Encyclopaedia Biblica

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An illustration from the Encyclopaedia Biblica, a 1903. Map 3 for article "Syria". Syria (and Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and Assyria)

Genesis of the Encyclopaedia

The idea of preparing a new Dictionary of the Bible on critical lines for the benefit of all serious students, both professional and lay, was prominent in the mind of the many-sided scholar to whose beloved memory the present volume is inscribed. It is more than twelve years since Prof. Robertson Smith began to take steps towards realising this idea. As an academical teacher he had from the first been fully aware of the importance of what is known as Biblical Encyclopaedia, and his own earliest contributions to the subject in the Encyclopaedia Britannica carry us as far back as to the year 1875. If for a very brief period certain untoward events arrested his activity in this direction, the loss of time was speedily made up, for seldom perhaps has there been a greater display of intellectual energy than is given in the series of biblical articles signed ' W. R. S.' which appeared in the Encyclopaedia Britannica between 1875 and 1888. The reader who is interested in Bible study should not fail to examine the list, which includes among the longer articles Bible, Canticles, Chronicles, David, Hebrew Language, Hosea, Jerusalem, Joel, Judges, Kings, Levites, Malachi, Messiah, Micah, Philistines, Priest, Prophet, Psalms, Sacrifice, Temple, Tithes, Zephaniah: and among the shorter, Angel, Ark, Baal, Decalogue, Eli, Eve, Haggai, Lamentations, Melchizedek, Moloch, Nabatæans, Nahum, Nazarite, Nineveh, Obadiah, Paradise, Ruth, Sabbath, Sadducees, Samuel, Tabernacle, Vow.

Nor should the students of our day overlook the service which this farseeing scholar and editor rendered to the nascent conception of an international biblical criticism by inviting the co-operation of foreign as well as English contributors. That names like those of Noldeke, Tiele, Welhausen, Harnack, Schürer, Gutschmid, Geldner, appeared side by side with those of well-known and honoured British scholars in the list of contributors to the Encyclopaedia was a guarantee of freedom from dangerous eccentricity, of comprehensiveness of view, of thoroughness and accuracy of investigation.

Such a large amount of material illustrative of the Bible, marked by unity of aim and consistency of purpose, was thus brought together that the Encyclopaedia Britannica became, inclusively, something not unlike an Encyclopedia Biblica. The idea then occurred to the editor and his publishers to republish, for the guidance of students, all that might be found to have stood the test of time, the lacunae being filled up, and the whole brought up, as far as possible, to the high level of the most recent scholarship. It was not unnatural to wish for this ; but there were three main opposing considerations. In the first place, there were other important duties which made pressing demands on the time and energy of the editor. Next, the growing maturity of his biblical scholarship made him less and less disposed to acquiesce in provisional conclusions. And lastly, such constant progress was being made by students in the power of assimilating critical results that it seemed prudent to wait till biblical articles, thoroughly revised and recast, should have a good chance of still more deeply influencing the student world.

The waiting-time was filled up, so far as other occupations allowed, by pioneering researches in biblical archaeology, some of the results of which are admirably summed up in that fruitful volume entitled The Religion of the Semites (1889). More and more, Robertson Smith, like other contemporary scholars, saw the necessity of revising old work on the basis of a more critical, and, in a certain sense, more philosophical treatment of details. First of all, archaeological details had their share—and it was bound to be a large share—of this scholar's attention. Then came biblical geography—a subject which had been brought prominently into notice by the zeal of English explorers, but seemed to need the collaboration of English critics. A long visit to Palestine was planned for the direct investigation of details of biblical geography, and though this could not be carried out, not a little time was devoted to the examination of a few of the more perplexing geographical problems and of the solutions already proposed (see e.g. Aphek, below, col. 191 f.). This care for accuracy of detail as a necessary preliminary to a revision of theories is also the cause of our friend's persistent refusal to sanction the republication of the masterly but inevitably provisional article Bible in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, to which we shall return later. The reader will still better understand the motive of that refusal if he will compare what is said on the Psalter in that article (1875) with the statements in the first edition of The Old Testament in the Jewish Church (1880), in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, article Psalms (1885), and in the second edition of The Old Testament in the Jewish Church (1892).

It is only just, however, to the true 'begetter' of this work to emphasise the fact that, though he felt the adequate realisation of his idea to be some way off, he lost no time in pondering and working out a variety of practical details—a task in which he was seconded by his assistant editor and intimate friend, Mr. J. S. Black. Many hours were given, as occasion offered, to the distribution of subjects and the preparation of minor articles. Some hundreds of these were drafted, and many were the discussions that arose as to the various difficult practical points, which have not been without fruit for the present work.

