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Michigan State University

Religions of the World: Christianity in General

This is a guide to researching religions of the world: Western and Eastern Christianity, Eastern religions, Islam, Bahai, New Age Movements, Judaism. Last updated 06-26-2023

Christianity in General

Jesus in History, Legend, Scripture, and Tradition: a World Encyclopedia

Two volumes, published 2015.  Possibly a new edition of the editor's Jesus in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia, which is in Main at BR 145.3 .H68 2003 v. 1-2.  The 2015 work emphasizes Jesus' lasting impact on world history and his legacy in the imagination over 2,000 years.  Articles are on representations of Jesus in the Bible and the writings of key theologians.  Contains copies of primary source documents.  Suitable for use by those wanting an introduction to Christianity and by those seeking more in-depth articles on the history and philosophy of Christianity.  Bibliography.  Individually signed entries by scholars.

Eerdman's Encyclopedia of Early Christian Art and Archaeology Main BR 163 .E335 2017 v. 1-3

More than 400 distinguished scholars, including archaeologists, art historians, historians, epigraphers, and theologians, have written the 1,455 entries in this monumental encyclopedia--the first comprehensive reference work of its kind. From Aachen to Zurzach it draws on archaeological and epigraphic evidence to offer readers a basic orientation to early Christian architecture, sculpture, painting, mosaic, and portable artifacts created roughly between AD 200 and 600 in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

1450 entries examine the sources of Christian culture, the depth of its influence, reasons for its enduring strength, and the way it has shaped societies around the world.  Study key theological ideas, global and regional history, worship, society and Christianity, literature, music, art, architecture, education, politics, law, scholarship.

Encyclopedia of Christianity.  Main BR 95 .E8913 1999 v. 1-5  An English translation of a prominent German language encyclopedia of Christianity, with content added to serve English-speakers.  Considers Christianity in history in its global context.  Statistical information on Christianity in various countries.  Attention to social and cultural issues by including articles on genocide, racism, armaments, etc.  Development of biblical and apostolic traditions.

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Main BR 95 .O8 1997 and other editions (most recent is 2022 online, linked here)
"This classic lexicon is the finest one-volume reference work in any language on a single religion." Over 6,000 entries, on people, saints, places in Christianity in Europe, Britain, and British dependencies, brief Bible dictionary information, and glossary of foreign terms. Many bibliographical references. Doesn't cover other faiths. Is not too good on Christian art.  Concise edition is online in Oxford Reference Online.

Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity.  Reference BR 95 .C24 2010

Short entries.

Faith in Formulae, a Collection of Early Christian Creeds and Creed-Related Texts.  Main BT 990 .F35 2017 v. 1-4

Conceived as a replacement for outdated Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln of August and Ludwig Hahn, pub. 1897.  Covers only 4th-9th centuries. Bibliographies and index in v. 4.  Creeds, such as the Apostolic and Nicene creeds, have shaped the core of the Christian faith. In the general introduction to v. 1 there is a summary of  the present state of research. This is followed by a collection of all creeds and credal formulae of the early Church in Greek and Latin, covering the whole period from the writings of the New Testament down to the early Middle Ages. The source texts are taken from the most up-to-date critical editions available and newly found texts have been added. They are accompanied by English translations and where applicable introduced individually by brief remarks on their authorship, date, and provenance. The volumes feature useful notes and cross-references. Text in English, with extracts in Latin and ancient Greek translated into English.

Sacred Texts Interpreted, Religious Documents Explained  Main BL 71 .O47 2017 v. 1-2

Alphabetical arrangement of the faiths of the world, with lengthy chapters on each.  These chapters contain bits of primary sources from the sacred texts of each faith and explain the meanings of them.  Covers Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Mormonism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism.  Brief introduction to the religious traditions of each faith and information on sacred text development.  Definition of what is meant by the words "sacred text."  Basic introductory level. 

Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology Main BV 2.5 .C36 2011

Entries are designed to help the reader understand and assess the specifically theological significance of the most important concepts.  Entries from 250 to 2,000 words.  Core entries are on:  traditional doctrinal topics, confessional orientations (Catholic, etc.), theological styles (evangelical, feminist, etc.), Christianity's relation to other faiths, and academic disciplines (Biblical theology, historical theology, etc.)

Oxford Companion to Christian Thought. Main BR 95 .O84 2000
" provide a lively introduction, at once authoritative and accessible, to a living tradition of thought central to the western world, and in modern times, to global civilization....preference to the present over the past..." remembering how important history is to the Christian tradition. 260 writers from 20 countries, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, from all main traditions, both men and women, lay and clerical. Longer entries than the above work, but not as many, and with briefer bibliographies. A guide less to facts than to the movement of ideas. Survey articles on historical periods, regions, and national traditions, articles on movements, individuals, religious orders, on the Bible, significant non-Christians whose works have influenced Christian thought, and articles on issues in today's world, such as medical ethics. Not in Oxford Reference Online.

