Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Posted by David Reimer

No, not another Bible translation, you will be glad to know. The Oxford DNB is the Dictionary of National Biography, "56,521 biographies of people who shaped the history of the British Isles and beyond, from the earliest times to the year 2004". This is no Wikipedia: these are brief (and sometimes not so brief) and authoritative biographies, a reference standard for scholars.

Their online presence is not a free service, although university and public libraries may well have full access to it. However, they do have a "Reading Room" with quite a lot of open-access content. One nice feature is their Lives of the Week to which you can subscribe by RSS, thus getting you a life each day (as it were!).

For example, today's "life" is that of Stephen Langton,* (c.1150–1228), archbishop of Canterbury. Aside from other fascinating details, Langton has left his mark on every reader of the English Bible: he is the one credited with the scheme of chapter divisions now used in English Bibles.

So, yet another electronic resource you may enjoy dipping into from time to time!

* This link will only work for Langton's biography on 20 August 2008! It always point to the current "Life of the Day".