Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 157:625 (Jan 00) p. 104
By The Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Matthew S. DeMoss, Editor
The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Volume 1: A-D. Edited by Erwin Fahlbusch et al. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999. xxxviii + 893 pp. $100.00.
With the turn of the millennium, the publication of an expanded English-language edition of the Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon: Internationale theologische Enzyklopädie, 3d ed. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986–1997) is both welcome and appropriate. As Jaroslav Pelikan suggests in the foreword, there are moments in every field of scholarship “when it is time to summarize the present state of research and reflection and thereby to provide a starting point for the next stage” (p. xi). Different from more specialized dictionaries, The Encyclopedia of Christianity attempts to present a holistic, international perspective of the Christian tradition together with its cultural milieus both historically and today. The 1,700 articles discuss biblical, historical, and contemporary theology; traditions; denominations; missions movements; parachurch and social organizations; leading individuals; cults; non-Christian religions; and philosophy, ethics, and social issues related to Christendom. One of the work’s finest features is the inclusion of separate articles for over 170 countries, together with additional regional and continental overviews of the history and current situation of Christianity in its global and ecumenical settings. Already a European standard in its German form (the first edition appeared in the 1950s), the expanded English edition will make this extraordinary compendium available to a far broader international audience than ever.
Volume 1, the first of five to be published, is a delight to peruse. A “List of Entries” to each volume helps the researcher locate appropriate articles with ease, along with the extensive cross-referencing system. From “Abbot, Abbess” to “Dying, Aid for the,” and with articles on Abortion, and Amnesty International to Discalced Friars, Dispensationalism (by Dallas Seminary professor Stephen Spencer) and the Divine Light Mission, the breadth of subjects is remarkable. One is repeatedly impressed with the ecumenicity and attempted global direction of the work. For example the article “Charismatic Movement” discusses not only theological tensions and North Atlantic development of relevant issues, but also surveys more generally the same theme in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand. The same could be said of “Dogmatics,” which surveys European Protestantism in
BSac 157:625 (Jan 00) p. 105
some detail yet also addresses Latin American libera...
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