Review by Choice Review
In English, this field is currently better served by single-volume resources (e.g., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought ed. by A. E. McGrath, CH, Jun'94, 31-5183, or The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, ed. by A. Hastings, CH, May'01, 38-4780) than those in multiple volumes (e.g., Encyclopedia of Christianity, ed. by G. W. Bromiley, 3v., CH, Oct'99, 37-0655). The primary features of this work are its length (almost 2,000 pages; 250 contributors of 15 different nationalities) and its European frame of reference. This may mean its main contribution to many US and Canadian libraries will be to complement related works that offer a more North American approach. Entries vary in length, and some are more satisfying than others (e.g., "Pentecostalism" warrants a longer treatment and lacks bibliographic citations from the past decade). If topical distribution shows imbalance, concerns regarding geographical balance are more serious. Little interest, direct or otherwise, is shown toward theological trends or issues from China, Africa, or India. Whether this focus is intended (the front matter is silent concerning it) or accidental, the work rests on the assumption that Western culture is the most productive, dynamic environment for Christian theology. This is both inaccurate and distorting and casts doubt on the future usefulness of this work. The translation into English of a work this size is a major challenge, but the publishers might have revised the fine, extensive bibliographies to include English-language sources; most sources cited are in German or French. The subject index (almost 60 pages) might have been augmented by author and title indexes. Overall, while this work is welcome, it is likely that the next generation of reference works in theology will be more cognizant of theology outside the West. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and academic collections. D. R. Stewart Luther Seminary
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
The\b \b0 Encyclopedia of Christian Theology0 is an English translation of the Dictionnaire critique de theologie 0 (PUF, 1998) with some additions and modifications to the French original. A densely academic work, its nearly 500 entries on doctrines, events, theories, schools of thought, and individuals are alphabetically arranged and conclude with excellent supplemental bibliographies and see0 references. The editor opted against many shorter, dictionary-like entries in favor of fewer, lengthier essays. Consequently, use of the detailed index is necessary. For example, there is no separate entry for the medieval thinker William of Ockham. Rather, he is included in the essay Nominalism0 and several others. Theology is here narrowly defined for purposes of what topics to include. "Attention is concentrated on such matters as Trinitarian theology, Christology, the Incarnation, the Redemption," etc. This is evidenced in lengthy entries for Christ/Christology, God, Holy Spirit0 , and Incarnation.0 Other core issues for Christian theology include Faith, Hope, Love0 , and Peace.0 Entries are very good at tracing differences among Roman Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox thought, thereby providing the reader with a variety of Christian responses to theological issues even though the work as a whole is rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition. Its importance notwithstanding, Christian teaching about many social issues is not covered for the most part, although the entries for Abortion, Property,0 and Race0 provide interesting glimpses. Entries often conclude with "a speculative section . . . pointing to tasks remaining to be accomplished and directions in which theological discussion appears to be moving." Many readers may be unused to finding such reflection in an encyclopedia or may find an encyclopedia an altogether inappropriate venue for it. Although the Encyclopedia of Christian Theology 0 does a great service in making a fine work of scholarship available to the Anglophone world, the excellent supplemental bibliographies are generally to very specialized works, the majority in languages other than English. Moreover, the critical approach to the subject matter is continental in general, French in particular. With these caveats in mind, the work is highly recommended for large academic and theological libraries. --Christopher McConnell Copyright 2005 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This English translation of the well-regarded Dictionnaire Critique de Theologie (Nouvelle Edition) is a collaborative effort of 250 contributors from approximately 100 academic institutions representing 15 nationalities. Wide-ranging in its approach to all aspects of Christian theology, the work contains 500 entries, ranging from less than a page to over 15 pages in length, that cover significant events, concepts, and movements throughout the history of Christian thought, along with a bibliography and see also cross references. The most recent theologians covered are Karl Barth and Karl Rahner, both of whom lived in the mid-20th century. Bottom Line The failure to include contemporary theological figures such as Jurgen Moltmann, Miroslav Volf, and Stanley Hauerwas is a minor drawback, but overall, this is a reference work of high quality that will serve as an excellent research tool in both academic and public libraries. Highly recommended.-John Jaeger, Dallas Baptist Univ. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.