Dictionary of Classical Hebrew: A Unique, Indispensable Tool

Posted By on January 25, 2013

I heard in the office today that the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (DCH; 8 vols; ed. David J. A. Clines) is almost at the development threshold on pre-pub. It needs only a couple dozen more orders to become a digital reality. I don’t often blog about Logos pre-pubs. This is one of those exceptions.1

For those unfamiliar with the Logos pre-pub system, here’s a quick explanation. Once we receive a license to a work like this, we “pre-pub” it to gauge interest. We match that interest against our internal development costs. The advantage to customers is that the item gets sold at a discount that won’t appear again. Once enough customers pre-order the product at the special pre-pub prince to cover our costs, we push the button on the development (the charge doesn’t go through until the item ships).

In the case of Clines, the pre-pub is an exceptional deal. It isn’t enough to call this bargain a steal; it’s grand theft. DCH retails for a whopping $1,280 in print ($160 per volume). I’ve used it, naturally, but don’t own it at that price. It’s basically been a boutique item for academic libraries. Not any more if we can push it over the threshold. Our digital edition is available on pre-pub for $249 (80% off). That means for less than the cost of two print volumes you get the complete set of eight volumes, and in the Logos environment to boot. That means DCH is fully searchable (English, Hebrew, transliteration) and linked across other lexicons and books within the Logos system.

You may already have a lexicon for biblical Hebrew, so what’s special about DCH? It’s unique among lexicons covering the Hebrew Bible in several ways:

  • DCH covers Hebrew word usage from the earliest Hebrew inscriptions to 200 A.D. (CE)
  • Entries on Hebrew words account for usage of the word not only throughout the biblical texts, but also the occurrences in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Hebrew epigraphic inscriptions. 
    • These first two features must be underscored. DCH is the only lexicon for biblical Hebrew studies that has this coverage. No other lexicon includes that material in its analysis.
  • Because of the above coverage, DCH includes a list of all non-biblical text citations noted in the lexicon (i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls and the inscriptions)
  • DCH  includes a word frequency index for each letter of the alphabet
  • There is substantial bibliography for research in Hebrew lexicography from vol. 2 onward

I know from past ETS and SBL meetings that DCH is a reference tool that scholars and students have insisted we pursue. We heard you. Now we need some help. Please spread the word to everyone you know who cares about Hebrew word studies to push this one over the hump!

  1. Readers should note I receive no commission on any sale and no remuneration for blogging about our products.

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6 Responses to “Dictionary of Classical Hebrew: A Unique, Indispensable Tool”

  1. blop2008 says:

    Awesome! But Im already broke for months now. It’ll be for another holiday period or March Madness some other year :-)

  2. John Goodman says:

    I was impressed in your video hebrew course about how you encouraged us to think for ourselves in preference to a lexicon. I have to thank you because I did very well in my 2nd year hebrew after studying your course. Do you think this lexicon is worth owning given the features of logos 5 for a third year hebrew student?



    • MSH says:

      I would get HALOT first because it’s less expensive (but still not cheap). If you already have HALOT, then the answer is yes – IF you plan to continue on with Hebrew.

      • John Goodman says:

        Not sure i can afford to get both but I have a book grant that will cover DCH. I already have the concise HALOT so maybe DCH is best. It seems to me that you can do everything DCH does using the logos tools but you have to come to a conclusion about the meaning yourself. What DCH offers is a dialogue partner. If you agree or disagree with it then at least you need a reason why?



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