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Religions of the World: Western Christianity

Last updated: 03-30-2009

Western Christianity

New Catholic Encyclopedia. Main BX 841 .C25 2003 v. 1-15
Long a standard multi-volume encyclopedia of religion. Long, signed articles, with bibliographies, on people, saints, places, church history, groups, orders, Biblical topics, etc. There is a web site at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/Supplement 2012-2013: Ethics and Philosophy

Papacy, an Encyclopedia. Main BX 955.2 .D53 2002 v. 1-3
Translated from French, originally published in French in 1994. Signed entries, mostly by Continental European scholars, with bibliographic references for most entries. Volume 3 has lists of popes, martyred popes, popes who are saints. Bibliographies are updated from 1994 and augmented with significant, recent English-language sources. Updated information on Pope John Paul II. Entries range from a paragraph to several pages. Entries for persons (predominate), broad topics (architecture, Papal, Renaissance humanism and the Papacy), narrow topics (catacombs, legate), interdisciplinary topics (image of Rome in literature, traveler’s views of Rome and the Vatican), parts of the Vatican (Press Office of the Holy See), events (sack of Rome), particular churches (St. John Lateran, basilica of), European history topics (wars of Italy, French (16th century), World War I), church councils (Vatican II), other faiths (Judaism), religious orders (Franciscans). Fewer place entries.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. Main BR 162.2 .E53 1997 v. 1-2
Published by Garland. "covers persons, cities, doctrines, practices, art, liturgy, heresies, and schisms to 600 A.D." About 1,000 signed articles by 135, mostly American, authorities. Articles are paragraph length to a couple of pages, with bibliographic references. Also useful for EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY.

Encyclopedia of Monasticism. Main BL 631 .E63 2000 v. 1-2
Fitzroy Dearborn. "a conspectus of monastic life, past and present- its practices, doctrines, lifestyles, spiritualities, and art, as pursued in Buddhism and Christianity." Useful for EASTERN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY and BUDDHISM. Five types of articles: persons (founders, reformers, scholars, mystics, etc.), places (monastic histories of countries, cities, and individual monasteries), topics (both Buddhist and Christian), Roman Catholic monastic orders, and themes (historical, sociological, theological, liturgical, gender, artistic, musical, both Buddhist and Christian). Signed articles, with bibliographies, a page to several pages in length.

Encyclopedia of Medieval Pilgrimage.  Main BX 2320.5 .E85 E53 2010 

An interdisciplinary reference work, giving wide coverage of the role of travel in medieval religious life. Dealing with the period 300-1500 A.D., it offers both basic data on as broad a range of European pilgrimage as possible and clearly written, self-contained introductions to the general questions of pilgrimage research. Local sites of pilgrimage are represented in this work as well as the main routes to Rome, Jerusalem and Santiago. Written and material sources relating to pilgrimage are used to illustrate aspects of medieval society, from book production and the trade in relics, to the development of the towns, art, architecture and literature which pilgrimage engendered. 435 signed entries; over 180 contributors from Europe and North America.

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. Reference BR 302.8 .O93 1996 v. 1-4
"...promises to become a standard." Reformation in the title is meant to be "a convenient label to denote nothing more, but also nothing less, than the rich diversity of all religious life in 16th-century Europe." "Seeks to do justice to the whole range of events and happenings of the 16thcentury. No illustrations. Signed articles, with bibliographies, with both primary and secondary sources, from half a page to several pages.

