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In contrast to language dictionaries, subject dictionaries (or encyclopedias) introduce historical and contextual information and starting bibliographies. Unlike wikipedia.org, published dictionaries and encyclopedias contain entries written by leading scholars with peer review.
Dictionaries for Early Christianity
The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity by Oliver Nicholsoncovering every aspect of history, culture, religion, and life in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near East (including the Persian Empire and Central Asia) between the mid-3rd and the mid-8th centuries AD. 5,000 A-Z entries, broad and multi-disciplinary; Online available.
Dictionary of Early Christian Literature by Siegmar Doeppsuccessor to Berthold Altaner's Patrologie, presents the life and work of Christian authors up to the eighth century. includes bibliography. Articles on authors provide a brief description of their lives, a presentation of their works, and an assessment of their influence.
Brill encyclopedia of early Christianity onlineentries on various aspects of early Christianity, its texts, its context, its history, also entries on modern scholarship and various approaches to studying those texts and historical contexts. Online available, and recommended.
The Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs by Mark Waterrecords Christian martyrdom over the last two thousand years. arranged chronologically and divided into five parts: Bible martyrs, martyrs under the Roman Empire, martyrs from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, martyrs from the Reformation era, and martyrs from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries.