Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical & Post-Biblical Antiquity has quite a long, exact, title—just like its dictionary entries. We were seriously impressed with the depth of information provided in this resource. So much so, we want to give you a look inside. Keep reading to find out the inspiration behind this dictionary, its contents, and how it conveniently works in the app.


In the introduction of the Dictionary of Daily Life, Edwin Yamauchi gives an insightful explanation of why he put together this resource. Instead of summarizing it, we put it here for you to read:

Edwin M. Yamauchi

“While there are many excellent Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias, and popular books on biblical backgrounds available, I had noticed a serious deficiency. I noted that while every one of these had an entry on “Abomination,” none (with the exception of the six-volume Anchor Bible Dictionary) had an entry on “Abortion.” Why was this the case? It was because these references were keyed to the words which occurred in the Bible.

From my 40 years of teaching the history of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, early Judaism, and early Christianity, I was well aware of the widespread practice of abortion, contraception, and infanticide in these societies and epochs. I therefore proposed a new framework for the DDL, one based on the Human Relations Area Files, an anthropological grid of human society, which would systematically and comparatively survey different aspects of culture, whether they were highlighted in the Bible or not.

The biblical texts were not intended to give us a complete representation of their worlds. In fact, they take for granted what was well known to both the writers and readers, but of which we are not aware. It is as though we hear the vocalization of an operatic libretto, but do not see the scenery and the costumes of the singers. Thanks, however, to extra-biblical texts and archaeology, we are able to recreate much of the background for the Bible.”


Inside, you’ll find four volumes. However, by tapping the Browse Dictionary tab, you can easily search and scroll through the entire resource.



But what kind of topics are covered? There are 120 different subjects, some mentioned in the Bible and some that are not, but key features of the ancient world. Here is the author’s perspective:

“Rather than attempting to cover all possible topics, we have chosen to concentrate on 120 subjects, not because of their prominence in the biblical text but because of their significant roles in the ancient world. For example, ASTROLOGY, DREAMS, MAGIC, and DIVINATION & SORTITION (i.e., the casting of lots) are mentioned sparingly in the biblical texts themselves but they were dominant facets of life in antiquity.” — Edwin M. Yamauchi

Each subject is then covered in six sections:

(1) the Old Testament and

(2) the New Testament; followed by

(3) the Near Eastern world, primarily Mesopotamia and Egypt, with some references to Anatolia and Persia;

(4) the Greco-Roman world, from the Minoans and Mycenaeans, Homer, through the Hellenistic era, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire;

(5) the Jewish world, including the Old Testament Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mishnah, and the Talmuds (Babylonian and Jerusalem); and

(6) the Christian world, including the church fathers up to Chrysostom and Augustine, as well as the early Byzantine empire to Justinian.


There several ways that you can use this resource in the app. The first is by looking up a word. Simple select a word and tap “look up.” If you have a resource that talks about that word, we’ll show it to you. It’s that easy.


Another option is to open up the Resource Guide. We’ll show you topics that are mentioned in the passage you are reading. Tap on one to see if you have any resources that give you additional information.


We learned in the introduction that some of the topics in this dictionary aren’t necessarily listed in the Bible, though. So, this is a dictionary worth opening on its own. Take time to do some research a learn more about the ancient world with the Dictionary of Daily Life.


You can learn more about this resource and buy it today by visiting our website.

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