Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Preface

Many years of use have confirmed the value of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament in both the German and the English versions. At the same time its size and the technical nature of much of the material have inhibited many Bible students who might have profited from its essential insights. To overcome these difficulties this single-volume condensation of the nine volumes, this "little Kittel," has been prepared and is being offered to what it is hoped will be a much wider Christian public.

The purpose of TDNT is to mediate between ordinary lexicography and the specific task of exposition, particularly at the theological level. The discussion of each New Testament word of religious or theological significance includes comments on the word’s secular Greek background; its role in the Old Testament, both in the Hebrew and the Septuagint texts; its usage in such sources as Philo, Josephus, the pseudepigraphal and rabbincal literature; and finally its varied uses in the New Testament and, where pertinent, in the Apostolic Fathers.

In preparing this summary, which amounts to roughly one-sixth of the original, the following changes have been made. All Greek words, including those in the main entries, have been transliterated. And while the order of the entries is the same as in the original (and thus not strictly alphabetical in English), their more prominent (and especially New Testament) meanings have been added in brackets for ready reference. These meanings have also been placed in the running heads at the tops of the pages and in the alphabetized Table of English keywords. An alphabetized Table of Greek keywords replaces the Tables of Contents found at the beginnings of each of the original volumes.

Philological, archeological, and other supporting materials have been drastically reduced, as well as references when fewer are sufficient. Footnotes and bibliographies have both been excluded; interested students can find what they require in the original articles. The focus is on the biblical and especially the New Testament usage, so that the related classical, Hellenistic, apocalyptic, rabbinic, and patristic fields receive more cursory attention. In the biblical sphere itself the emphasis falls on the theological meaning in accordance with the main purpose of the enterprise.

So as to facilitate easy transition for those who might desire more detailed information, the relevant volume and page numbers in the full set are found at the end of each article or section. The names of the authors are also given in recognition that this is not an original work but a condensation of the work of others. But their names are put in brackets (with page references) so as to indicate that these scholars, many of whom are now deceased, bear no direct responsibility for the summarized version. Students might bear this in mind should they wish to refer to this version or to quote from it. Every effort has been made, of course, to reflect the contributors’ materials and interpretations as faithfully as the circumstances of condensation permit.

This shorter version is being released in the confidence that these materials can both extend and deepen our understanding of the theology and message of the New Testament, and in this way contribute to the proclamation of the gospel and the edification of the church.

Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Pasadena, California

"In its new guise, where the accent is on the element of 'user friendliness,’ this shortened edition will make the riches of the parent volumes even more accessible." Ralph P. Martin

"A valuable compendium of the nine volumes of Kittel-Friedrich that will have a two-fold usefulness: as a ready reference tool it will provide an overview of New Testament theological usage, and as a preliminary guide it will facilitate detailed study of the lengthy articles in the unabridged volumes." Bruce M. Metzger

"The 'Little Kittel’ is a handy dictionary; it is also a gateway to the complete set." James H. Charlesworth

"College students, seminarians, pastors, and other church ministers, who may not have been able to afford or even use the nine-volume 'Kittel,’ will now find this 'Little Kittel’ a welcome vade mecum for their study of the New Testament." Joseph A. Fitzmyer

"Once again Eerdmans has supplied both scholars and students with an essential instrument for study." Raymond E. Brown

"For the serious student of Scripture who has not had the benefit of advanced language study I can think of no more helpful work than this condensation of the monumental Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." W. Ward Gasque

"We are again indebted to Professor Bromiley for a perceptive and clear summary quite as valuable in its own way as his magnificent rendering of the nine-volume work." E. Earle Ellis

"An epoch-making work of New Testament scholarship…. An excellent instrument of work for professors, pastors, preachers, and students!" Hans Kung

"Professor Bromiley has succeeded admirably in the enormously ambitious task of condensing and simplifying the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament into a single attractive and eminently readable volume without sacrificing the scholarly integrity of the original…. All in all, a magnificent achievement!" David E. Aune

"There is nothing currently available that gives the non-technical reader such valuable insights into the meanings of the words of the Greek New Testament." Leon Morris

Taken from "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament" by GEOFFREY W. BROMILEY. ©1975 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Used by permission of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 255 Jefferson Ave. S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503. (

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