Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy

By Coppa, Frank J. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 2002 | Go to article overview

Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy


Coppa, Frank J., The Catholic Historical Review


Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy. Edited by Bruno Steimer and Michael G. Parker. Translated by Brian McNeil and Peter Heinigg. [Volume one of The Encyclopedia of Theology and Church based on the third edition of the Lexikon fi)r Theologie and Kirche. I (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company. 2001. Pp. xviii, 278. $50.00.)

The Papacy or office of the bishop of Rome, which has played a crucial role in world history, continues to generate interest, as can be seen by the spate of publications about it. Unlike the multi-volume works produced in the past (such as Pastor's), however, the last decade has witnessed a proliferation of onevolume dictionaries or encyclopedias of the institution in German, French, Italian, and English. The recently published English works include: Matthew Bunson, The Pope Encyclopedia (1995); P G. Maxwell-Stuart, Chronicles of the Popes (1997); Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners:A History of the Popes (1997); Frank J. Coppa,Encyclopedia of the Vatican and Papacy (1999); and Richard P McBrien, Lives of the Popes (1999), among others. Older, but still useful works, include: J. N. D. Kelly, The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (1986) and J. V Bartlett, The Popes (1990). A number of these volumes are cited in the short but helpful "Select Bibliography" (pp. xv-xvi) of the work currently under review.

The present Dictionary contains the necessary scholarly features of this genre including a"List of Popes" in chronological order, with an indication that those marked by an asterisk should not be regarded as legitimate bishops of Rome-and are therefore antipopes. A separate list of antipopes might have been useful. The main text is divided into two parts: persons and subjects. The first part (pp. 1-155) provides important information on popes and antipopes from "Peter" to "John Paul 11" in alphabetical order-and includes an entry on the alleged female pope"Joan" (pp. 69-70). These entries vary in length from a few lines for"Adeodatus 11"(p. 1) to several pages for"Pius IX" (pp. …

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