Since Bob has brought up the subject of Community Pricing, I figure it’s time to write about one of my favorite references that is (and has been) on the community pricing page: Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East.
I can remember when I first started working through definitions in BAGD (the second English edition of Bauer’s lexicon, now superceded by BDAG). This was in the early to mid 1990′s. I’d just finished college, with a year of Greek under my belt, determined not to let it lapse. I’d asked my professor which books I needed, and he simply said “Get BAGD.” I went to the bookstore, and they ordered it — and told me it would be $70.00! I swallowed that pill, had them order it, and haven’t regretted it.
Because I’d spent that money, I used BAGD whenever I needed to look up a word — which was (and still is) frequently. And I soon noticed an oft-repeated abbreviation: LAE.
It only took me a few times to look that up in the abbreviation table (this was before the electronic edition was released by Logos) to associate it with Light from the Ancient East by Adolf Deissmann. It was cited frequently. I didn’t have a print copy, so I never bothered to look it up.
But I was the one missing out. Two or three years ago, I finally broke down and located a used print copy of LAE and dug in. I read it from cover to cover and soon saw that LAE contained excellent background information from papyri, inscriptions and ostraca. These materials are transcribed, translated and discussed. Photos or drawings exist for most materials, so you can actually see the item being discussed.
The discussions are the valuable part, from my perspective. Deissmann brings much to the table that can help one in examining infrequent New Testament words.
Allow me to present one example: