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Name: Ken
Home: Edmonton, Canada
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Recent Posts

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Sunday, July 03, 2005
The Essential IVP Reference Collection
posted by Ken @ 2:16:00 AM

OakTree Software, Inc.
498 Palm Springs Drive, Suite 100, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701, 2001. (877) 339-5855.

"Essential" is an adjective that definitely applies to this Accordance-compatible add-on CD-ROM. The Essential IVP Reference Collection is a great collection of seventeen reference works:
  1. Dictionary of Biblical Imagery

  2. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels

  3. Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments

  4. Dictionary of New Testament Background

  5. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters

  6. Hard Sayings of the Bible

  7. The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament

  8. The IVP Bible Background Commentary Old Testament

  9. New Bible Atlas

  10. New Bible Commentary, 21st Century Edition

  11. New Bible Dictionary

  12. New Dictionary of Biblical Theology

  13. New Dictionary of Theology

  14. Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion

  15. Pocket Dictionary of Biblical Studies

  16. Pocket Dictionary for the Study of New Testament Greek

  17. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms
The collection is available direct from OakTree and direct from InterVarsity Press for an amazingly low price of $144 or even lower if you find it on sale; and, at for a price of $122.40. Consider this... the print editions of the first five dictionaries in this list sell for $30-50 each. To say you get value with this collection is an horrible understatement.

While all of these resources are evangelical Christian in orientation and so quite conservative, the scholarship is excellent and usually balanced. Still, users should be aware that conservative, often dogmatic thinking pervades some of the texts, which may frustrate or please depending on your theological orientation. One of the primary rationales behind Hard Sayings of the Bible, e.g., is a harmonization or justification of biblical contradictions, inconsistencies, and errors as a defense for the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy.

The dictionaries in this collection are tremendous resources due to their specific foci, which makes them valuable to users who may already own Bible dictionaries for Accordance, even owners of Anchor Bible Dictionary and/or the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. The entries in these dictionaries are often unique, collecting and summarizing scholarship otherwise available only in a variety of disparate journal articles and monographs not readily accessible to most people. It is very convenient to have this information in a searchable, Accordance-compatible format.

This collection also goes a long way towards filling a noticeable void that had existed in the Accordance library, i.e. the lack of quality, contemporary secondary resources. The Bible Background Commentaries and the New Bible Commentary provide up-to-date commentary on Scripture that will benefit any Bible readers. Unfortunately, the Bible Background Commentaries do not properly cite the ancient Near Eastern parallels and literature that are used to contextualize the biblical text. This, however, is not OakTree’s fault.

The New Bible Atlas is a great complement to the Accordance Bible Atlas. The Accordance Bible Atlas, though clearly an unparalleled resource, does not provide very attractive pictures for printing and PowerPoint presentations. The maps in the New Bible Atlas, on the other hand, are excellent for this purpose. There are also numerous maps that provide information unavailable in the Accordance Bible Atlas, e.g. climatological maps, resource maps, sub-terranean maps, maps of palaces and other ancient Near Eastern buildings. Each map is supported by short articles and in some cases pictures.

Hopefully, the next release of the Essential IVP Reference Collection will add some of the newest IVP reference works, including the Dictionary of Contemporary Religion in the Western World, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters, IVP Women’s Bible Commentary, Pocket Dictionary for the Study of Biblical Hebrew, and Pocket Dictionary of New Religious Movements.

Finally, many users may want to know how OakTree’s implementation of the Essential IVP Reference Collection compares to the edition available in Logos Series X. Obviously, the content is the same but, notwithstanding the differences in the core programs, OakTree has added considerable value to their edition with extensive hyperlinking that does not appear in the Logos version. The hyperlinking makes it easy to negotiate through a study session and move back and forth through related articles and concepts with greater versatility. This is typical of OakTree’s commitment to creating added-value texts. In short, users can rest assured that they are getting great resources at their best.


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