In September, 1892, however, it became only too clear to Prof. Smith that he was suffering from a malady which might terminate fatally after no very distant term. The last hope of active participation in his long-cherished scheme of a Bible Dictionary had well-nigh disappeared, when one of the present editors, who had no definite knowledge of Prof. Smith's plan, communicated to this friend of many years' standing his ideas of what a critical Bible Dictionary ought to be, and inquired whether he thought that such a project could be realised. Prof. Smith was still intellectually able to consider and pronounce upon these ideas, and gladly recognised their close affinity to his own. Unwilling that all the labour already bestowed by him on planning and drafting articles should be lost, he requested Prof. Cheyne to take up the work which he himself was compelled to drop, in conjunction with the older and more intimate friend already mentioned. Hence the combination of names on the title-page. The work is undertaken by the editors as a charge from one whose parting message had the force of a command.

Principles of the Encyclopaedia

Such is the history of the genesis of the Encyclopaedia Biblica, which is the result primarily of a fusion of two distinct but similar plans—a fusion desired by Prof. Robertson Smith himself, as the only remaining means of realising adequately his own fundamental ideas. With regard to details, he left the editors entirely free, not from decline of physical strength, but from a well-grounded confidence that religion and the Bible were not less dear to them than to himself, and that they fully shared his own uncompromisingly progressive spirit. The Bible Dictionary which he contemplated was no mere collection of useful miscellanea, but a survey of the contents of the Bible, as illuminated by criticism—a criticism which identifies the cause of religion with that of historical truth, and, without neglecting the historical and archaeological setting of religion, loves best to trace the growth of high conceptions, the flashing forth of new intuitions, and the development of noble personalities, under local and temporal conditions that may often be, to human eyes, most adverse. The importance of the newer view of the Bible to the Christian community, and the fundamental principles of the newer biblical criticism, have been so ably and so persuasively set forth by Prof. Robertson Smith in his Lectures that his fellow-workers may be dispensed from repeating here what he has said so well already. 'There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.' Let us assume, then, that the readers of this Encyclopaedia, whatever be their grade of knowledge or sphere of work, are willing to make an effort to take this widely extended land in possession.

Every year, in fact, expands the narrow horizons which not so long ago limited the aspirations of the biblical scholar. It is time, as Prof. Robertson Smith thought, to help students to realise this, and to bring the standard books on which they rely more up to date. It may seem hopeless to attempt this with an alphabetically arranged encyclopaedia, which necessarily involves the treatment of points in an isolated way. By an elaborate system of cross references, however, and by interspersing a considerable number of comprehensive articles (such as, in Part I, Apocalyptic Literature, Cainites, Dragon), it has been sought to avoid the danger of treating minute details without regard to their wider bearings. Many of the minor articles, too, have been so constructed as to suggest the relation of the details to the larger wholes. Altogether the minor articles have, one ventures to hope, brought many direct gains to biblical study. Often the received view of the subject of a 'minor article' proved to be extremely doubtful, and a better view suggested itself. Every endeavour has been used to put this view forward in a brief and yet convincing manner, without occupying too much space and becoming too academic in style. The more comprehensive articles may here and there be found to clash with the shorter articles. Efforts, however, have been made to mitigate this by editorial notes in both classes of articles.

It will also doubtless be found that on large questions different writers have sometimes proposed different theories and hypotheses. The sympathies of the editors are, upon the whole, with what is commonly known as 'advanced ' criticism, not simply because it is advanced, but because such criticism, in the hands of a circumspect and experienced scholar, takes account of facts and phenomena which the criticism of a former generation overlooked or treated superficially. They have no desire, however, to ' boycott ' moderate criticism, when applied by a critic who, either in the form or in the substance of his criticism, has something original to say. An 'advanced' critic cannot possibly feel any arrogance towards his more 'moderate' colleague, for probably he himself held, not very long ago, views resembling those which the 'moderate' critic holds now, and the latter may find his precautionary investigations end in his supporting, with greater fulness and more complete arguments, as sound the views that now seem to him rash. Prof. Robertson Smith's views of ten years ago, or more, may, at the present day, appear to be 'moderate' criticism ; but when he formulated them he was in the vanguard of critics, and there is no reason to think that, if he had lived, and devoted much of his time to biblical criticism, his ardour would have waned, and his precedence passed to others.