Historical Dictionary of the Puritans Main BX 9323 .P37 2007

Blackwell Companion to Protestantism

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Main BX 4811.3 .E53 2004 v. 1-4
Entries signed and by scholars, with further reading references. “Seeks to offer a comprehensive reference work for this diverse Protestant tradition, both historically and theologically.” “Protestant Christianity may be defined as those theologies, church structures, and polities that consciously separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church.” “The historical dimension dominates.” “… it strives to be neutral….” Includes biographical entries, and for persons living in the 20th century if the person plays a significant role in shaping Protestantism in his/her times. Entries range from one or two paragraphs to several pages in length. Many biographical entries for deceased persons. Entries for denominations (Anglicanism), missionary societies, ethnic groups (Amish), religious groups (Anabaptists, Anglo-Catholicism), broad topics (colleges, Protestant; hymns and hymnals; ethics, medical; observances; science; women, United States), narrow topics (home schooling, homosexuality), particular schools (Moody Bible Institute), countries, theological movements (neo-orthodoxy, Mercersburg theology), Bible versions. One feels a North American emphasis.

Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions Main BL 2525 .M449 2009
A new edition of a standard work, arranging American religions, denominations, and sects by "family," meaning, for example, that Presbyterians, Reformeds, and Congregationalists, all emanating from thought of the Reformation reformer Jean Calvin are discussed in one section. Covers all the "families," their many splinters, rebirths, etc.: Reformed-Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pietest-Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Holiness, Pentecostal, European Free Church, Adventist, Independent Fundamentalist, Western Esotericism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduim, Christian Science, Latter-Day Saints, etc. Within each section there is an article about the history of the "family" in the United States, including time line, bibliography, and short entries on intrafaith organizations and on the various denominations making up the family (with contact information, membership numbers, periodicals published, educational facilties, and some more source references.)  The 2003 edition is online here.

New Dictionary of Theology  Main BR 95 .N39 2016

Concise, signed articles, each with numerous cross-references and a select bibliography.  The more than 200 British and North American contributors represent the Protestant, evangelical viewpoint.  Over 400 additional articles from previous ed., 1988, minus the biblical theology material.  It is dictionary of systematic and historical theology. 

Religion and American Cultures, Tradition, Diversity, and Popular Expression new edition of title below. Reference online BL 2525 .R448 2015

Religion and American Culture, an Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions. Main BL 2525 .R448 2003 v. 1-3
Volume three contains copies of primary source documents significant in American religious history, organized chronologically, from privileges granted to Christopher Columbus to the oath taken by naturalized citizens in 2002. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is here, Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation,” Edwards “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Volume one contains articles on the various faiths and Christian denominations in America. Volume two has topical articles: the Body, Death, Sacred Space, Sexuality, Science, Violence, Ritual and Performance, etc. Lengthy, but unannotated bibliography.

Religion and Politics in America: an Encyclopedia of Church and State in American Life

Deals with the relationship between religion and politics, broadly conceived. Covered here are movements and groups, including denominations, issues, laws, events, as well as individuals, from colonial times to the present. The subtitle mentions the relationship between church and state. This is a reference to the institutional dimension of religion and politics. Please note that the term “church” is used in the United States, in a legal sense, to refer to any form of religion and is not restricted therefore to Christian denominations or to Christianity. In American jurisprudence, under the term “church” one can find considerations of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Native American religions, and other religious groups. One of the strengths is that it both deals with the religious diversity in the United States—a diversity that has been increasing over the past half-century—and at the same time does not lose sight of the still predominantly Christian orientation of the nation. Another benefit of this encyclopedia is its development of themes that are global or transnational in scope.

Handbook of Pentecostal Christianity Main BR 1644 .H36 2012

Chapters on 50 topics related to Pentecostalism, each by a different scholar.  Examples:  Azuza Street Mission and Revival.  Dispensationalism.  Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  African American Pentecostalism.  Glossolalia. Aimee Semple McPherson.  Revival.  Snake Handling.  Spiritual Gifts. Televangelism. 

Encyclopedia of Religion in America.  Main BL 2530 .E52 2010 v. 1-4

Chronology of Religious Life in America. Main BR 515 .W76 2009

Counter-Creationism Handbook  Main BS 651 .I82 2005

Takes several hundred claims of creationists and proponents of intelligent design and answers them succinctly and scientifically, providing citations for both the claims for, and the arguments against, them.  Creationist arguments are arranged by topic alphabetically.

Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism Main BR 1640 .B35 2004

Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements Main BT 891 .E53 2000

Handbook of Roman Catholic Moral Terms  Main BJ 1249 .B625 2013

Catholic Experience in America Main BX 1406.3 .V38 2006

Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. Main  BX 1406.2 .E53 1997

"The primary aim of each entry, whether it reflects some original research or summarizes existing scholarship, is to provide basic information, while its bibliographical citations open the road to further study." Articles range from a single paragraph to many pages and are signed.

Contemporary American Religion. Main BL 2525 .C65 2000 v. 1-2
Macmillan. Over 500 articles. "....intended as a lexicon of popular religious culture, pulling together trends, organizations, beliefs, practices, ideals, symbols, traditions, movements, discourses, and major leaders making up the incredibly diverse religious climate of the United States at the beginning of the 21st century." Signed articles, with bibliographies, a page to several pages in length.

African American Religious Cultures.  Main BL 2500 .A37 2009 v. 1-2

Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions. Main BL 2462.5 .E53 2001

Routledge. "Focuses exclusively on religion, its place in African and African-American societies, and its impact on society in general." "Primary purpose is to provide an up-to-date and authoritative guide to the religions of African and African-American peoples with special attention given to religious movements in Africa and the religions of the African diaspora in North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean." 145 articles by 72 scholars from 13 countries, about half trained in anthropology. Many articles on religions, religious movements, churches, and organizations documenting movements. Signed articles, with bibliographies.

Asian American Religious Cultures Main BL 2525 .A845 2015 v. 1-2

19 essays on critical topics, plus over 200 shorter entries.  A place to start for undergrads.  Entries on persons and organizations also.

New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: v. 1: Religion Main F 209 .N47 2006

Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. Main BR 535 .E52 2005
Dictionary of religion in the American South, present and past. Overview of the topic, 37 pages. Dictionary arrangement of topics, concepts, denominations, places, persons. Lengthy articles, signed, and with bibliographies. No index.

Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites.  Main BX 4931.3 .C67 2010

"Provides a succinct overview of the history, religious beliefs, and cultural practices of four North American religious families: Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites," which "include more than 200 groups that trace their roots, inspiration, and/or affiliations back to the Anabaptist Movement in Europe during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation."  350 short entries.  Directory of groups.  Some statistics.   Bibliography.

Historical Dictionary of Calvinism Main BX 9406 .P53 2012

Historical Dictionary of Catholicism Main BX 945.3 .C65 2012

Historical Dictionary of the Reformed Churches Main BX 9415 .B46 2010

Historical Dictionary of the Baptists Main BX 6211 .B73 2009

Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism Main BX 5007 .B83 2015

Historical Dictionary of Methodism Main BX 8211 .H57 1996 and 2013

Historical Dictionary of the Friends (Quakers) Main BX 7611 .H57 2012

Historical Dictionary of the Holiness Movement Main BX 7990 .H6 H55 2009

Historical Dictionary of Lutheranism Main BX 8007 .G37 2011

Historical Dictionary of Radical Christianity Main  BR 95 .B68 2012

"Radical Christian activity and experience may reflect either a primary or derived life of spirituality.  New converts may join a sect or movement with radical characteristics, or they may become dissatisfied with their initial Christian experience and desire a different or deeper Christian spirituality, usually closely parallel to that seen in the New Testament."

Historical Dictionary of the Salvation Army Main BX 9721.3 .H57 2006

Historical Dictionary of the Seventh-Day Adventists Main BX 6153 .L36 2015

Historical Dictionary of the Shakers Main BX 9765 .P38 2017 and earlier eds.

