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  • Submitted: Apr 24 2012 10:51 AM
  • Last Updated: Apr 24 2012 10:54 AM
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  • Author: John Kitto, James Taylor
  • theWord Version: 3.x - 4.x
  • Tab Name: PCBL

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Download Kitto, John - Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature (6 Volumes)

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Bible Backgrounds Bible Interpretation

John Kitto, James Taylor

theWord Version:
3.x - 4.x

Tab Name:

Dr. John Kitto's encyclopedia was the first Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia to have experts in each subject share their knowledge. Many subsequent Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias reference Kitto's work.

This encyclopedia does focus on names, places, and events, as one would expect. However, this work remains also explains manners, customs, culture, and background behind most of the words of Scripture. This encyclopedia Includes hundreds of drawings and illustrations in the e-Sword edition (see the entries for Attitudes or Dress for helpful illustrations).

theWord Edition:
This resource contains hundreds of illustrations. theWord compressed this module from 24 megabytes to 12 megabytes. Approximately 8 megabytes are actual text.

Thanks to Niobi for the text and images.

The New York Commercial Advertiser
"This is a Dictionary of scriptural topics, which should find a place in every library. Sunday School Teachers, and all who study the Scriptures, will find this Cyclopaedia a more valuable auxiliary than any work extant of which we have a knowledge. It is the result of the combined biblical, scholastic, and scientific minds of the highest order, and scarcely a question can arise in the mind of the reader of the Sacred Book, but may be answer by reference to this comprehensive volume. For the Family Library, as well as for Bible Classes and Sunday School Teachers, we cordially recommend it."

The Puritan Recorder
"Here we have the larger work referred to in the title, boiled down more than one half, and made more strong and rich by the evaporation. To that numerous and most useful class of laborers in the Lord's vineyard, the Sabbath School Teachers, we would respectfully offer our advice to appropriate three dollars each to make themselves possessors of this valuable help for the discharge of their duties. If any one of them should not have the money, we counsel him 'to sell his garment and buy one.' "

The Philadelphia Christian Observer
"This is a large handsome and valuable book; it is very happily adapted to meet the wants of the Family. the Sunday School Teacher, and the great majority of the Christian public. As a Bible Dictionary, it is a work of distinguished merit, embodying the results of the best and most recent researches in biblical literature, in which the scholars of Europe and America have been engaged."

The Mercantile Journal
"We have examined the work with the greatest interest, and can assure our readers that it is a book of no ordinary value. We know of no work which is more worthy a place by the side of the Bible in every family. It is a book which the Bible reader will consult with pleasure and which will enhance the interest of the Bible itself, by making the render more thoroughly acquainted with the localities mentioned therein, with the circumstances connected with the preparation of each book of the sacred Word with the manners and customs of the ancients, with the geography of the Holy Land, in short, with every thing connected with the literature of the Bible which would be likely to be of interest to the ordinary reader."

The Albany Spectator
"Here is indeed a rich treasury for the minister and the church, embodying the products of the best, most recent, and reliable researches in biblical literature, and presented in a form so full, and yet so condensed, as to put it within the reach of hundreds of ministers who did not feel able to purchase the unabridged work In this volume you have the pith of the entire work."

The Christian Chronicle
"It is a work of immense research, embodying the latest results of biblical study, contributed by a large corps of enthusiastic and venerable scholars. For reference In the family for the use of the Sabbath School Teacher and for Bible Classes, it is beyond comparison the best biblical manual issued from the press. We predict for it an extensive circulation, for it must gr displace Robinson's Camlet, an the other smaller and more incomplete manuals which have hitherto been in common use."

The New York Christian Intelligencer
"We know of no work in the language, as a repository of biblical literature, to be at all compared with this most valuable collection of Dr. Kitto. This work is an emanation from more than forty of the most able and profound scholars in sacred literature to be found in the world. England, Scotland, Germany, and these United States, have all here a most respectable representation; and the work does honor to them all."

The Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature was designed to furnish a Dictionary of the Bible, not framed, as others had been, out of old materials, but embodying the products of the best and most recent researches in Biblical Literature, in which the scholars of this country and of the continent had been engaged. That work—the result of an immense labor and research, and enriched by the contributions of writers of distinguished eminence in the various departments of Sacred Literature—has been, by universal consent, pronounced to be the first work of its class, and the one best suited to the advanced knowledge of the present day, in all the studies connected with Theological Science. But although that Cyclopedia is regarded as indispensable to the libraries of all Ministers and Theological Students, it has been concluded that a Compendious Abridgment of its contents, embracing all the matter suited to popular and general use, might be acceptable to very many whose studies have not created a need for the larger work, or whose means do not enable them to secure the possession of it. In the present volume an attempt has, therefore, been made to supply this want, by providing such a popular Abridgment of the Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature as may be suited to the use of the great body of the religious public, and which may be expected to be of essential service to parents and teachers in the important business of Biblical Education, while to many young persons it may serve as an introduction to the more extensive work.

The original publication is above twice the size of the present. The Epitome now offered for popular use has been prepared with much care and solicitude, by the condensation of most of the matter in the original work, and by the entire omission of some articles which were supposed to be of less interest to the general reader than to the Clergyman and the Theological Student. In the work, as it here stands, is offered such an exhibition of the results of large research, without the details and authorities, as could not, it is believed, have been produced, had not the larger Cyclopedia previously existed, and its valuable materials been made available for this service. Drawn from such a source, it is believed that this Abridgment will possess the same superiority over Popular Cyclopedias of this class, as the original work confessedly does over those which aspire to higher erudition.

In the Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature the initials of the writers are annexed to their respective contributions. This has not been deemed necessary in the present Abridgment; but a list is given of all the writers who cooperated with the editor in the production of the original work, from which the present Compendium has been formed.

Many articles in the larger Cyclopedia, more especially in the department of Natural History, are treated under the Hebrew or Greek form of word: but, in the present popular Compendium, it has been judged better that these articles should appear under the names by which they are represented in the authorized version of the Scriptures, and take their place in the alphabetical position they hold under these names.

It remains only to be added, that although the editor has taken some part of the labor, and has supervised the whole operation, the substantial work of the Abridgment has been executed by the careful hands of the Reverend James Taylor, D.D., of Glasgow.
—John Kitto

About John Kitto
John Kitto lived just 50 years, from 1804 to 1854.

Kitto had been a careful observer of physical detail – the topography, the animals, architecture, agricultural methods, the manner of interaction between people. His retelling of Bible stories in the light of what he had seen brought the narratives to life and confirmed the accuracy of the ancient texts. He showed how the activities described by the prophets and apostles accorded with the realities of Eastern culture. He supplemented his own observations with details from the journals of other travellers, and helped the Bible reader to understand many things previously obscure or contradictory to the Western mind. His careful research into the geography, biology and archaeology of Bible lands served to support and encourage confidence in the accuracy of the Bible.

In his generation Dr Kitto was a most significant contributor to Christian scholarship, and he provided much help for Evangelicals defending the Bible against the attack of liberal critics. He eventually wrote a total of twenty-three books, of which Charles Spurgeon considered the Daily Bible Illustrations to be "more interesting than any novel that was ever written, and as instructive as the heaviest theology."

John Kitto summed up his life with the following words:

"I perhaps have as much right as any man that lives, to bear witness that there is no one so low but that he may rise, no condition so cast down as to be really hopeless, and no privation which need, of itself, shut out any man from the paths of honourable exertion or from the hope of usefulness in life. I have sometimes thought that it was possibly my mission to affirm and establish these great truths."

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