There are, no doubt, some critical theories which could not consistently have been represented in the present work ; and that, it may be remarked, suggests one of the reasons why Prof. Robertson Smith's early Encyclopaedia Britannica article, Bible, could not have been republished, even by himself. When he wrote it he was still not absolutely sure about the chronological place of P (Priestly Code). He was also still under the influence of the traditional view as to the barrenness and unoriginality of the whole post-exilic period. Nor had he faced the question of the post-exilic redaction of the prophetic writings. The fundamental principles of biblical criticism, however, are assumed throughout that fine article, though for a statement of these we must turn to a more mature production of his pen. See, for example, The Old Testament in the Jewish Church(2), pp. 16 ff. (cp 1st ed. pp. 24. ff.), and notice especially the following paragraph on p. 17:—

' Ancient books coming down to us from a period many centuries before the invention of printing have necessarily undergone many vicissitudes. Some of them are preserved only in imperfect copies made by an ignorant scribe of the dark ages. Others have been disfigured by editors, who mixed up foreign matter with the original text. Very often an important book fell altogether out of sight for a long time, and when it came to light again all knowledge of its origin was gone ; for old books did not generally have title-pages and prefaces. And, when such a nameless roll was again brought into notice, some half-informed trader or transcriber was not unlikely to give it a new title of his own devising, which was handed down thereafter as if it had been original. Or again, the true meaning and purpose of a book often became obscure in the lapse of centuries, and led to false interpretations. Once more, antiquity has handed down to us many writings which are sheer forgeries, like some of the Apocryphal books, or the Sibylline oracles, or those famous Epistles of Phalaris, which formed the subject of Bentley's great critical essay. In all such cases the historical critic must destroy the received view, in order to establish the truth. He must review doubtful titles, purge out interpolations, expose forgeries ; but he does so only to manifest the truth, and exhibit the genuine remains of antiquity in their real character. A book that is really old and really valuable has nothing to fear from the critic, whose labours can only put its worth in a clearer light, and establish its authority on a surer basis.

The freedom which Prof. Robertson Smith generously left to his successors has, with much reluctance, yet without hesitation, on the part of the editors, been exercised in dealing with the articles which he wrote for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The editors are well assured that he would have approved their conduct in this respect. Few scholars, indeed, would refrain from rewriting, to a large extent, the critical articles which they had produced some years previously ; and this, indeed, is what has been done by several contributors who wrote biblical articles for the former Encyclopaedia. The procedure of those who have revised our friend's articles has in fact been as gentle and considerate as possible. Where these articles seemed to have been destined by himself for some degree of permanence, they have been retained, and carefully revised and brought up to date. Some condensation has sometimes been found necessary. The original articles were written for a public very imperfectly imbued with critical principles, whereas now, thanks to his own works and to those of other progressive scholars, Bible students are much more prepared than formerly to benefit by advanced teaching. There is also a certain amount of a new material from Prof. Smith's pen (in two or three cases consisting of quotations from the MS of the second and third courses of Burnett Lectures), but much less, unfortunately, than had been expected.

Freedom has also been used in taking some fresh departures, especially in two directions—viz., in that of textual criticism of the Old Testament, and in that of biblical archaeology. The object of the editors has been, with the assistance of their contributors, not only to bring the work up to the level of the best published writings, but, wherever possible, to carry the subjects a little beyond the point hitherto reached in print. Without the constant necessity of investigating the details of the text of the Old Testament, it would be hard for any one to realise the precarious character of many details of the current biblical archaeology, geography, and natural history, and even of some not unimportant points in the current Old Testament theology. Entirely new methods have not indeed been applied ; but the methods already known have perhaps been applied with somewhat more consistency than before. With regard to archaeology, such a claim can be advanced only to a slight extent. More progress perhaps has been made of late years in the field of critical archaeology than in that of texual criticism. All, therefore, that was generally necessary was to make a strong effort to keep abreast of recent archaeological research both in Old Testament and in New Testament study.

The fulness of detail with which the data of the Versions have been given may provoke some comment. Experience has been the guide of the editors, and they believe that, though in the future it will be possible to give these data in a more correct, more critical, and more condensed form, the student is best served at present by being supplied as fully as possible with the available material. It may also be doubted by some whether there is not too much philology. Here, again, experience has directed the course to be pursued. In the present transitional stage of lexicography, it would have been undesirable to rest content with simply referring to the valuable new lexicons which are now appearing, or have already appeared.

With regard to biblical theology, the editors are not without hope that they have helped to pave the way for a more satisfactory treatment of that important subject which is rapidly becoming the history of the movement of religious life and thought within the Jewish and the Christian church (the phrase may be inaccurate, but it is convenient). Systems of Prophetic, Pauline, Petrine, Johannine theology have had their day ; it is perhaps time that the Bible should cease to be regarded as a storehouse of more or less competing systems of abstract thought. Unfortunately the literary and historical criticism of the New Testament is by no means as far advanced as that of the Old Testament. It may not be long before a real history of the movement of religious life and thought in the earlier period will be possible. For such a history for the later period we shall have to wait longer, if we may infer anything from the doubtless inevitable defects of the best existing handbook of New Testament theology, that of the able veteran critic, H. J. Holtzmann. The editors of the present work are keenly interested in the subject at present called ' Biblical Theology ' ; but, instead of attempting what is at present impossible, they have thought it better to leave some deficiencies which future editors will probably find it not difficult to supply. They cannot, however, conclude this section without a hearty attestation of the ever-increasing love for the Scriptures which critical and historical study, when pursued in a sufficiently comprehensive sense, appears to them to produce. The minutest details of biblical research assume a brightness not their own when viewed in the light of the great truths in which the movement of biblical religion culminates. May the reader find cause to agree with them ! This would certainly have been the prayerful aspiration of the beloved and lamented scholar who originated this Encyclopaedia.


To the contributors of signed articles, and to those who have revised and brought up to date the articles of Prof. Robertson Smith, it may seem almost superfluous to render thanks for the indispensable help they have so courteously and generously given. It constitutes a fresh bond between scholars of different countries and several religious communities which the editors can never forget. But the special services of the various members of the editorial staff require specific acknowledgment, which the editors have much pleasure in making. Mr. Hope W. Hogg became a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Biblica in 1894, and in 1895 became a regular member of the editorial staff. To his zeal, energy, and scholarship the work has been greatly indebted in every direction. In particular, Mr. Hogg has had the entire responsibility for the proofs as they passed in their various stages through the hands of the printer, and it is he who has seen to the due carrying out of the arrangements— many of them of his own devising—for saving space and facilitating reference that have been specified in the subjoined 'Practical Hints to the Reader.' Mr. Stanley A. Cook joined the staff in 1896, and not only has contributed various signed articles, which to the editors appear to give promise of fine work in the future, but also has had a large share in many of those that are of composite authorship and unsigned. Finally, Mr. Maurice A. Canney joined the staff in 1898; he also has contributed signed articles, and has been eminently helpful in every way, especially in the reading of the proofs. Further, the editors desire to acknowledge their very special obligations to the Rev. Henry A. Redpath, M.A., editor of the Concordance to the Septuagint, who placed his unrivalled experience at their disposal by controlling all the proofs at a certain stage with special reference to the LXX readings. He also verified the biblical references.

T. K. Cheyne.

J. Sutherland Black.

20th September 1899.

Practical Hints To The Reader[edit]

Further Explanations.—The labour that has been bestowed on even minor matters in the preparation of this Encyclopaedia has seemed to be warranted by the hope that it may be found useful as a students' handbook. Its value from this point of view will be facilitated by attention to the following points :—

1. Classes of Articles.—The following notes will give a general idea of what the reader may expect to find and where to look for it:—

i. Proper Names.—Every proper name in the Old and the New Testament canons and the OT Apocrypha (Authorised Version or Revised Version, text or margin) is represented by an article-heading in Clarendon type, the substantive article being usually given under the name as found in the AV text. Adoraim, on the same line as Adora (col. 71), and Adullamite, three lines below Adullam (col. 73), are examples of space-saving contrivances.

ii. Books.—Every book in the OT and the NT canons and the OT Apocrypha is discussed in a special article—e.g. Acts, Chronicles, Deuteronomy. The 'Song of Solomon' is dealt with under the title Canticles, and the last book in the NT under Apocalypse.

iii. General Articles.—With the view, amongst other things, of securing the greatest possible brevity, many matters have been treated in general articles, the minor headings being dealt with concisely with the help of cross-references. Such general articles are : Abi and Ahi, names in Agriculture, Apocalyptic Literature, Apocrypha, Army, Bakemeats, Bread, Canon. Cattle, Chronology, Clean and Unclean, Colours, Conduits, Cuttings of the Flesh, Dispersion, Divination, Dress.

iv. Other Subjects.—The following are examples of important headings:—Adam and Eve, Angels, Antichrist, Blessings and Cursings, Christian, Name of, Circumcision, Com munity of Goods, Council of Jerusalem, Creation, Deluge, Demons, Dragon.

v. Things.—The Encyclopaedia Biblica is professedly a dictionary of things, not words, and a great effort has been made to adhere rigidly to this principle. Even where at first sight it seems to have been neglected, it will generally be found that this is not really the case. The only way to tell the English reader what has to be told about (e.g.) Chain is to distinguish the various things that are called, or should have been called, 'chain' in the English Version, and refer him to the articles where they are dealt with.

vi. Mere Cross-references (see above, 1, i. ; and below, 2).

