The Penguin Dictionary of the Bible (Penguin Reference Library)

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9780141015330: The Penguin Dictionary of the Bible (Penguin Reference Library)

The Penguin Dictionary of the Bible is an exciting, fresh approach to one of the most influential literary works ever written. The Bible is arguably the bestselling book of all time and has been translated into more than 2000 languages and dialects. With an inclusive and stimulating approach, Dr John M. Court has developed a complete reference work to compliment a growing trend to treat the Bible both as a work of profound literary significance and as a religious text. This comprehensive text opens up the bible to a general readership while remaining an essential resource for students of literature and religious studies.

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From the Publisher:

Some sample entries:


ATONEMENT

Atonement is the reconciliation (or `at-one-ment') brought about between God and human beings, after the covenant relationship has been broken by human sins and disobedience. In Judaism reconciliation was achieved by the ritual and sacrifices of an annual Day of Atonement. Within Christianity it is argued that atonement is effected by the death of Christ on the cross.

SYNCRETISM

Syncretism refers to the fusion or blending together of religious traditions, in the attempt to reconcile different systems of belief. It is not necessarily a simplistic or accommodating approach which refuses to recognize the differences. It can be a creative attempt at fusion, for rational purposes of comparison, in teaching or apologetic. The work of Philo in presenting the traditions of Judaism in terms of Greek philosophy could be a good example, as is the parallel development and integration in early Christianity of the traditions of Hebraic, Palestinian, and Greek cultures. It has been said that syncretism is a beneficial term in religious studies, provided that it allows for tension and irony, which may lead to controversy, rather than simply the preservation of traditions. Plutarch analysed syncretism and offered an etymology of the term which was not intended seriously: from syn-Kretoi, because Cretans (Kretoi) would always be quarrelsome with each other, but when faced with an outside foe they would immediately band together (syn).

ZOAR

Zoar was one of the five cities of the plain (see Genesis 14.1-12); the others were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim. Lot was allowed to flee to Zoar before Sodom was destroyed (see Genesis 19.18-23). It is also mentioned, with reference to the destruction of Moab, in Isaiah 15.5 and Jeremiah 48.34. But its exact location is unknown.

About the Author:

Dr John M. Court is one of the UK's foremost scholars in the area of biblical studies, having taught the subject at the University of Kent for more than two decades. He is co-author of The New Testament World, the author of two volumes on the Book of Revelation and an editor for the New Testament Readings Series.

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