The DNI Bible project is interdisciplinary in its approach, and focuses on the nature images encapsulated within the literary compositions of the Hebrew Bible. The Dictionary is easily searchable by the name of the item in Hebrew characters, in transcription, and by its English translation. Each item takes its place within one of the five ecological fields: fauna, flora, landscape characteristics, climate systems, water sources.
How do I search an item in DNI?
Go to Dictionary, choose category, sub-category, and type the name of the item in the search box. You may search your item in Hebrew, in transcription, or in its English translation.
Through the Homepage, go directly to one of the five ecological fields: fauna, flora, landscape characteristics, climate systems, and water sources. Items in each of the fields are then presented alphabetically according to the Hebrew names.
Each of the fields is structured by subcategories, by items, and followed by a short Index of Terms, to allow further acquaintance with the professional terminology of each ecological field.
The sub-categories are as follows:
- Wild Animals
- Domestic Animals
- Fish and Amphibians
- Index of Terms
The land of Israel and its environs had a diverse array of fauna. DNI Bible divides fauna into six subcategories: wild mammals, domestic animals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish and amphibians.
- Wild Plants
- Plants in Agriculture
- Groups of Plants
- Index of Terms
Over one hundred plants are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. DNI Bible divides them into three groups: wild plants, from trees to thorns; plants used in agriculture, including their products; and groups of plants, e.g., Zimrat Ha’aretz, or the Seven Species with their paradigmatic products: dagan, tirosh, and yitzhar.
- Man Made Landscape
- Geology and Natural Resources
- Index of Terms
Biblical authors describe, or implicitly reveal, geomorphological and phytogeographical characteristics of the land of Israel and its environs. DNI Bible refers to both core areas and periphery, in the land and its surroundings, looking at man made landscapes, as also on the geology and natural sources.
- Index of Terms
Biblical authors experienced the climate of the land of Israel and its environs year-round and described several of its features. DNI Bible brings entries on the seasons, winds, precipitation, as also on the horrendous impact of drought on humans and animals alike.
- Water Reservoirs
- Inland Water Reservoirs
- Index of Terms
Water in the land of Israel involves special issues, particularly of shortage, especially in comparison to the rivers of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Biblical authors refer to water reservoirs, springs, and watercourses, such as rivers and wadis.
Instructions for Authors / Information for Readers
The DNI Bible is designed as a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, online resource, targeted at biblical scholars and students worldwide. Each DNI Bible entry describes a specific animal, plant, or other natural phenomenon mentioned in the Bible, in one of five fields: fauna, flora, landscape characteristics, water sources, and climate systems. The data is organized in the following six sections: 1. Biblical Data; 2. History of Identification; 3. Life & Natural Sciences Information; 4. Material Culture; 5. Exegetical Studies; 6. Reception Literature.
Biblical Data introduces the item with the following information:
- An introduction.
- The distribution of the item within the Bible, which gives not only the refernces but also information about the books and genres in which it occurs.
- The parts, elements, and features that are specified in the Bible.
- The item’s function in context: realistic or figurative, cultic, mythological, legal, etc.; if the usage is figurative, there are notes about what kinds of figurative language tend to be used (e.g., image, metaphor, simile, allegory, parable, etc.).
- Pairs and constructions.
2. History of Identification. DNI Bible brings the information from ancient and modern translations of the Bible and initiates a discussion of the translational efforts to identify the natural phenomenon (entry). The goal of this section is descriptive, to present the various identifications brought in the different translations that have influenced generations of exegetes in their different interpretive traditions.
The Identification History Table is structured by languages and includes
- Masoretic Text (MT), Dead Sea Scrolls, biblical and non-biblical (DSS), Samaritan Pentateuch (SP)
- Greek: Septuagint (LXX) and the Revisions: Aquilas (A), Symmachus (S), and Theodotion (T)
- Aramaic Targums: Onqelos (O), Neofiti (N), Pseudo-Jonathan (P-J), Jonathan, and Samaritan Targum (Tg. Sam).
- Syriac: Peshitta
- Latin: Vulgate
Secondary translations (when showing different suggestions) are brought according to the languages (Syriac: Syro-Hexapla (S-H); Latin: Vetus Latina (VL); and in separate columns:
- Arabic: Jewish translations: Saadia’s Tafsir of the Pentateuch; Isaiah, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Five Scrolls; and Christian translations
- English: King James Version (KJV), New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), New Jewish Publication Society (NJPS)
For the general categories (Hebrew texts, primary and secondary translations), see Armin Lange and Emanuel Tov (Editors), Textual History of the Bible, Vol 1: The Hebrew Bible (Leiden: Brill, 2016). The textual information is based on Accordance (OakTree Software, Inc.), and the specific editions can be checked there.
DNI Bible does not see as its goal to identify the items (fauna or flora, etc.), but we are certainly interested in presenting the different suggestions, as well as tracing and evaluating the arguments where possible. The conclusions arrived at in this discussion lead the presentation of the various suggestions in the third section of the entry, which discusses the life and natural sciences information.
3. Life & Natural Sciences Information
- The name of the organism in Hebrew (and transliteration), English, the Scientific name, and other names in cognate languages as appropriate.
- ID - a description of the organism, its measurements, its habitation (places of distribution in the land), etc.
- "Life history" - a short presentation of the life cycle of the animal or plant (or the characteristics of the season, etc.).
- Characteristics of the organism that appear in the Bible, which is the primary interest of the DNI Bible project and allows us to learn what captured the attention of the biblical writers (as well as what qualities were left completely untouched).
- Characteristics of the item that are not represented in the Bible, presented for the sake of a more complete knowledge.
4. Material Culture includes archaeological findings, agricultural fascilities and artifacts, as well as information revealed by the fields of archaeobotany, archaeozoology, and iconography, based on excavations from the second and first millennia BCE in the land of Israel, the Levant, the ancient Near East, and the East Mediterranean regions.
5. Exegetical Studies focus on how each nature image is used in specific biblical texts. Interpretations apply the discussions of the biblical data, the history of identification, the life & natural sciences information, and the material culture findings to the interpretation of the biblical text, and include Bibliography. While not always possible, DNI Bible aims to offer a full interpretation of each element of nature imagery in its biblical context.
6. Reception Literature looks at Second Temple literature, the New Testament, and Jewish and Christian exegetical traditions. This is further the place to touch upon various fields of literature and arts that employ the particular nature image in question.
DNI Bible’s academic reputation is built on first rank academic contributions from each of the disciplinary fields, with clear perspectives on the interdisciplinary needs and interests to enrich our understanding of the Bible. DNI Bible is a growing project on a huge scale. We welcome professionals in all the above-mentioned fields to join and contribute.
Whether a biblical scholar, a nature / life scientist, or an archaeologist, if you are interested in contributing to the project, please contact us