Review by Choice Review
This extensive tool covers a wide range of topics concerning the early church and its relationships with ancient society. Most of the contributors are European scholars, whose articles have been translated and supplemented with references to recent works in English. The coverage is impressive, but some of the articles, like that on war, are so brief as to be cryptic. The editors define the chronological limits of the project as the lifetime of the Venerable Bede in the West and of John Damascene in the East, thus the 8th century in both; but coverage extends into the next century with an entry for Photius of Constantinople. A few topics lacking separate entries, among them Hypatia and Ambrosius Autpertus, still can be found through the index. The chronolgical table, maps, and illustrations are very fine. The chief defect to be noted is the lack of a single entry, apart from those for virgins and widows, tracing the origins of female monasticism. On the whole, this encyclopedia has greater depth than does Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (CH, Sep'90); but many libraries will not need so extensive a tool. Smaller academic libraries, especially those without strong collecting interests in religion will find Encyclopedia of Early Christianity sufficient. Highly recommended for research libraries and for all libraries collecting on religious topics. T. M. Izbicki; Johns Hopkins University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This comprehensive source on the first eight centuries of Christianity (through approximately 753 C.E.) is translated from the Dizionario Patristico e di Antichita Cristiane (1983-88). There are some 2300 entries contributed by an international team of 167 scholars affiliated with the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome. Among the topics covered are archaeology, art and architecture, biography, culture, doctrine, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology. Following the alphabetical section is a parallel chronology (secular, ecclesiastical, and cultural and doctrinal matters), over 40 maps, and 320 illustrations. Coverage is, within the scope of the work, thorough. For example, prominent figures such as Augustine and Origen are covered in appropriate depth. More obscure persons are given briefer entries. Although the encyclopedia is advertised as a resource for scholars, students, and general readers, the latter may labor through many of the articles. First, the style of some of the articles borders on pedantic. Second, a number of the authors use untranslated Latin and Greek terminology and occasionally cite primary sources by their Greek and Latin titles even when English translations are available. For these reasons, general readers and lower-level undergraduates may be better served by the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity , edited by Everett Ferguson ( LJ 5/1/90). However, graduate students and scholars will turn to these volumes time after time. Recommended for seminary, academic, and large public libraries.--Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.