Originally published in 1998 as Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters, this new edition has been revised and expanded to include 230 major Christian interpreters of the Bible, presented by a multi-national and interdenominational group of biblical scholars. After the prefaces a “How to use this Dictionary” page is followed by lists of abbreviations and contributors. The dictionary itself is divided into two parts. The first part comprises six essays on different periods of Church history: the Early Church, the Middle Ages, the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Europe in the Twentieth Century, and North America in the Twentieth Century. Each was written by a different biblical scholar and ends with a bibliography; these serve as a great introduction.
The second part consists of articles on the 230 biblical interpreters or commentators arranged in A to Z format. Each interpreter’s article begins with the commentator’s name, dates of birth and death, and a short biography. The articles vary in what further information is included. Usually context and significance of the person and their works are given, and the articles end with bibliographies of works and then studies. The citations are from several language sources, not only English. Each article is signed and varies in length. Cross references are indicated by an asterisk by a person’s name, and see-also references are included. There are indices of persons, subjects, and articles but no illustrations or maps.
Many of the major interpreters from the Early Church and the Middle Ages one would expect to be present are, like St. Augustine, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Jerome, St. Bernard, Peter Abelard, St. Ambrose, and St. Athanasius. After the Middle Ages it gets trickier about who to include. Those featured are both Protestants and Catholics - Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Raymond Brown, Rudolf Bultmann, Walter Brueggemann, Karl Barth, William Barclay, Soren Kierkegaard, Arthur Peake, and others.
Donald K. McKim is academic and reference editor for Westminster John Knox Press. He is the author and editor of a number of books, including the Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith (1992), The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin (2004), Calvin and the Bible (2006), The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther (2003), and The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms (1996).
This one-volume dictionary is a fantastic reference tool for seminaries and schools of theology, and those interested in major biblical interpreters throughout time will enjoy this book, too. This dictionary is highly recommended.