ah yes, the One True Lookup Table (or OTLT as it is known)
many otherwise intelligent modellers have fallen victim to the evil OTLT
I believe one reason the OTLT approach surfaced was because some early DBMS's had a small limit on the number of joins in one statement. I remember writing SQL statements with a limit of 8 joins... easy to exceed with lookup tables.
I have quit OTLT's, cold turkey. It was almost as hard as giving up cigarrettes.