2. Method of Cross-References. A very great deal of care has been bestowed on the cross-references, because only by their systematic use could the necessary matter be adequately dealt with within the limits of one volume. They have made possible a conciseness that is not attained at the expense of incompleteness, repetition of the same matter under different headings being reduced to a minimum. For this reason the articles have been prepared, not in alphabetical order, but simultaneously in all parts of the alphabet, and have been worked up together constantly and kept up to date. The student may be assured, therefore, that the cross-references have not been inserted at random ; they have always been verified. If any be found to be unwarranted (no such is known), it must be because it has been found necessary, after the reference was made, to remove something from the article referred to to another article. The removed matter will no doubt be represented by a cross-reference (cp, e.g., ).

The method of reference employed is as follows :

i. Identification of Article. (a) Long Names.—To save space long headings have been curtailed in citations—e.g., Apocalyptic Literature is cited as Apocalyptic.

(b) Synonymous Articles. Persons of the same name or places of the same name are ranged as i. 2, 3, etc., under a common heading and cited accordingly. In other cases (and even in the former case when, as in Adnah in col. 67, one English spelling represents different Hebrew spellings (the articles usually have separate headings, in which case they are cited as i., ii., iii., etc, although they are not so marked. Usually geographical articles precede biographical, and persons precede books. Thus Samuel i., 2 is the second person called Samuel; Samuel ii. is the article Samuel, Books of. If a wrong number should be found the reason is not that it was not verified, but that the article referred to is one of a very small number in which the original order of the articles had to be changed and the cross-reference was not detected. Thus in the article Alush the reference to Bered ii., i, ought to be to Bered i., i.

ii. Indication of Place in Article Cited.—Articles of any length are divided into numbered sections (§§ 1, 2, etc.) indicated by insets containing a descriptive word or phrase. As convenience of reference is the great aim, the descriptive phrases are limited to, at most, three or four words, and the sections are numbered consecutively. Logical subordination of sections, therefore, cannot appear. Divisions larger than sections are sometimes indicated in the text by I., II., etc, and subdivisions of sections by letters and numbers (a, b, c, α, β, γ, i., ii., iii.). References like (Benjamin, § 9, ii. β) are freely used. Most of the large articles have prefixed to them a table of contents.

iii. Manner of Citation.—The commonest method is (see David, § ii, (c) ii.). Ezra (q.v., ii. § 9) means the article Ezra-Nehemiah, Book of, § 9. Sometimes, however, the capitals or the q.v. may be dispensed with. Chain printed in small capitals in the middle of an article would mean that there is an article on that term, but that it hardly merits q.v. from the present point of view. In articles (generally on RV names) that are mere cross-references q.v. is generally omitted ; so, e.g., in Abadias in col. 3.

3. Typographical Devices, i. Size of Type.(a) Letters—Two sizes of type are used, and considerable care has been devoted to the distribution of the small-type passages. Usually the general meaning of an article can be caught by reading simply the large-type parts. The small-type passages generally contain such things as proofs of statements, objections, more technical details. In these passages, and in footnotes and parenthesis, abbreviations (see below, 8). which are avoided as much as possible elsewhere, are purposely used. (b) Numbers.—Two sizes of Arabic numerals are used. (Note that the smallest 6 and 8 are a different shape from the next larger 6 and 8. In giving references, when only the volume is given, it is usually cited by a Roman number. Pages are cited by Arabic numbers except where (as is often the case) pages of a preface are marked with Roman numbers. When numbers of two ranks are required, two sizes of Arabic numbers (5 5) are used irrespectively of whether the reference be to book and chapter, volume and page, or section and line. If three ranks are needed, Roman numbers are prefixed (v. 5 5).

ii. Italics.—Italic type is much used in citing foreign words. In geographical articles, as a rule, the printing of a modern place-name in italics indicates that the writer of the article identifies it with the place under discussion. For the significance of the different kinds of type in the map of Assyria see the explanations at the foot of the map. On the two kinds of Greek type see below. 4 ii. (b).

iii. Small Capitals.—Small Roman capitals are used in two ways: (1) in giving the equivalent in RV for the name in AV, or vice versa, and (2) in giving a cross-reference (see above, 2 iii.). On the use of small italic capitals see below, 4 ii. (b).

iv. Symbols.—(a) Index Figures. In 'almost always6 clear,' '6' indicates footnote 6. In 'Introd.(6),' '(6)' means sixth edition. In 'D2' '2' means a later development of D (see below, ).

