Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions

Article excerpt

Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. Edited by Gerald H. Anderson. (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, Simon & Schuster Macmillan. 1998. Pp. vii, 845. $100.00.)

This massive tome fills a gap in reference works; it is needed and will be used by all missiologists and mission agencies, but especially by mission historians. It should be present in the library of every theological school and mission agency around the world because it is in the fullest meaning of the words: ecumenical, global, and scholarly

Gerald Anderson was assisted by an Editorial Advisory Board composed of excellent scholars from Europe, North America, and South America; this assured a representative choice of topics and a high quality of research. The work includes articles on 2,400 people who were missionaries or who had a significant connection with mission work. It covers the period from post-New Testament times down to our own days. They were chosen from the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Pentecostal, independent, and indigenous churches. The articles were written by 349 authors from forty-five different countries. In many cases the writers are the undoubted authorities on the persons being described. All the articles are signed. At the end of each article is a short but significant bibliography, which is not limited to English titles. While the style of writing is diverse, the quality is uniformly good. In each article an asterisk appears before the name of a person mentioned for whom there is a special entry. This cross-referencing is most useful to the reader.

The dictionary is made even more useful by its extended appendix and index. In the appendix are found the list of entries: by time period (e.g., born before 800, born from 801 to 1500, etc.); of women; of martyrs (not just those canonized by the Catholic Church but generally recognized as such, e.g., Archbishop Romero); by region of service (e.g., different sections of Africa, Asia, etc.); by selected major agencies, Orders (limited here to the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits), and religious traditions; of Non-Western Persons (according to regions); and by type of work (excluding evangelism, church planting, and education). This will prove a great help to people doing research on a more general topic. The index is another important aid. It does not include the biographical entries-and justifiably so-but it does list geographical names and local institutions that are significant in the articles plus the names of all the contributors with their entries. …

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