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This is a one-volume biographical dictionary. Entries tend to be brief (a single paragraph for many of the entries). The strength of the volume, however, is its comprehensiveness: it covers significant persons from all Christian traditions and is not limited either to theologians or ecclesiastical figures. More than 6,500 biographies are provided. The arrangement is alphabetical by name. A list of contributors is provided, but unfortunately, the entries are not signed and there is no indication from the list of contributors which entries each contributor is responsible for. Also, although there is a list of reference works that “were regularly used, by the editor or by contributors, in the production of this text” there are no bibliographies provided with each entry. There are two indexes provided: an Index of Dates of Death, and an Index of Places of Death.
This is the third revision of a vast one-volume dictionary that first appeared in 1957. It is considered a classic reference work by nearly all who have reviewed it. Its range of coverage is enormous and over 500 scholars are contributors to this volume. The arrangement is alphabetical by topic, with cross-references indicated by an asterisk. Bibliographies accompany each entry. However, the entries are not signed, and while a list of contributors is provided which indicates their institutional affiliation, there is no indication in this list of the entries for which each contributor is responsible. The enormous scope makes it an essential reference work for the theological library, and critics have praised it for its generally even-handed treatment of a wide range of topics.
"Brief entries, intended for quick reference, cover people, movements, and terms from the first six centuries of Christianity. A bibliographic essay provides information on related reference sources." (Balay BC247)
"Provides a wealth of information on early Christian history; saints and other important Coptic church figures; art and architecture; and archaeology of the lands currently called Egypt, Nubia/Sudan, and Ethiopia. An international group of scholars contributed 2,800 signed articles, ranging in length from a brief paragraph to several pages and including cross-references, bibliographies, and many illustrations. More than 400 entries are devoted to monasteries. Vol. 8 consists of an appendix of articles on the current knowledge of the origins of the Coptic language and its dialects, 12 maps, and the index." (Balay BC452)
This work is a translation of the German work, Lexikon der Antiken Christlichen. The scope of the work is patristic literature, which in this work not only includes church fathers writing from the first centuries of the church in both the East and the West, but also the writings of Christian Gnostics and the manuscripts found at Nag Hammadi. There are also articles on more general issues such as translation, literary genres (dialogues, epistles, vitae, etc.), schools and the languages of early Christian writing. The work is extremely comprehensive. Entries range from a paragraph in length to several pages. Entries on more important figures (Ambrose of Milan, Augustine, for example) tend to divide into biography, works and teachings. According to the Forward, the focus is less on the impact of the writer’s work on later theology and more on the importance of the work for the writer’s contemporaries. There is a list of the more than 100 contributors to this work, most of whom are European patristics scholars. Bibliographies appear at the end of each article, and are divided, where applicable, into sources (indicated by “S”), works (indicated by “W”), and literature (indicated by “L”). An index of names is provided. This is an indispensable reference work for the patristic scholar, most especially because of its comprehensiveness.
"Aims to supply an adequate account, based upon original authorities, of all persons connected with the church--down to the age of Charlemagne--about whom anything is known, of all literature connected with them, and of the controversies about doctrine and discipline in which they were engaged. Pays special attention to subjects and names in English, Scottish, and Irish church history. Signed articles; bibliographies." (Balay BC249)
"Excellent signed articles, with full bibliographies, on institutions, manners, and customs of primitive Christianity, and on the architecture, Christian art, iconography, symbols, epigraphy, paleography, numismatics, liturgy, rites, and ceremonies of the early church to the time of Charlemagne. Covers much of the same ground as William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian antiquities... but with fuller and more up-to-date treatment." (Balay BC246)
"Covers persons, places, doctrines, practices, art, liturgy, heresies, and schisms from the time of Jesus to approximately 600 CE. Articles by 135 specialists include bibliographies and cross-references. Extensive subject index. Intended for general readers, students, and professors in fields outside religion who want information concerning early Christianity." (Balay BC274)
Translation of Dizionario patristico e di antichita cristiane. "Concise, authoritative, signed articles, written by an international team of 167 scholars, cover topics in archaeology, philosophy, linguistics, history, theology, and geography to about 750 CE. Special attention is given to the relationship between Christianity and the pagan world. Bibliographies have been updated to 1991. Includes a synoptic table of secular, ecclesiastical, cultural, and doctrinal matters. Separate section of maps and illustrations; index." (Balay BC275)
"A scholarly dictionary, with signed articles, covering biography, literature, mythology, philosophy, religion, science, geography, etc. Most of the articles are brief, but there are some longer survey articles, e.g., Rome, music, scholarship, etc. Bibliographies are appended to most articles, and are usually limited to a few of the best works on the subject, in English and foreign languages. Bibliographies for the articles on the great classical writers usually include texts, commentaries, translations, lexicons, style, life, criticism, etc." (Balay DA103)
The focus of this one-volume encyclopedic dictionary is primarily on the literary methods of the Greco-Roman society and culture that influenced the writing of the in New Testament and early Christian literature, and secondarily on the contemporary methods used by scholars to interpret and understand this literature. Entries are alphabetical by topic. Asterisked words or phrases indicate that there is a separate entry for the term. Each entry ends with a list of related entries. Most articles also come with a bibliography with abbreviated entries consisting of the last names of authors and the dates of publications; complete bibliographical information is provided at the end of the volume.
English alternative to the Lexicon des Mittelalters, in 12 volumes of about 800 pp. each, plus an index volume. Major articles are upwards of 1000 words, minor articles and definitions 50-100 words. Less comprehensive than the Lexicon, but bibliographies favor English works where possible and includes survey works.
German. The standard reference work for the middle ages, in 6 volumes of about 2000 pp each. Entry on Peter Abelard is 1500 words plus a bibliography. Bibliographies tend to favor German and French sources, and avoid survey works. Very thorough.
Probably the best of the English saints' dictionaries. Lists about 1,500 saints, with focus on those from or venerated in Britain. Includes brief bibliographies on each (other saints' dictionaries are more comprehensive - about 2,000-2,500 saints - but lack bibliography). Articles from c.50-350 words.
This volume brings into conversation theological thinkers from around the globe, especially those from what the editors term “the Global South” (i.e., Latin America, Africa and Asia.)
The volume covers both standard topics of Christian theology (e.g., ecclesiology, sacraments, salvation, etc.) as well as topics more specific to local contexts. The “conversation” among contributors to this volume takes place in a variety of ways: sometimes a single entry is co-authored by a number of authors from different global contexts; sometimes there is a main article authored by one theologian with a response provided by another theologian; and sometimes a single topic is treated by two or more authors in separate entries. Bibliographies are found at the end of each article and cross-references are provided. Two indexes, one on subjects and one on persons are found at the end of the volume. A list of contributors is also provided.