Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible

Augustin Calmet - Calmet's Dictionary of the Holy Bible (1722-28, edition of 1832)

Archive.org direct link
Open Library main page

The last post was on Calmet's collection of supernatural stories and legends, this one represents his main work as Biblical scholar.

If there are any regular readers of this blog you've noticed my weakness for older reference works when there was more individuality and even eccentricity.  As one example here take the entry for "Apples of Sodom".  There actually is a fruit with that nickname that the entry notes "was said to have all the appearance of the most inviting apple, while it was filled with nauseous and bitter dust only."  This does appear to be talking roughly about real fruit (which doesn't have dust inside) but with references to Josephus, Milton, Burckhardt, Chateaubriand and travel writer Ulrich Seetzen.  Some of this material dates after Calmet's time and is the work of scholar Edward Robinson who revised the book "with large additions".  He explains his method in the introduction.