A Brief Definition
AnaBiDeut is the abbreviation for Analytical Bibliography of Deuteronomy.
AnaBiDeut is an analytical internet bibliography of the book of Deuteronomy, designed for quick searches and title downloads.
Why do we need a new type of bibliography?
If you want to do research on a biblical text or biblical book, you cannot begin from scratch. While it is essential to start from the texts themselves, it is also indispensable to consult the work already done by others. A brief look at the existing literature will show you in what ways the text has already been treated and so both save valuable time and, perhaps, provide some inspiration for your own work. The body of scholarly literature, however, has grown immense in recent years. It is tedious and time-consuming to find, sort, and evaluate the sources you need. In terms of its bibliographical resources, the field of biblical scholarship is already better-equipped than other fields of theology. However, much more is possible, and AnaBiDeut seeks to make a contribution to this promising new field.
AnaBiDeut: an analytical bibliography
AnaBiDeut will be "analytical." This means that it will not only collect titles; it will also organize them in its database according to various criteria:
- biblical passages that the book or article addresses.
- keywords indicating the entry's main themes.
- the literary genres (e.g., "commentary"), methods (such as "textual criticism"), and fields of inquiry (e.g., "Deuteronomistic history") according to which the scholarly material can be sorted. (These will hereafter be referred to collectively as "categories").
Corresponding to the criteria you indicate (i.e., certain biblical passages, keywords, or categories), you will be presented with a table of search results. You can conduct either broad or narrow searches with great flexibility, and the resulting catalogue can be immediately sorted. You then can create lists of your own by selecting specific titles, combine lists with one another, and also save them to review later on your own computer.
Simpler searches are, of course, also possible. You can, for example, easily find an article's complete bibliographical information by entering an author, title, or date of publication. Or, you can display all the publications on Deuteronomy by a given author.
Current models for an "analytical bibliography"?
To see how a good analytical bibliography may be organized, consult J.-G. Heintz and L. Millot, Le livre prophétique d'Osee (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999). It organizes entries by chapter and verse, as well as by literary unit. The two authors refer to their bibliographical work as a "Texto-Bibliography." Their findings are to be found in a very useful book, but the form of a book itself presents certain challenges: on the one hand, it prevents the addition of new releases, and on the other, it forces the authors to continuously repeat certain titles, which lengthens the work and makes it more expensive. An open electronic database with refined search techniques eliminates these difficulties and offers many additional possibilities. The internet, moreover, grants everyone access.
Naturally, analytical approaches to the development of subject and text-based systematic bibliographic literature are nothing new. They are to be found since many years for example in the Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft or the Elenchus of Biblica, as well as in scholarly monographs whose topical bibliographies were combined with indices.
On the internet, similar installations are already appearing in library catalogs, and especially in some extensive bibliographies based on specific library collections or particular types of publications, such as journals and edited volumes. Examples include the Index Theologicus (IxTheo) (Zeitschrifteninhaltsdienst Theologie der Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen, Bibelstellensuche), the Bibliographie biblique informatisée de Lausanne (BiBIL), or the Catalogue de l'École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem (CEBAF). Without doubt, for Biblical researche, CEBAF is the most informative one of these services. It is still a work in progress but the Biblical stock of the library is already entirely integrated. These services, while helpful, sometimes tend to be somehow loosely woven. In many cases, they focus only on the titles of works or very general themes.
To our knowledge, there is no enterprise that attempts to organize the vast body of scholarly literature on the Bible based on a close analysis of content. The first step will be to organize an analytical bibliography based upon a particular biblical book. Different Biblical books may require different lists of keywords.
How did AnaBiDeut come about?
Founded by Georg Braulik (University of Vienna) and Norbert Lohfink (Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, Frankfurt), the Analytical Bibliography of Deuteronomy has its home at the Institute for Old Testament Studies of the Catholic Theological Department of the University of Vienna. It is intended for use by both students and researchers who wish to make their life easier while working on the book of Deuteronomy. Some information about the development of AnaBiDeut will illustrate its characteristics and also its limitations.
Work began in the 1980's when Professors Braulik and Lohfink decided to collaborate on an in-depth academic commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy. As they attempted to get an overview of the relevant scholarly literature, they began to organize an alphabetical card catalog. Soon, they began to set up a second card catalog, this one arranged by chapter and verse. Under the form of short titles, sources were listed in connection with certain literary units of the biblical book. It seemed useful to be reminded of these entries when the passage in question needed to be interpreted in the commentary. This was meant to be very pragmatic and the references were selected accordingly. It was at this time that the basic principle of an analytical bibliography originated.
It soon proved helpful to make use of a computer. The contents of the two separate card catalogs were entered into a database (DataPerfect). Later, it became necessary to switch to Microsoft Access. As the process of writing the commentary began, the contents of the two card catalogs were cross-referenced with one another, joining also lists of keywords and categories to the lists of biblical passages.
The database has been online and generally accessible since 2001 as an optional service of the Bibelwissenschaftliche Literaturdokumentation Innsbruck (BILDI). The project's home remained in Vienna and the Innsbruck web edition (which made use of STAR database program) was periodically updated.
Meanwhile, several technical problems led to a further development. The Vienna-based data were transferred to an online application. This makes it possible to edit and update the data directly on the Web and to continually present users with this information. For users, this change is especially evident in that the database is now accessible at www.univie.ac.at/anabideut. It is likewise accessible from a link on the Innsbruck site.
Characteristics of AnaBiDeut
By January of 2016, the database included 14,333 scientific publications by 6,277 authors and editors, with a total of 24,449 references to biblical passages. No other database for research on Deuteronomy has ever before incorporated this volume of information. AnaBiDeut is quite simply an indispensable resource for any serious research on Deuteronomy.
One must not, however, overlook the limitations of the enterprise. Data collection took place alongside the regular academic work of the founders, and so some things developed haphazardly. As the database grew, new search techniques were added to make it more powerful, but this meant at times having to adapt older entries to the new programming. As a result, not only is the bibliographic data itself by no means complete, the related references were not, moreover, always indexed in the same way from the beginning.
The database must not only be continuously updated, but work must be done to improve its existing material. It would be very helpful if the users of AnaBiDeut reported any errors, omissions, or other information to those who maintain the database. You are cordially invited to do so. The easiest way is via the "Contact" link at the above left of this page.
Information that one should not expect to find in the database:
- Commentaries on Deuteronomy are listed in the database, but each of their component parts are not treated individually. Rather, the work is simply listed, and it is assumed that one will look up the relevant comments in each case.
- With a few exceptions, there are no references to Hebrew or Greek lexemes that occur in Deuteronomy. It is assumed that bibliographical references for the individual lexemes are sufficiently to be found in the relevant lexicons.
- There are generally no references to encyclopedia articles, introductions, histories of Israel, books on biblical theology, or histories of biblical religion in which the book of Deuteronomy or some section thereof are discussed. It is assumed that you can find this type of material on your own.
The system is designed, however, to provide information that one might not otherwise expect. For example, when searching under a certain biblical passage or keyword, the system may generate entries that do not explicitly mention the search term. In such cases, these entries were considered important to read on the given topic.
Who has helped us?
From 1996 to 2000, the development of this specialized bibliography was funded by a project of the Austrian "Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF)". In 2008, the "Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft (ÖFG)" contributed a generous subsidy for the creation of the internet database. From 2010 to 2012, AnaBiDeut has been cared for within a more comprehensive FWF project ("Neubearbeitung der Sprach- und Stilcharakteristika des Buches Deuteronomium").
Both institutions deserve our heartfelt thanks.