(b) Asterisk.—B* means the original scribe of codex B. *canho means that the consonants are known but the vowels are hypothetical v. 5* means v. 5 (partly).

(c) Dagger.—A dagger † is used to indicate that all the passages where a word occurs are cited. The context must decide whether the English word or the original is meant.

(d) Sign of Equality.'Aalar, i Esd. 536 AV = Ezra 259 Immer, i.,' means that the two verses quoted are recensions of the same original, and that what is called Aalar in the one is called Immer in the other, as will be explained in the first of the articles entitled Immer.

(e) Sign of Parallelism.—|| is the adjective corresponding to the verb =. Thus 'Aalar of I Esd. 536 AV appears as Immer in || Ezra 259.'

(f) Other devices.—'99 means 1899. i Ch. 681 [66] means that verse 81 in the English version is the translation of that numbered 66 in Hebrew texts. √ is used to indicate the 'root' of a word.

v. Punctuation.—No commas are used between citations, thus: 2 K. 6 21 25 Is. 2l 7. Commas are omitted and semicolons or colons inserted whenever ambiguity seems thus to be avoided—e.g., the father Achbor [i] is called 'Father of Baal-hanan [i] king of Edom,' and the son Baal-hanan [1] is called 'ben Achbor [i] ; one of the kings of Edom.'

4. Text-Critical Apparatus.—As all sound investigation must be based, not on the ancient texts as they lie before the student, but on what he believes to be the nearest approach he can make to their original reading, the soundness of every text is weighed, and if need be, discussed before it is used in the Encyclopaedia Biblica.

i. Traditional Original Text.—In quoting the traditional Hebrew text the editions of Baer and of Ginsburg have been relied on as a rule ; similarly in the case of the New Testament, the texts of Tischendorf and of Westcott and Hort (see below, ).

ii. Evidence of Versions.—The Vulgate (ed. Heyse-Tischendorff) and the Peshitta (ed. Lee and London Polyglott) and the minor Greek versions (Field, Hexapla: Hatch-Redpath, Con cordance) have been quoted quite freely ; the testimony of the Septuagint has been attended to on every point.

In exceptional cases 'Holmes and Parsons' has been consulted; ordinarily Swete's manual edition (including the variants) and Lagarde's Pars Prior have been considered sufficient. In general (for the main exception see next paragraph) only variations of some positive interest or im portance have been referred to. Almost invariably a quotation from the LXX is followed by sym bols indicating the documents cited (thus υιοι [BAL]). This does not necessarily imply that in some other MS or MSS a different reading is found; it is simply a guarantee that Lagarde and Swete's digest of readings have both been consulted. The formula [BAL] standing alone means that the editors found no variant in Lagarde or Swete to report. In the parts, therefore, where Swete cites א or other MSS as well as BA, BAL includes them unless the context indicates other wise ; BAL might even be used where B was lacking. When BAL stands alone the meaning is everywhere the same; it is a summary report of agreement in Lagarde and Swete.

Proper names have been felt to demand special treatment ; the aim has been to give under each name the readings of Lagarde and all the variants of BאA as cited in Swete. The com monest, or a common form for each witness is given at the head of the article, and this is followed at once or in the course of the article by such variants as there are. Where all the passages con taining a given name are cited in the article, the apparatus of Greek readings (as in Swete and Lagarde) may be considered absolutely complete. In other cases, completeness, though aimed at, has not been found possible.

The distinction between declinable and indeclinable forms has generally been observed ; but different cases of the same declinable form have not as a rule (never in the case of common nouns) been taken note of. Where part of one name has been joined in the LXX to the preceding or suc ceeding name, the intruding letters have usually been given in square brackets, though in some very obvious cases they may have been ignored.

When MSS differ only in some giving ι and others ει that is indicated concisely thus: 'αβεια [B], αβ α [AL],' becomes 'αβ[ε]ια [BAL].' Similarly, -τ., -ττ. becomes -[τ]τ.

A great deal of pains has been bestowed on the readings, and every effort has been made to secure the highest attainable accuracy. In this connection the editors desire to acknowledge their very special obligations to the Rev. Henry A. Redpath, M.A., editor of the Concordance to the Septuagint, who has placed his unrivalled experience in this department at their disposal by con trolling the proofs from the beginning with special reference to the LXX readings. He has also verified the biblical references.

Unfortunately, misprints and other inaccuracies—inaccuracies sometimes appearing for the first time after the last proof reading—cannot be avoided. Corrections of errors, however minute, addressed to the publishers, will always be gratefully received.

Some typographical details require to be explained :

(a) In giving proper names initial capitals, breathings, and accents are dispensed with ; they were unknown in the oldest MSS (see Swete, i p. xiii 2).

(b) The Greek readings at the head of an article are given in uncials, and the Vulgate read ings in small italic capitals ; elsewhere ordinary type is used.

(c) The first Greek reading is given in full; all others are abbreviated as much as possible. Letters suppressed at the beginning of a word are represented by a dash, letters at the end by a period. In every case the abbreviated form is to be completed by reference to the Greek form immediately preceding, whether that is given in full or not. Thus, e.g., 'αβελσαττειμ, 'β. . . . ττιμ, -ττειν, βελσα.' [1] means 'αβελσαττειμ, βελσαττιμ, βελσαττειν, βελσαττειν.' That is to say, the abbreviated form repeats a letter (or if necessary more) of the form preceding. Two exceptions are sometimes made. The dash sometimes represents the whole of the preceding form e.g., in cases like αβια, -ς,—and one letter has sometimes been simply substituted for another : e.g., v for μ in ειμ, -ν. These exceptions can hardly lead to ambiguity.

(d) The following are the symbols most commonly quoted from Swete's digest with their meaning :—

* = original scribe.

1 = his own corrections.

a, b, c = other correctors.

ab = first corrector confirmed by second.

a? b? = a or b.

a? b = b, perhaps also a.

a(vid)= prob. a.

a vid = a, if it be a bona fide correction at all.

D = testimony of the Grabe-Owen collation of D before D was partly destroyed (see Swete, i p. xxiv).

Dall = readings inferred from the collation (D)e silentio.

אc.a= = a corrector of א belonging to the 7th cent (Sw., 2 p. viii ; cp i, p. xxi).

Bedit = e.g., on Sirach 461, p. 471.

אc.b. = see Sw., 2 p. viii.

אc.c. = e.g., Sir. 107, p. 663.

(e) The following are the MSS most commonly cited:—

א Sinaiticus (see Swete, i p. xx).

A Alexandrinus (Swete, p. xxii).

B Vaticanus (Swete, i p. xvii).

C Cod. Ephræmi (Swete, 2 p. xiii).

D Cod. Cottonianus Geneseos (Swete, i p. xxiii).

E Cod. Bodleianus Geneseos (Swete, i p. xxvi).

F Cod. Ambrosianus (Swete, i p. xxvi).

87 Cod. Chisianus (Swete, 3 xii).

Syr. Cod. Syro. Hexaplaris Ambrosianus (3 xiii).

V Cod. Venetus (= 23, Parsons ; Swete, 3 p. xiv).

Q. Cod. Marchalianus (Swete, 3 p. vii).

Γ Cod. rescriptus Cryptoferratensis (Swete, 3 p. ix f.).

5. Proper Name Articles. —Proper name articles usually begin thus. The name is followed by a parenthesis giving (1) the original; (2) where necessary, the number of the section in the general article Names where the name in question is discussed or cited; (3) a note on the ety- mology or meaning of the (personal) name with citation of similar names; (4) the readings of the versions (see above, 4 ii.).

6. Geographical Articles.—The interpretation of place-names is discussed in the article Names. The maps that are issued with Part I. are the district of Damascus, the environs of Babylon, and 'Syria, Assyria, and Babylonia' (between cols. and ). The last-mentioned is mainly designed to illustrate the non-Palestinian geography of the Old Testament. It is made use of to show the position of places outside of Palestine mentioned in Part I. which happen to fall within its bounds.

In all maps biblical names are assigned to sites only when the article discussing the question regards the identification as extremely probable (the degree of probability must be learned from the article).

The following geographical terms are used in the senses indicated:—

Dēr, deir, 'monastery.' Haj(j), 'pilgrimage to Mecca. Jebel (J.), 'mountain." Kefr, Kafr, 'village.' Khān, 'caravanserai.'

Khirbet-(Kh.), 'ruins of—.'

Nahr (N.), ' river."

Tell, ' mound " (often containing ruins).

Wādi (W.), 'valley,' 'torrent-course.'

Welī, wely, 'Mohammedan saint,' 'saint's tomb.'

7. Transliteration, etc. Whilst the Encyclopaedia Biblica is meant for the student, other readers have constantly been kept in view. Hence the frequent translation of Hebrew and other words, and the transliteration of words in Semitic languages. In certain cases transliteration also saves space. No effort has been made at uniformity for its own sake. Intelligibility has been thought sufficient. When pronunciation is indicated—e.g., Bĕhēmōth, Leviāthān—what is meant is that the resulting form is the nearest that we can come to the original as represented by the traditional Hebrew, so long as we adhere to the English spelling.

In the case of proper names that have become in some degree naturalised in an incorrect form, that form has been preserved : e.g., Shalmaneser, Tiglath-pileser. Where there is an alternative, naturally the closer to the original is selected: therefore Nebuchadrezzar (with r as in Ezek., etc.), Nazirite. Where there is no naturalised form an exact transliteration of the original has been given e.g., Asur-rēs-isi and the component parts of Assyrian names are thus separated by hyphens, and begin with a capital when they are divine names.

In the case of modern (Arabic) place-names the spelling of the author whose description has been most used has generally been retained, except when it would have been misleading to the student. The diacritical marks have been checked or added after verification in some Arabic source or list.

On the Assyrian alphabet see Babylonia, § 6, and on the Egyptian, Egypt, § 12. One point remains to be explained, after which it will suffice to set forth the schemes of transliteration in tabular form. The Hebrew h (ה) represents philologically the Arabic h and h, which are absolutely distinct sounds. The Hebrew spoken language very likely marked the distinction. As the written language, however, ignores it, ה is always transliterated h. The Assyrian guttural transliterated with an h, on the other hand, oftenest represents the Arabic h, and is therefore always transliterated h (in Muss.-Arn. Dict., x for x) never h. There is no h in transliterated Assyrian; for the written language did not distinguish the Arabic h from the Arabic h 'g or', representing them all indifferently by ', which accordingly does not, in transliterated Assyrian, mean simply א but א or ה or h or ע or g. Hence e.g., Nabū-nahid is simply one interpretation of Nabū-na'id. Egyptian, lastly, requires not only h, h, and h, like Arabic, but also a fourth symbol h (see Egypt, § ).

[Here is omitted a chart detailing the transliterations of Arabic and Hebrew letters.]


  1. This is a misprint in the art. Abel-Shittim. 'βελσα.' should be 'βελσα' without the period.

Abbreviations and Symbols[edit]

The following pages explain the abbreviations that are used in the more technical parts (see above, p. xiv. 3 i- (a)) of the Encyclopaedia. The list does not claim to be exhaustive, and, for the most part, it takes no account of well-established abbreviations, or such as have seemed to be fairly obvious. The bibliographical notes will, it is hoped, be welcome to the student.

The Canonical and Apocryphal books of the Bible are usually referred to as Gen., Ex., Lev., Nu., Dt., Josh., Judg., Ruth, S(a.), K(i.), Ch[r.], Ezr., Neh., Esth., Job, Ps., Pr., Eccles., C(an)t., Is., Jer., Lam., Ezek., Dan., Hos., Joel, Am., Ob., Jon., Mi., Nah., Hab., Zeph., Hag., Zech., Mai. ; 1 Esd., 4 Esd. (i.e., 2 Esd. of EV), Tob., Judith., Wisd., Ecclus., Baruch, cap. 6 (i.e., Epistle of Jeremy), Song of the Three Children (Dan. 323), Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, 1-4 Macc. ; Mt., Mk., Lk., Jn., Acts, Rom., Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col., Thess., Tim., Tit., Philem., Heb., Ja[s.], Pet., 1-3 Jn., Jude., Apoc. [or Rev]. An explanation of some of the symbols (A, א, B, etc.), now generally used to denote certain Greek MSS of the Old or New Testaments, will be found above, at p. xvi. It may be added that the bracketed index numerals denote the edition of the work to which they are attached : thus OTJC(2) The Old Testament in the Jewish Church, 2nd edition (exceptions RP(2), AOF(2): see below). The unbracketed numerals above the line refer to footnotes; for those under the line see below under D2, e.t.c.

When a foreign book is cited by an English name the reference is to the English translation.

It is suggested that this work be referred to as the Encyclopaedia Biblica, and that the name may be abbreviated thus: Ency. Bib. or E. Bi. It will be observed that all the larger articles can be referred to by the numbered sections () ; or any passage can readily be cited by column and paragraph or line. The columns will be numbered continuously to the end of the work.


Full Index[edit]



























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