Mormonism: a Historical Encyclopedia Main BX 8605.5 .M67 2010

Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States Main BX 8611 .C63 2014  Excerpts from primary sources

Concise Encyclopedia of Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites  Main BX 4931.3 .C67 2010

Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. Main  BT 990 .C64 2003 v. 1-4 Supplementary material in Software Collection, DMC, 4th floor west.
Chronological arrangement, with early, Eastern, and medieval material in volume one, Reformation era material in volume two, modern Christianity in volume three. Volume four is called Credo and contains a historical and theological guide to Christian creeds and confessions of faith; it is really an introduction to the set. The first three volumes contain reproductions of primary source documents of Christian history, creeds and confessions. The other encyclopedias and dictionaries of Christianity in this guide will have entries of varying lengths about them, but will not contain copies of them, as are provided here. There is a page of introductory material about each entry; this includes references and citations to the texts presented. Volumes one through three each have an unannotated bibliography, and three indexes: to persons, to scripture references, and to topics.

Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Main BR 513 .Y4
Annual. Published by Abingdon Press. Similar to Catholic Almanac and Official Catholic Directory in function, which is quick factual and name/address information on denominations, para-church organizations, ecumenical bodies, church archives and records collections, religious periodicals, and seminaries in the U.S. and Canada. Also has statistical information on church membership and church finances.

Official Catholic Directory. Main BX 845 .C5
Annual. Published for the Vatican. Directory information for the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Pacific Islands, and foreign missionary activities. Includes directory information on seminaries, religious orders, archdioceses, dioceses, parishes, parochial schools. Also has statistical information.  There is an online directory of United States Catholic parishes here.

World Christian Encyclopedia. Main BR 95 .W67 2001 v.1-2 Statistics on religion by country.

Encyclopedia of Christian Literature Main BR 117.3 .E53 2010 v. 1-2

"... is an attempt to identify the canon of Christian literature, the core books that have fertilized, irrigated, and nurtured the Christian mind over the centuries."  "This encyclopedia answers the question of which seminal books and which authors have had an enduring influence on the way Christians have appropriated the eternal truths of the faith and applied them to their own lives and the temporal world around them. v. 1 has long articles, with bibliographies,  signed by scholars on genres and types of Christian literature.  v. 2 has 430 signed biobibliographical articles on, primarily, Christian authors.

Masterplots II, Christian Literature Main BR 117 .M15 2008 v. 1-4
"...captures the entire breadth of Christian literature--both fiction and nonfiction--by selecting more than 500 of the greatest and most representative works identified with the genre. At the core of this list are the fiction and nonfiction "classics" to which most students and general readers, Christian or secular, will be exposed at some time in their lives, from Saint Augustine's Confessions to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series." Dates of publication range from the first to 21st centuries. Set is arranged by title of work critiqued. Entries of several pages each cover: author, history of publication, edition consulted here, genres and subgenres to which the work belongs, core issues dealt with in it, abstract, principal characters, an overview, the Christian themes in it, and sources for further reading and study. Author, title, geographical, core issues, genre indexes. Chronological list of all titles treated. Bibliography and electronic resources.

Biblical Studies on the Internet.  Main BS 600.3 .W67 2002

History Highway: a 21st Century Guide to Internet Resources Reference and DMC 4 West (CD) D 16.117 .H55 2006

An annotated bibliography of web sites.

Christian Writers' Market Guide.  Main  BV 2369.5 .U6 S24 2010

Used to find help writers find publishing outlets for their own written work, books, periodical articles, short stories, etc.  Book publishers arranged by area of interest, denomination, periodicals ditto.  Helps for writers lists Christian writers' workshops and conferences, writers' clubs, editorial services, Christian literary agents, contents. 

Christmas Encyclopedia  Main  GT 4985 .C74 2013

760 entries, all by the author, range in length from a paragraph to more than a page.  Wide variety of subjects: individual carols and songs, historical events at Christmastime, popular Christmas symbols, Christmas plants, place names, stamps, literary works, celebrations around the world, origin of most cherished traditions in the U.S.  Unique is the emphasis on Christmas as depicted in popular media. Some black and white illustrations.  Bibliography at end.

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