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Encyclopedia of Christianity /

Other Authors: Bowden, John Stephen.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York, N.Y. : Oxford University Press, 2005
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Review by Choice Review

This is probably the most comprehensive single-volume encyclopedia of Christianity. Unlike previous one-volume reference works, such as The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought (CH, May'01, 38-4780) or The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed., CH, Nov'97, 35-1262), its coverage is both broad and comprehensive, including over 300 signed articles on topics ranging from the Apostle Paul to the Quakers. Its closest comparison is Brill's The Encyclopedia of Christianity (v. 1, CH, Oct'99), which is currently being released in a new edition. Both the scope and the length of Oxford's one-volume title are more limited. However, the Oxford encyclopedia does include some features that Brill's lacks: numerous black-and-white and color plate illustrations, and design features that make it more reader-friendly. For instance, keywords are highlighted at the side of entries, and icons direct the reader to important questions and further readings. Additionally, numerous graphs and charts, and a Who's Who biographical section, enhance the text. Although this volume does not supplant Brill's, it provides a useful counterpart. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Academic collections, especially those serving undergraduates; also faculty/researchers and general readers. J. Stevens George Mason University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The more than 300 stylish and informative articles collected in this encyclopedia make a fascinating introduction to Christianity through the ages and around the world. The distinguished contributors include Oxford University professor John Barton, Georgetown University ethicist Cynthia B. Cohen and University of Chicago emeritus Martin Marty. If some of the essays?such as those on ?persecution? and ?saint??are a tad predictable, others are delightfully counterintuitive. Elizabeth J. Harris?s contribution on ?Buddhism and Christianity? shows that church fathers were aware of Buddhism by the second century and suggests Buddhist monasticism may have shaped Christian monasticism. Carolyn J.B. Hammond moves from Christian understandings of God?s activity in human history to the question of human suffering in an entry on historiography. A delightfully quirky essay on ?Community Arts,? by Rod Pattenden, shows the mission of the local church is reshaped when churches sponsor artists-in-residence. Twenty-one stunning color plates help inflate the price-tag, but they are well worth it. (There are also 96 black and white illustrations.) Call-out boxes explain Latin and Greek theological term, catalogue papal encyclicals and list famous Marian apparitions. Caveat lector: those readers who come to reference books expecting ideological neutrality won?t find it here. The essay on ?Women in Christianity,? for example, was written by Rosemary Radford Ruether and suggests that many Catholics find the Church?s teaching on gender ?unacceptable and even incomprehensible.? Overall, this encyclopedia is a must-have for any Christian reference shelf. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


Review by Library Journal Review

It is curious that Oxford chose to title this hefty volume an encyclopedia, even though its editor Bowden (A Dictionary of Christian Theology) states clearly in the introduction that it is a guide, not an encyclopedia or dictionary. Regardless of the title, this completely revised and updated third edition is an excellent resource on Christianity. Its 300-plus articles, written by nearly 200 contributors, are arranged alphabetically and cross-referenced, with special icons indicating their nature or purpose (e.g., "gateway," or introductory articles, distinguished by a larger font and single-column format). Varying in length from 1000 to 17,000 words, the thorough articles cover topics ranging from bioethics to methodism to God in a straightforward manner without resorting to oversimplified explanations. Unfamiliar vocabulary is included in the glossary in the back of the book, along with biographies, chronology, and a general index. Bottom Line Although less scholarly than Eerdmans' extensive Encyclopedia of Christianity (2003), this book would make a significant contribution to any reference collection. The variety of information covered and the inclusion of appropriate illustrations (21 color plates and 96 b&w) give the volume a welcoming look and make it accessible to Christians and non-Christians alike. Highly recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries supporting religious studies programs; order a copy for your circulating collections as well.-Rosanne M. Cordell, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend (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.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Christianity cant be crammed into a box-but much of it fits into this Bible-size book. General readers will find most of the articles accessible, well written, and substantial, but not overwhelming. Major topics (e.g., Arts, Communication, Death, Diversity, Ethics, Mission, Prayer, Story, Symbols) appear in 33 Gateway articles. Appealing features include 166 boxes with statistics, lists, and fascinating byways, and a Whos Who of 400-plus figures (deficient in females) in addition to the full articles afforded major players. Other articles cover wide-ranging topics (e.g., Ecotheology, Environmental ethics, Love, the Roman empire, Mysticism, Science, Pilgrimage, Satan, Poverty, Sin, Wars of religion, Sexuality, Homosexuality, and Gay and lesbian theology). Like Martin Martys masterly summation of Christianity in North America, articles on regional Christian churches and on relations between Christianity and other major world religions are extended and thoughtful. Bibliographies follow each article. The marginal symbols for cross-referencing are not improvements on the usual bold or italic type. Small errors and omissions are unavoidable (two errors in index entries for Taizé; there is no mention of Santeria, though other Afro-Caribbean syncretizing sects are discussed), but they do not detract from the undeniable achievement of this remarkable resource.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. Georges School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.