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In a sense the alphabetical acrostics are dictionaries rather than acrostics, and Ps 119:1-176, where considerable material is grouped under each letter of the alphabet, comes rather close to the dictionary idea. So long as the quantity of literary material remained small, there was very little need for the development of the alphabetical dictionary, and the examples are rather few, the Lexicon of Suidas being perhaps the most noteworthy. The best recent dictionaries among the larger works are the Encyclopedia Biblica, standing for the extreme higher critical wing; Hastings, representing the slightly less radical; and this present International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which represents a growing distrust of the extreme positions of the 19th century higher critics. All of these are on a large scale and stand for the latest and best scholarship, and the same quality is reflected in at least two of the recent single-volume dictionaries, A Standard Bible Dictionary (M. Jacobus), and the single-volume Hastings' dictionary. Both of these in tendency stand between Cheyne's Encyclopedia Biblica and this dictionary, Hastings facing rather toward Cheyne, and Jacobus toward this present work. The Biblical Cyclopaedia; or Dictionary of the Holy Scriptures. 3rd ed., edition Alexander, Edinburgh, 1862-65, 3 volumes (best edition of Kitto), and after. London, 1860-63, 3 volumes; 2nd edition, Smith and Fuller, 1893. The alphabetical dictionary began with the alphabet itself, for this is a list of names of objects. The earlier alphabetical dictionaries were sometimes called alphabets.
Its select lists and bibliographical references supplemented by the John Crerar and other reference library lists will give complete orientation.
de Garlandia, circa 1225) was of a collection of words classified and not alphabetical. Withal's Dictionarie, 1556) was of a book of words classified by subjects.
A book like Roget's Thesaurus, which is a list of classified words without definition, or a systematic encyclopedia of treatises like Coleridge's unfortunate experiment, the Encyclopedia Metropolitana, is a dictionary in the historic sense.
The earliest books usually quoted in the lists of Biblical dictionaries were also in fact classified or chronological, and not alphabetical (Eusebius' Onomasticon; Jerome's De viris illustribus).
Classified word lists, syllabaries, etc., of pre-alphabetic times, as well as in Chinese and other non-alphabetic languages of today, are of course also non-alphabetic, but strictly dictionaries.