World Christian Encyclopedia. Main oversize 3 West BR 157 .W67 2020
Edinburgh University Press. A comparative survey of Christian churches around the contemporary world.  A great many religious statistics. And, many religious statistics contained in other reference works come from the data bank of this source.

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology Main DS 111 .A2 O94 2013 v. 1-2

Represents a new way of conceiving of the relationship between archaeology and Biblical studies that allows the results of a wide cross-section of excavations and regional studies to contribute to the interpretation of the Biblical text through an elucidation of the lifeways of the ancient world. By going beyond mere architecture and chronology into the social organization of biblical society, the Encyclopedia is an important methodological breakthrough for the study of the Bible and archaeology.

Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity

History of Christian-Muslim Relations

Look up this series title in Books and Media and/or E Books and Journals.  We have some volumes in paper and access to a lot of the volumes online in the E Book package from Brill publisher in their Middle East and Islamic Studies Online series. 

Christian Muslim Relations: a Bibliographical History Main BP 172 .C4196 2009 v. 1-4,6,8

Look up this title in Books and Media and/or E Books and Journals.  We have some volumes in paper and access to a lot of the volumes online. Volume 11 of the series above is supposed to be a sub-series of 7 volumes called Christian-Muslim Relations, a Bibliographical History.  These volumes go chronologically by date.  Volumes 1-4 cover the time period of the Crusades.  The volumes contain a combination of secondary history writing on topics, but also dictionary type entries about particular texts along with bibliographical references to writings about them. These are long, dense books.  The online versions take a long time to actually load up on your computer to see the full texts. So we have bought some of the volumes in paper. 

Our Sunday Visitor's...Catholic Almanac. Main BX 845 .C3
Annual. Published by Our Sunday Visitor. Four parts: News and events, teachings of the Catholic Church, Church universal (history and organization), and life of the Church in the world. Names and addresses, brief facts and information. Some information on Eastern Orthodoxy, but more on Roman Catholicism.

Cambridge History of Christianity.  Main. Multi-volume set.  Volumes are cataloged separately, but call numbers for each volume may be found in Books and Media under this title. 

Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife: Eternity in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam  Main BL 535 .H43 2013 v. 1-3

Oxford Bible Atlas Main BS 630 .O96 2007  Online ed. is 2009.

Atlas of Global Christianity 1910-2010 Map Library Circulating Collection BR 479 .A75 2009 

Many essays.  Some maps.  Some statistics.  Covers these topics:  Christianity by major tradition, by movement, and on each continent during the 20th c.  Religion by people and language and continent.  Religion in cities.  Christianity in cities on each continent.  Missionaries sent out and received in each continent.  Evangelism: Great Commission Christians, Christian finance, Bible translations and distribution, print and AV media, evangelisation.

Oxford Encyclopaedia of South Asian Christianity  Main BR 1143 .O94 2012 v. 1-2

Similar to Dictionary of Asian Christianity Main BR 1065 .D537 2001, but covering only South Asia: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and global South Asian diaspora. 1100 in-depth entries.  "Documents and articulates the Christian faith in South Asia at a significant point in history."  Articles are by Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Pentecostals and indigenous independents.  Topical arrangement of entries on persons, places, events, institutions, theological issues and concepts, churches, denominations, texts, etc.  Bibliographic references for further reading.  Signed articles.

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

V. 1 has 19 in-depth essays on such topics as "Arts and Cultural Production," "Islamophobia," "LGBT Asian Americans and Christianity," and "Secularization and Asian Americans."  Rest of set is A-Z encyclopedia entries.  Covers canonical literature, ethnic religious communities, religious concepts, deities, ideas, symbols, denominations, sects, traditions, festivals.  Signed articles.  Further reading references.  Some b/w photos.

Historical Dictionary of Jesus Main BT 199.5 .H37 2010

Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Economics Remote Storage BR 115 .E3 O04 2014

Covers historical relationships between economics and Christian theology in the scriptures, Church Fathers, and in the Scholastics,  and recent developments in Italy, France, Britain, modern Catholic social doctrine, and the economics profession.  Also has examination of contemporary theological economics in Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Pentecostal traditions.  Considers how Christianity interfaces with capitalism and economic development.  Six chapters use economic tools to investigate religion.  Chapters on economic justice, happiness, usury, gender, poverty and human nature, identity, motivation.