International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
1. Nature of Work
2. Classes of Concordances
3. Their Indispensableness
4. Concordances to Latin Vulgate
5. Concordances to the Hebrew Old Testament
6. Concordances to the Septuagint
7. Concordances to the Greek New Testament
8. Concordances to the English Bible
1. Nature of Work:
The object of a concordance of Scripture is to guide the reader to any passage he is in search of by means of an alphabetical arrangement of the words found in Scripture, and the bringing together under each word of all the passages in which that word occurs. Thus, in the verse: "Cast thy burden upon Yahweh" (Psalm 55:22), the reader will look in the concordance under the words "cast" or "burden," and there will find a reference to the text. The merit of a concordance is obviously exhaustiveness and clearness of arrangement. There are abridged concordances of the Bible which give only the most important words and passages. These are seldom satisfactory, and a fuller work has in the end frequently to be resorted to.
2. Classes of Concordances:
The ordinary reader is naturally most familiar with concordances of the English Bible, but it will be seen that, for scholarly purposes, concordances are just as necessary for the Scriptures in their original tongues, and for versions of the Scriptures other than English There are required concordances of the Old Testament in Hebrew, of the New Testament in Greek, of the Septuagint version (Greek) of the Old Testament, of the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) version (Latin) of the New Testament, as well as of the translations of the Scriptures into German, French and other living languages. There are now, further, required concordances of the RVV of the English Old Testament and New Testament, as well as of the King James Version. There are needed, besides, good concordances to the Apocrypha, alike in its the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) forms. Textual criticism leads to modifications of the earlier concordances of the Hebrew and Greek texts. It is customary in concordances of the English version to facilitate reference by giving not only single words, but also phrases under which several passages are grouped, and to make the work more useful by furnishing lists of Scripture proper names, with their meanings, and, in the larger works, references to the Hebrew or Greek words for which the English words stand.
3. Their Indispensableness:
The indispensableness of a good concordance for the proper study of the Bible is so apparent that it is not surprising that, since the idea was first conceived, much labor has been expended on the preparation of such works. The wonder rather is that the idea did not occur earlier than it did. No single scholar could ever hope to produce a perfect work of the kind by his own efforts. Modern concordances are based upon the labors of previous generations.
4. Concordances to Latin Vulgate:
The oldest concordances date from the 13th century, and are based, as was then natural, upon the Latin Vulgate. A Concordantiae Morales is attributed to Antony of Padua (died 1231). The first concordance of which we have actual knowledge is that of Hugo of Caro, Dominican monk and cardinal (died 1263). It was called Concordantiae S. Jacobi from the monastery in which it was compiled. 500 monks are said to have been engaged upon its preparation. Hugo's Concordance became the basis of others into which successive improvements were introduced. The words of passages, at first wanting, were inserted; indeclinable particles were added; alphabetic arrangement was employed. Verse divisions were unknown till the time of Robert Stephens (1555).
5. Concordances to Hebrew Old Testament:
The earliest Hebrew concordance seems to have been that of Rabbi Mordecai ben Nathan (1438-48). It went through several editions and was translated into Latin by Reuchlin the (1556). Both original and translation contained many errors. It was improved by Calasio, a Franciscan friar (1621), and more thoroughly by John Buxtorf, whose Concordance was published by his son (1632). This latter formed the basis of Dr. Julius Furst's Libr. Sacrorum Vet. Test. Concordantive Heb atque Chaldaic; 1840 (English translation, Hebrew and Chaldean Concordance). A later Hebrew Concordance in Germany is that of Solomon Mandelkern (1896). In England, in 1754, appeared the valuable Hebrew Concordance, Adapted to the English Bible, by Dr. Taylor, of Norwich. With it may be classed The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldaic Concordance (1843; revised edition, 1876).
6. Concordances to the Septuagint:
Though earlier attempts are heard of, the first printed concordance of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) was that of Trommius, published in Amsterdam in 1718, in the author's 84th year. This important work remained the standard till quite lately.
It is very complete, giving references not only to the Septuagint, but to other versions (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) in which the words occur, and showing by an index at the end the Hebrew or Chaldaic words to which the Greek words correspond. In 1887 Bagster published A Handy Concordance of the Septuagint. Earlier works are superseded by the recent publication (1892, 1897, 1900) of Hatch and Redpath's scholarly Concordance to the Septuagint, and Other Greek versions of the Old Testament.
7. Concordances to the Greek New Testament:
Concordances of the Greek New Testament began with that of Xystus Betulius (his real name was Birck) in 1554. The Concordance (Tameion) of Erasmus Schmid (1638) has often been reprinted and reedited. On it is based the useful abridged Concordance published by Bagster. Recent works are Bruder's (1842; 4th edition, 1888; based on Schmid, with many improvements); in America, Hudson's Critical Greek and English Concordance, revised by Ezra Abbot (1870); in England, Moulton and Geden's Concordance to the Greek Testament according to the Texts of Westcott and Hort, Tischendorf, and the English Revisers (1897).
8. Concordances to the English Bible:
The list of concordances to the English Bible is a long one; it is necessary here to particularize only a few of the chief. The oldest is a Concordance of the New Testament, brought out before 1540 by one Thomas Gybson, though, as appears from the Preface, it was principally the work of the printer John Day (the producer of Foxe's Book of Martyrs). The first Concordance to the whole Bible was that of John Marbeck (1550). In the same year was published a translation by Walter Lynne of the Index Librorum of Bullinger, Conrad Pelican and others, under the title of A Briefe and a Compendious Table, in manor of a Concordance, openying the waye to the principall Histories of the whole Bible, etc. Alex. Cruden, whose own Concordance, the most adequate of all, was published in 1737, enumerates most of his predecessors in the intervening period. Cruden's personal history is a pathetic one. A recurring mental malady overshadowed his career; but his indomitable perseverance and fixity of purpose, joined with a clear idea of what he wished to accomplish, enabled him to overcome all obstacles, and produce a book for which the Christian world is grateful. The work is entitled A Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, etc.; to which is added, a Concordance to the Books called Apocrypha. Mr. Spurgeon said regarding it, "Be sure you buy a genuine unabridged Cruden, and none of the modern substitutes, good as they may be at the price.. You need only one; have none but the best." Many editions of this valuable book have been published. It no longer remains, however, the only authority, nor even the most complete and serviceable, though perhaps still the most convenient, for the purpose of the student. In 1873 was published the Analytical Concordance to the Bible by Robert Young, LL. D., to which an appendix has since been added. This bulky work contains "every word in alphabetical order, arranged under its Hebrew or Greek original; with the literal meaning of each and its pronunciation." It marks 30,000 various readings, and gives geographical and antiquarian notes. Yet more comprehensive is The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, LL. D. This includes the new feature of a comparative concordance of the Authorized and Revised (English) versions It embraces also condensed Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek words, to which references are made from the English words by figures. It thus differs in plan from Young's, which gives the Hebrew and Greek words in the body of the concordance at the head of the passages coming under them. Lastly must be noticed the very valuable work published in the same year (1894) in America by J. B. R. Walker, Comprehensive Concordance, with an Introduction by Marshall Curtiss Hazard. It is stated to give 50,000 more passages than Cruden.
See articles on "Concordance" in the various Dictionaries and Encyclopedias; articles by Dr. Beard in Kitto's Encyclopedia (Volume I); and by Dr. C. R. Gregory in the New The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge Encyclopedia (Volume III); Preface to Cruden's complete Concordance, and Introduction by Hazard to Walker's Comprehensive Concordance.