Reading Knowledge and Information Could be Really Fun
Not long ago, I was at a local thrift store which also happens to have a good selection of used books. I frequently go into see what’s there and the inventory turns over every couple weeks or so. On the free shelves they had half a set of encyclopedias. Now then, no one really wants a set of encyclopedias these days, no one except for me that likes to do research to help with my writing, and I suppose even fewer folks would want half a set of encyclopedias.
Nevertheless, I rescued these books from the free pile. In scanning through all this information and yes I have read the Encyclopedia before, I noticed some interesting things in the yearbooks, those add-on books which come with an encyclopedia subscription, or at least they used to when people were still buying these books. In each year book they had all the major events; natural disasters, scientific discoveries, major developments in all industries, and the big events in governments around the world.
What I found quite fascinating is many of the things that we think are new inventions today, were actually invented decades ago. We might think that something is a new development, or a breakthrough area of science, but the predecessor discoveries which are only backdated a couple of incremental notches of the chain came old about long ago.
A Review of Biblical Reference Tools
I chose one topic (‘Jubilee’) and wrote a comparative assessment of the treatment the topic receives in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary and D. Bruggemann’s Reverberations of Faith.
Anchor Bible Dictionary
In defining the ‘Year of Jubilee’, The Anchor Bible Dictionary (ABD) covers socioeconomics, theology, exegesis, historicity, ethics and eschatology in it applies to the topic. Well researched, (more interesting?) sermons and more thorough exegetical papers can be developed using this source. Of the four dictionaries reviewed, Anchor is perhaps the best source of this type of information, sans analysis of modern implications. A theologically oriented work, aside from uncommonly interested lay readers, ABD will remain the preserve of theologians.
Harper Collins Bible Dictionary
Brief and concise, the Harper Collins Bible Dictionary (HCBD) gives the basic facts, including proper English pronunciation and the Hebrew derivation. The historical function; the what, when, and why ‘jubilee’ was proclaimed, is listed without detail, and the entire entry comprises one summary paragraph. This dictionary might best be used by anyone unfamiliar with biblical scholarship who requires concise definitions, easily understood. Conversely, theologians may find this quick study a simple refresher, convenient when a straight-forward definition is required.
If you are an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher looking for the ultimate textbook to teach your students vocabulary, then you are going to love the Oxford Picture Dictionary (Monolingual English). This textbook is perfect for any ESL student and any ESL teacher. It can be used by students of all levels, and contains important English words or vocabulary. We use this book at our ESL school, Hawaii Literacy’s Drop In Center, because it can be used with any level of student. As long as the student has learned their basic ABCs and basics of English reading, they can learn from it effectively.
To understand the amazing adaptability of this ESL textbook, I will discuss a little more about how it is used in our school. The Drop-In Center is a free ESL school for the local immigrant community of Hawaii, hence student attendance is not consistent. Students are free to come and go and thus it is difficult to have a traditional lesson plan structure. In addition, since the school is mostly run by volunteers, there are often not enough ESL teachers to divide students into different levels.
The Oxford Picture Dictionary offers many advantages for us:
1) It has relevant vocabulary for all levels of students (you can check out the table of contents on Amazon.com).