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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

A Compendium of Musical Instruments and Instrumental Terminology in the Bible
Kolyada, Yelena

London: Equinox, 2009 pp. xviii + 304. $140.00

Description: As the first compendium of musical instruments in the Bible, this volume is both a reference book and a piece of serious scholarly research based on historical facts, comparative linguistic analysis, and careful musical study. In researching the musical instruments in the Bible, the sources drawn on include the main translations of the Bible both ancient and modern, the works of rabbinic teachers, Church Fathers, medieval exegetes and contemporary scholars. The Compendium contains a historical survey and 34 specific entries. The survey outlines the background of Hebrew instrumental music, its origin and links with neighbouring cultures, the role of instruments in the religious, social, public and private life of ancient Israel, and the system of musical education. It also traces the development of Hebrew musical instruments in post-biblical times, showing their new symbolic significance in the writings of the Church Fathers, in the comments of the Medieval and Renaissance exegetes, and culturally based interpretations of the terms for the instruments in translations of the Bible into different languages both ancient and modern. The specific entries include the whole range of instrumental terminology, including ambiguous terms that may have instrumental meaning. The Compendium also contains indices, a glossary of Biblical and Talmudic terms, a bibliography, a list of all the references to musical instruments in the Bible, a table of instrumental ensembles and a summary table of their names as found in different Bible versions. The Compendium is intended for specialists in various disciplines: theologians, historians, philologists and Bible translators, as well as for all who would like to have a deeper understanding of the Book of Books.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature

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Review by Helen Leneman
Published 9/10/2011
Citation: Helen Leneman, review of Yelena Kolyada, A Compendium of Musical Instruments and Instrumental Terminology in the Bible, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2011).

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