I didn’t plan to continue my field searching series, but I just stumbled across some very helpful fields in the Critical Review of Books in Religion that I didn’t previously know about. They’re too good not to pass on to you. (It really does pay to look carefully at the information in “About This Resource”!)
In addition to the standard Surface Text and Footnote Text fields, there are Review Title, Author, and Review Author fields.
Review Title Field
This field allows you to search for words that appear in the titles of the books being reviewed. I can think of at least two scenarios where this would be beneficial.
First, if you are doing research and trying to build a list of resources on a particular topic, a Review Title search would turn up a very targeted list of hits in seconds. Let’s say that you are writing a paper on Calvin or getting ready to preach through Romans. The search rtitle:calvin turns up 8 books about Calvin, and the search rtitle:romans turns up 45 books on Romans. You can then read the reviews to see if the books look helpful.
Second, you could use the Review Title field to look up a review on a specific book. If you know the title of the book, a simple quote search will normally suffice, unless the name is fairly nondescript. But if you don’t know the exact title, searching on a word or two in the Review Title field will give you much more targeted results.
With the Author field, you can quickly find all the books by a particular person. The search author:carson turns up three reviews for three different books by D. A. Carson. The search author:n* author:wright turns up the two reviews of books by N. T. Wright. Whether you want to read the reviews, look up some missing bibliographic information, or find new books by your favorite author, the author search will serve you well.
Review Author Field
Since there are thousands of reviews, many of the reviewers will be unfamiliar to you. It’s often helpful to know the reviewer’s basic views on the Bible to properly assess his opinions. For this reason you may want to read especially the reviews written by scholars whose opinions you trust. The Review Author fields lets you do just that. A search for rauthor:moo will take you to Douglas Moo’s review of James Edwards’ Romans commentary. Since Moo has one of the best commentaries on Romans ever written, he is well equipped to review other Romans commentaries.
If you enjoy having access to all these book reviews in the Critical Review of Books in Religion (CRBR), you’ll be please to know that the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL), which is essentially the continuation of CRBR, is soon to be available in Libronix.