Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch

By T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, eds.
Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity (2003). xxii + 954 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Dennis Swanson
14.2 (Fall 2003) : 329-329

For the last several years. InterVarsity Press has been establishing itself as a leading publisher of scholarly reference works. After the completion of the four-volume Dictionary of the New Testament series, they have embarked on a matching four-volume set on the OT.

The editors have assembled an impressive list of nearly one hundred individual contributors who represent a full spectrum of evangelical scholars. The work includes a helpful list of the contributors with a listing of the articles they authored. The editors have a useful section on “How to Use this Dictionary” that details the structural features of the work (xi-xii). A list of abbreviations which duplicates the Society of Biblical Literature guidelines is a useful part of this volume. The work has a helpful two-column format with each article outlined at the beginning. All articles have rather extensive bibliographic supp ort.

It is impossible to discuss even a small portion of the nearly 200 articles in this massive volume. Some are worthy of special note, however. The article by B. T. Arnold on “History of Pentateuchal Criticism” (622-31) is an excellent survey of the major issues and personalities in OT historical criticism. The articles on the “Date of the Exodus” (258-72) by John H. Walton and the “Exodus Route and Wilderness Itinerary” (272-80) by Peter Enns are exceptionally detailed with excellent charts. A thought-provoking article on “Preaching from the Pentateuch” is included (637-43).

The publisher is to be commended for commissioning and the editors for producing this new addition to biblical reference. The volume should serve as the standard reference work on the Pentateuch for many years.