The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Preface

Authors' Bias | Interpretation: conservative

The cordial reception given to the publication of The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible in 1963 revealed the need for a more extensive work that would deal in greater detail with the technical aspects of Biblical backgrounds and interpretation. The previous volume, as stated in its Introduction, "was gauged for the use of pastors, Sunday-school teaches, Bible class leaders, and students who desire concise and accurate information on questions raised by ordinary reading." Because of the necessity of restricting its contents to one volume, it was not possible to include much information that would have been useful and illuminating.

The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible is intended to include a larger body of material, and to supply more detail for scholarly study. Many of the articles are highly specialized and more exhaustive than those appearing in the Dictionary. None of these is, however, merely an expansion of the articles in the Dictionary; each of them has been specially composed for this immediate publication. All of them are written by experts in their respective fields, and some of the articles are monographs written exclusively for the Encyclopedia. From cover to cover the work is new; it is not reedited from its predecessor.

The scope of this Encyclopedia is intended to cover directly or indirectly all persons, places, objects, customs, and historical events and major teachings of the Bible. Not all are treated separately; some will necessarily be subsumed under larger topics. It is, however, designed to be a comprehensive survey of general Biblical and theological knowledge.

The critical and theological position of this work is conservative. All viewpoints of Biblical scholarship are mentioned and are given fair representation, but the emphasis is that of historic Christianity. Allowance has been made for varying opinions within this framework, and in some cases more than one article on a given theme has been included in order to represent fairly differing doctrinal interpretations. Occasionally one may find discrepancies between articles on historical and chronological topics. These are often indicative of ambiguity in the original records, on which no final judgment is easily attainable. Authors of articles have been accorded liberty to state their conclusions, provided these conclusions are founded on a fundamental conviction of the veracity of the Biblical record.

The free use of pictures, diagrams and maps is intended to enhance the explanatory value of the articles and to illustrate their meaning. The pictures are up-to-date, and have been supplied by scholars who have traveled in Bible lands.

The Bible translations generally used as the basis for study include the Revised Standard Version, the King James Version of 1611 and the American Standard Version of 1901. Authors of some articles have provided original translations where they deemed such renderings to be helpful. Such changes or comparisons have been noted in the respective articles.

A complete list of abbreviations is given to facilitate the understand of their use in the articles and the references for further research. Contributors are identified by the brief vitae listed in alphabetic order. Hebrew (in unpointed text) and Greek words are given wherever they underlie the terms covered in articles, and their transliteration into English is included when necessary. The more extensive articles are accompanied by bibliographies for the use of the reader, given in order of publication so that the recent works will be more accessible.

We acknowledge gratefully the cooperation of those who supplied photographs and illustration, including Dr. Gleason Archer, Dr. Martin Heicksen, Dr. Baastiaan Van Elderen, Mr. Eric Matson, and others (see pages xxv and xxvi for list of sources).

Special thanks are offered to Dr. Steven Barabas, Associate Editor, who aided greatly in the formulation of plans for the Encyclopedia and who contributed a large number of the articles; to Drs. Gleason Archer and R. Laird Harris who assisted in the editing of contributions to the Old Testament field; to Drs. Harold B Kuhn and the late Addison H Leitch, who reviewed theological articles; and to Dr. E. M. Blaiklock, who contributed so greatly to the historical and archeological content. Grateful acknowledgment is due also to Mrs. Helen J. Tenney for orthographical and rhetorical correction of the typescript, and to Mrs. Dorothy Shaw for competent secretarial assistance. To Dr. Robert K. DeVries, Executive Vice-President, Book Division, Mr. T. A. Bryant, Managing Editor, Mr. Edward Viening, Project Editor, and the other members of the staff of Zondervan Publishing House, the Editor wishes to express his appreciation for their constant support and courteous cooperation, as well as to all the scholars who have lent their effort, time, and learning to the production of this work.

Merrill C. Tenney, Ph.D

Taken from ZONDERVAN PICTORIAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BIBLE by MERRILL C. TENNEY. Copyright ©1975, 1976 by the Zondervan Corporation. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House (

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