It's been said that a lexicographer (someone who writes a dictionary) does not seek praise; rather, she or he merely hopes to avoid criticism. This is because we all have a sense of how a dictionary 'should' be and how it 'should' read: Concise, authoritative, clear, comprehensive... It should have examples, sub sections, word parts - we expect it all to just "be there", nicely laid out and impeccably researched. When it is, we nod. When it isn't, we whine.
Well, this book delivers very well on all counts, so I for one say it deserves praise - because dictionaries that are this well researched and laid out don't just appear! They must take a lot of work, and the evidence is in the punchiness, clarity and authoritative way that the entires here come across. It defines all of the major approaches to biblical scholarship (such as narrative criticism and feminist criticism) and lots of more obscure stuff as well. Many of the entries give a kind of chronology of how each field came about, and how it has developed. Most of the major 'players' in the field (like Gunkel) gets bibliographic entries, as do lots of technical terms - a welcome addition.
This is a very useful book for seminary students, although I imagine it would really 'come into its own' for graduate study such as exegetical dissertations. It's when you really need to 'deploy' the tools yourself that the guides, overviews and 'map points' that this book gives you are really useful.
My criticisms are minor. Some entries (such a Reader-response criticism) acknowledge that they encompass a 'spectrum' of positions, but do not enumerate what the major sub-sections are (eg, performative and dialogical approaches). A small number of Bible translations have brief entries - I reckon a wider range should have been included, or none at all. But these quibbles are minor, and the fold-out diagram at the back is just delicious and makes me really glad I have this book!