The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature

Overview

The written word is one of the defining elements of Christian experience. As vigorous in the 1st century as it is in the 21st, Christian literature has had a significant function in history, and teachers and students need to be reminded of this powerful literary legacy. Covering 2,000 years, The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature is the first encyclopedia devoted to Christian writers and books. In addition to an overview of the Christian literature, this two-volume set also includes 40 essays on the principal ...
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The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature

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Overview

The written word is one of the defining elements of Christian experience. As vigorous in the 1st century as it is in the 21st, Christian literature has had a significant function in history, and teachers and students need to be reminded of this powerful literary legacy. Covering 2,000 years, The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature is the first encyclopedia devoted to Christian writers and books. In addition to an overview of the Christian literature, this two-volume set also includes 40 essays on the principal genres of Christian literature and more than 400 bio-bibliographical essays describing the principal writers and their works. These essays examine the evolution of Christian thought as reflected in the literature of every age.

The companion volume also features bibliographies, an index, a timeline of Christian Literature, and a list of the greatest Christian authors. The encyclopedia will appeal not only to scholars and Christian evangelicals, but students and teachers in seminaries and theological schools, as well as to the growing body of Christian readers and bibliophiles.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
This encyclopedia should be a valuable reference for many audiences and a welcome addition to most academic reference collections. The two-volume set is organized into two parts: 'Genres and Types' and 'Biographies.' Forty essays in the first part explore the many genres included under the Christian literature umbrella. Individual essayists concisely describe and define areas ranging from apocalyptic literature to children's literature to systematics. Articles will be accessible to most readers. The 400-plus biographies cover individuals from ancient to modern times, examining authors of theological and mystical works as well as novelists and nonfiction writers....Overall, this compact, easy-to-use work provides good information. Recommended.
Booklist
With the help of more than 175 contributors, Kurian and Smith have produced a concise yet substantive guide to Christian literature, both old and new. The set has two major sections. The first makes up roughly one-fourth of the entire work. It is here that the whole of Christian literature is categorized into approximately 40 genres, including Apologetics, Devotional literature, Missions literature, Poetry, and Systematics. The average entry is 3–4 pages long, including a small dose of background and history along with a survey of noteworthy authors and works belonging to the genre. Most articles also include a meaty bibliography. The heart and soul of the encyclopedia is the biographical section, which begins in the middle of volume 1....Overall, the coverage includes a nice blend of contemporary (e.g., Max Lucado, Rick Warren) and historical (Martin Luther, Tolstoy) icons. Most authors receive at least a page’s worth of attention. Following the entries are a time line, an alphabetical list of 'the seventy five greatest Christian writers,' and an index. A well-suited work for virtually any academic and large public library.
Reference and User Services Quarterly
Because Christian literature is so vast, and there are no other reference sources that specifically address Christian literature in this manner, Encyclopedia of Christian Literature is a worthy addition to the world of reference....This title is recommended for academic libraries, especially those who support religious studies curricula.
Reference Reviews
This is a useful and well-produced publication. The division into two volumes makes it much easier to manage than a single volume would have been, and much more likely to remain serviceable on library shelves. This is a helpful general reference work as well as serving specialist theological institutions.
American Reference Books Annual
Kurian and Smith's Encyclopedia takes its rightful place amongst these as a composite work, blending a dictionary of genres and types of literature (ranging from 'Apocalyptic Literature' to 'Women's Literature') with an anthology of entries on significant authors.
Catholic Historical Review
The encyclopedia has two volumes. The first beings with the genres and types of Christian writing, and here one finds useful entries ranging from apocalyptic literature to women's literature. Thereafter, both volumes are devoted to a wide range of authors, entries on whom are arranged alphabetically.
Choice
This encyclopedia should be a valuable reference for many audiences and a welcome addition to most academic reference collections. The two-volume set is organized into two parts: 'Genres and Types' and 'Biographies.' Forty essays in the first part explore the many genres included under the Christian literature umbrella. Individual essayists concisely describe and define areas ranging from apocalyptic literature to children's literature to systematics. Articles will be accessible to most readers. The 400-plus biographies cover individuals from ancient to modern times, examining authors of theological and mystical works as well as novelists and nonfiction writers....Overall, this compact, easy-to-use work provides good information. Recommended.
American Reference Books Annual (ARBA)
Kurian and Smith's Encyclopedia takes its rightful place amongst these as a composite work, blending a dictionary of genres and types of literature (ranging from 'Apocalyptic Literature' to 'