Elder Hinckley cites Anchor Bible Dictionary

Since General Conference just wasn’t available in Troye France, my wife and I didn’t hear any of it. Instead, we attended Mass with a Catholic family we know, which led to a very interesting Gospel-related conversation. In any case, you can’t tell the following from listening to Elder Hinckley’s talk, only reading it.

I was reading through the Conference edition of the Ensign this evening and noticed Elder Richard Hinckley, in his talk on Repentance cited a Hebrew meaning for something. I looked at the footnote- Anchor Bible Dictionary!

Why is this significant? Much of the scripture scholarship that is cited in the Ensign or Institute manuals tends to be old, out-dated, and highly conservative. By contrast, ABD is not for the inerrantist nor one seeking devotional materials. For those not familiar with it, ABD is *the* scholarly Bible dictionary; 6 volumes and 7200 pages of extensive discussion with a bibliography for every topic. ABD includes 23 entries written by LDS scholars, such as S. Kent Brown, John Hall, David Seely, Stephen Robinson, and Stephen Ricks.

Is this in his Dad’s library? His? Who knows? He’s familiar with it, and I think that’s great. It reminded me of the time Elder Nelson quoted from the Coptic Discourse on the Abbaton. (In a general conference talk somewhere, he quotes from something similarly ancient and arcane as well as some kind of upper level math or physics book with a complicated name. I couldn’t find that reference, though.)

You can find the ABD at Amazon, but available cheapest at Christian Book. There’s also a CD-rom edition that’s very useful.

8 thoughts on “Elder Hinckley cites Anchor Bible Dictionary

  1. Wow, only $200 at Christian Book!! It would probably take me a few years to read through the six volumes. Difficult to take them on my business trips, however.

  2. Ben: Wow, that’s pretty cool. I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of LDS scripture study, based on the establishment of the Maxwell Institute and the tid bits of gossip and insight I hear regarding the direction of BYU’s religion department.

    By the way, I finally bought the Word Biblical Commentary CD from Koorong from your recommendation and am loving it. My sense is that it’s a tad less scholarly and academic than the Anchor Bible publications, or at least more conservative.

    At some point I’d be very curious what other publications (esp. publishers or journals) are most credible in the field, and/or what other publications you recommend for the lay-member trying to get a taste of bible scholarship.

  3. (I can get Anchor Bible publications at the library, and would say that although the writing isn’t always spiritually insightful, I do think the writing is very accessible for us lay-members and would second your recommendation.)

  4. Elder Nelson also quoted from the Coptic Discourse on the Abbaton in his April 2000 General Conference talk. I looked through his conference addresses, but I also couldn’t find a reference to a math or physics book (he does refer to a physics principle in one talk). I noticed that he often discusses the meanings and roots of words, but he doesn’t cite sources in most cases.

  5. The quality of the Anchor Bible commentary, series like all commentary sets, varies from volume to volume. I tend to use the WBC because I have it on my hard-drive, but I’ve come to like the New International Commentary series (or at least what I’ve seen of it.)

  6. Justin, I think it was it was pre-2000. I had a missionary buddy (same apartment, different companionship) who was a physics major at Harvard who pointed out the reference to me.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation, Ben (#6), looks like the library’s got the New International Commentary series so I’ll for sure check it out.

    I’ve looked at the International Theological Commentary series (I wonder if it’s related?), which has more devotional type material which I’d recommend for those looking for a Sunday school complement, but it’s not nearly as thorough or academic as the Anchor Bible or WBC. I’ve also looked at Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching which is very similar to the ITC in being more devotional than academic and less comprehensive.

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