Encyclopedia of Christian Theology - Vol. 1

Encyclopedia of Christian Theology - Vol. 1

Encyclopedia of Christian Theology - Vol. 1

Encyclopedia of Christian Theology - Vol. 1

Synopsis

The classic Dictionnaire Critique de Theologie (Nouvelle Edition), is now accessible to a wide English-speaking readership in need of an authoritative, incisive, and up-to-date ecumenical reference to this enduring field of study. This monumental set covers over 500 events, doctrines, individuals, theories, and schools of thought that comprise the study of the Christian religion across all of its denominations. The 250 contributors-all carefully selected specialists at the world's leading centers for religious scholarship-analyze both the essential building blocks of theology as well as its most complex aspects and concerns, making this work an invaluable resource for laypersons as well as university-level students and scholars at the highest levels.

Excerpt

A reader about to venture into a thick reference work (especially one dealing with theology) has the right to ask for additional mercy from its editor: that is, that the editor specifies the aim and use of the work. A few glosses about the title will answer this request. First and foremost, this is an encyclopedia of theology, meaning, in a restrictive sense that is also a precise sense, the massive amount of discourse and doctrines that Christianity has assembled about God and its experience of God. There are other discourses on God, and theology was often the first to champion their rationality. By selecting one term to refer to one practice (historically circumscribed) of the logos and one call (historically circumscribed) in the name of God, we do not pretend to deny the existence or the rationality of other practices or calls-we are only offering to make use of theological to name the fruits of a kind of covenant between the Greek logos and the Christian restructuring of the Jewish experience. When the philosopher discusses God, it rarely appears that his interest is theological, in the fixed sense of the term. Because Judaism was able to tie in the richest things it had to say without pillaging the theoretical legacy of classical antiquity, it is also unlikely that theological needs to be applied to its doctrines. Likewise, because the Islamic Kalam itself follows some rather original structuration rules, it is inadequate to baptize it “Islamic theology, ” unless one accepts a certain vagueness. As for the rigorous comparative study of all the discourses in which the signifier God (whether its intervention be that of name, concept, or other) appears, it is still in its infancy.

Second, this is an encyclopedia, by which we mean an academic tool serving knowledge. It is one thing to produce knowledge and another to transmit it. Thus, we will not expect from this collegiate effort, which the present foreword concludes, that it was a work of creation. In the organized disorder presided over by the alphabetical order of the entries, its ambition was modest: to provide readers with a starting point for the main theological objects. Events, doctrines, contributors, theories and metatheories, over five hundred objects are to be found within the pages of this encyclopedia. The reader who wants to browse through the pages following a question will always find stand-alone entries and the point about the question. The reader who prefers . . .

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