Resource: Anchor (Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary)

Key Features

  • In-depth; some articles can go into a considerable amount of detail
  • Conceptually combines a typical ‘Bible Dictionary’ with a theological dictionary, with the latter tending toward a liberal perspective
  • For archaeological sites, tends toward the descriptive, instead of the technical (vs an archaeological dictionary)

About page from Logos4 for this book

Sample pages from this book

Typical article:

Theological article:

Wiki & Key Forum Comments

Rosie Perera (forum)
First, the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (ABD) in print is six volumes of approximately 1200 pages each, so it has far more in-depth articles than what you’ll find in the other dictionaries. I would suggest you do a comparison on one entry from the ABD with the same entry from the best of your other dictionaries. I don’t think it would be kosher for me to send you an entire entry for comparison, and there are no sample pages either on or or, so unless you have access to the print edition in a nearby library you’ll have to settle for word counts. The entry for AARON, for example, is 5898 words in ABD, but only 1398 words in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia ISBE (I’ve only got the 1915 edition; the 1995 ed. would surely be somewhat better), 1342 in Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, etc.

Second, the ABD is an interfaith (Jewish-Christian), multicultural, and interdisciplinary effort by nearly 1000 contributors, so it’s going to have a broader scholarly approach than most of the single volume dictionaries would. That’s not to say you’d agree with it theologically in all cases where it’s talking about something other than neutral objective information, but you might find out some things you wouldn’t from a more focused dictionary.

Read the user reviews of the print edition at to get a feel for whether it’s something you’d want to own: Also read the review of it in Recent Reference Books in Religion, entry 60, starting at the bottom of p. 98 (pp. 98-99 are available on Google Books:

It’s really an excellent resource, and one that should not be lacking in anyone’s library who is committed to such a full library as the Portfolio includes. But I could certainly understand not wanting to spend more money when you’ve already shelled out what you did for the Portfolio.

Denise Barnhart

For me, ABD is a classic, and almost always referenced when using Logos4 Bible Places. And when I’m looking at theological topics, it’s one I use for a good introduction, recognizing its more liberal leanings.

Michael Aubrey (forum)
Its also significantly bigger – if you’ve seen ISBE and Anchor in print beside each other, you know what I’m talking about. Anchor has roughly 3000 pages of content more than ISBE. And since ISBE is only 4500 pages to begin with, we’re talking about nearly twice the size.

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