history of interpretation. Additional articles amply explore the literary dimensions of Hebrew poetry and prose, including acrostic, ellipsis, inclusio, intertextuality, parallelism, and rhyme. And there are well-rounded treatments of Israelite wisdom and wisdom literature, including wisdom poems, sources, and theology. In addition, a wide range of interpretive approaches are canvassed in articles on hermeneutics, feminist interpretation, form criticism, historical criticism, rhetorical criticism, and social-scientific approaches.

The Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry, and Writings is sure to command shelf space within arm’s reach of any student, teacher, or preacher working in this portion of biblical literature.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of The IVP Bible Dictionary Series.

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Key Features

  • Offers nearly 150 articles covering Old Testament wisdom, poetry, and writings
  • Contains materials ideal for students, teachers, and pastors
  • Explore’s the literary dimensions of Hebrew poetry and prose

Top Highlights

“Though many have assumed that the purpose of the book is to explain human suffering (observed by Dumbrell, 91), I will propose here that its goal is to guide the reader concerning how to think about God in the face of suffering.” (Page 333)

“Fear is a virtue that leads to piety, praise and humility, since one who fears God recognizes that God, not oneself, is the center of the cosmos.” (Page 205)

“It is worthy of notice that Job does not repent of any sin that may have been presumed to be the cause of his suffering. Instead, he repents of the accusations that he has cast against God and of his doubts concerning God (Rowley, in Glatzer, 125). This is an indication that the book is more interested in one’s view of God than in one’s understanding of the causes of suffering. Job never learns of the opening scene in the heavenly court, and he is given no explanation for his suffering.” (Page 339)

“Three options are theoretically open to God: (1) give an explanation for righteous suffering, specifically Job’s (and thus uphold the retribution principle); (2) admit that Job did not deserve the suffering (and uphold the retribution principle even as he admitted his failure to enforce it); (3) dismantle the retribution principle.” (Page 341)

“ Antithetic Parallelism. In this form of parallelism line B stands in contrast to line A.” (Page 586)

Praise for the Print Edition

A stellar cast of younger and senior scholars has put together a handbook for the study of the writings of the Old Testament. While one will find easy access to the expected and necessary basic information on the various books of wisdom and poetry, there will be some interesting surprises for readers as the authors take up theological, rhetorical, metaphorical, and sociological dimensions of this literature. An important sign of the times is the fact that for each biblical book, major attention is given to the history of its interpretation.

Patrick D. Miller, professor emeritus of Old Testament theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

At last, a fully comprehensive, fascinating compendium of information about Psalms, Wisdom literature, and other writings of the Old Testament! From characters such as Ruth to major wisdom books such as Job, from scholarly method to major theological themes, this volume gives us articles of real depth and substance. Its broad and thorough remit includes contributions on Jewish and Christian tradition, festival worship, ancient Near Eastern background, and Hebrew language from a range of highly qualified experts in the field. An essential reference book for all serious-minded students of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Katharine J. Dell, senior lecturer in Old Testament studies, University of Cambridge

This volume in the acclaimed InterVarsity Press Bible dictionaries will serve to further enhance the reputation of the series. Longman and Enns have brought together a great team of authors to cover wisdom, poetry, and writings of the Old Testament. This volume is comprehensive and up to date as, for example, the articles on history of interpretation and intertextuality indicate. This volume will be an invaluable resource for students, pastors, and scholars as they seek to hear God’s address through these biblical books. The wisdom and poetic books have not always received the attention they deserve, and this volume will play a significant role in addressing that imbalance. Highly recommended!

Craig Bartholomew, H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy, Redeemer University College, Ontario, Canada

This volume on wisdom, poetry, and writings covers over 100 topics like acrostic poetry, Old Testament ethics, Psalms of lament, Messiah, retribution, rhetorical criticism, and worship. The articles are scholarly but accessible and unintimidating. Both pastors and laymen will be able to profit from this dictionary without having to know or read Hebrew.

—David Wenkel, Christian Library Journal

  • Title: Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings
  • Authors: Peter Enns, Tremper Longman III
  • Series: IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament
  • Publishers: IVP Academic, Inter-Varsity
  • Print Publication Date: 2008
  • Logos Release Date: 2013
  • Pages: 967
  • Era: era:Contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Bible. O.T. › Dictionaries
  • ISBNs: 9780830867387, 0830867384
  • Resource Type: Encyclopedia
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-07-24T20:46:18Z

About the Editors

Tremper Longman III is Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College. He is also visiting professor of Old Testament at Mars Hill Graduate School, visiting professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, and adjunct of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He lectures regularly at Mars Hill, Regent College in Vancouver, and the Canadian Theological Seminary in Calgary. Longman is the author or coauthor of over 20 books, including An Introduction to the Old Testament (with Raymond B. Dillard) and many others.

Peter Enns is professor of Old Testament at Eastern University. He has also served on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary as professor of Old Testament. He is the author of several books, including the Two Horizons Commentary: Ecclesiasties and the NIV Application Commentary: Exodus.


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Digital list price: $69.99
Save $30.00 (42%)