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Encyclopaedia Biblica

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Encyclopaedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary, Political and Religion History, the Archeology, Geography and Natural History of the Bible (1899), edited by Thomas Kelly Cheyne and J. Sutherland Black, is a critical encyclopedia of the Bible. In Theology/Biblical studies, it is often referenced as Enc. Bib., or as Cheyne and Black. It has an article for every single name and place both in the Bible and in its traditional Apocrypha, as well as for each of the books of these, together with many improper nouns appearing in these (such as 'nebi'im' [one of the two types of prophet], 'mole', 'owl') and other more general subjects (such as 'music', 'tents', etc.). Many of these articles are given in great detail, and usually include mention of the various spellings for each word as used by the Masoretic Text, Septuagint (differentiating between each of the most important ancient manuscripts), and by other ancient versions; the largest article is that on the Gospels, which is over 5 MB in size, despite being almost completely plain text (and therefore over half a million words long). It is thus an extremely large work - in PDF form it constitutes a total of about 190 MB of mostly plain text (this would equate to nearly 20 million words, even at 10 characters per word).

It is frequently referenced by other respected Bible-related Encyclopedia, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia, and 9th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. The Jewish Encyclopedia, for example, even has some articles ('marriage' for example) which quote large sections from it nearly verbatim. It is also referenced by works such as the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. It is hence, indirectly, also a source for a large number of Wikipedia articles about Judaeo-Christian religion, as well as the direct source for others.

A measure of its importance is gained from the fact that the Jewish Encyclopedia dedicates the majority of the article 'Jerahmeel' to discussing Cheyne's theory of the Jerahmeelites, despite regarding it as ridiculous.

The articles are still of value and interest to modern scholars, Islamic writers, as well as to religio-political commentators such as Jihad Watch; however, modern archaeological research and discoveries have made some portions of it obsolete, and the Jerahmeelite/Arabian theory (see below) has long been ignored. It is no longer restricted by copyright and has become available online (at wikisource, for example).

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