A Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians edited by Patrick
Carey, Joseph Lienhard (Hendrickson) (hardcover)
The last 20 centuries of Christian history have witnessed the emergence of
numerous theological traditions. This reference provides alphabetically arranged
entries for more than 450 Christian theologians. Included are entries for those
individuals whose work was primarily in systematic and spiritual theology, or
who were church historians chiefly concerned with theological matters. Whenever
possible, each entry provides basic biographical information, a brief account of
the theologian's education and career, and a summary of the person's most
important contributions to theology. The entries end with bibliographies of
primary and secondary sources, while the volume concludes with a selected,
The Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians is meant to be a practical work of reference. Its goal is to provide readers with a concise introduction to the lives and thought of more than 450 Christian theologians. Whenever possible, articles first sketch the theologian's education and career and then provide a concise summary of that theologian's major works and contributions to theology. A short bibliography of primary and secondary works concludes each article. The articles are meant to be descriptive, rather than argumentative or polemical, in their presentations of the theological traditions that have emerged in almost 2,000 years of Christian history.
Articles follow a format first used in Henry Warner Bowden's Dictionary of American Religious Biography (Greenwood Press, 1977; 2d ed. 1993). A standard format was the goal for each entry; but in some cases, limited information made uniformity impossible. Accuracy was, of course, the primary goal of authors and editors; but limitations of space made it impossible to deal with subtle problems of dating or complexities of interpretation. Whenever possible, each entry supplies the theologian's date and place of birth and death, and a brief account of his or her education and career. There`follows a summary of the theologian's most important contributions to theology. The entry ends with a short bibliography, divided into two parts. Part A lists the most important editions of primary works-that is, the theologian's own writings. Part B lists secondary works, which are modem studies of the theologian's thought and influence. For most articles, Part B of the bibliography is restricted to about six entries, which are biographies or systematic interpretative studies. Each article also has the author's name supplied. A list of contributors, with their academic positions, is found at the end of the volume.
Entries are restricted to Christian theologians who died before 1994, when this project was begun. Moreover, "theologian" is here understood in a fairly restricted sense: those whose work was primarily in systematic and spiritual theology, or historians of the Christian Church whose work was primarily theological in orientation. The editors have excluded exegetes, canon lawyers, and philosophers of religion such as Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and Georg Hegel. In other words, entries were restricted to those whose work was primarily the result of a study of Scripture and tradition. Within these limits, the editors tried to choose the most important and representative theologians from the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions and, especially in treating the postReformation period, gave particular attention to theologians of the English-speaking world. When a theologian's name is mentioned within an article not about that theologian, an asterisk is placed beside the name to indicate an entry in this volume.
The length of each entry was determined by the editors' perception of each theologian's importance to the development of Christian theological traditions. The longest entries comprise 2,000 words; such entries are limited to such crucial theologians as St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Karl Barth, and Karl Rahner. The shortest entries are 250 words long.
The primary readership that the editors had in mind was graduate students in a master's degree program in theology. The volume is intended to give such students a first orientation to the great theologians of the Christian tradition. The editors hope, of course, that the volume might also be useful to clergy and others who are interested in the Christian theological tradition, to advanced scholars who seek some brief note on an unfamiliar theologian, and to any reader who seeks an introduction to the life and works of theologians who have influenced thought and culture.
In carrying out this project, Joseph T. Lienhard was responsible for selecting and editing entries on theologians from the pre-Reformation era, and Patrick W. Carey for those from the post-Reformation period. Both consulted with experts in various historical periods as they prepared the list of entries, and invited many scholars to contribute articles. Many scholars contributed their time and talent to the preparation of this volume; whatever success and value it has will largely be due to their generosity and their willing cooperation with the editors.
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology by Walter A. Elwell (Baker Academic) Fifteen years after its original publication comes a thoroughly revised second edition of the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Every article from the original edition has been revisited. With some articles being removed, others revised, and many new articles added, the result is a completely new dictionary covering systematic, historical, and philosophical theology as well as theological ethics. Theologians, pastors, lay readers, and students have relied on the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology as a valued resource for years. For an evangelic perspective this work proves to inspire and to clearly situate believing Christians into the academic study of religion. If one wants clearly written and useful introductory accounts of topical Christian themes in history and in the academic study of religion this work proves to be invaluable. I even recommend the Evangelical Dictionary of Theology to non-evangelists for it grounds religious thought in a wide and generous spirit.
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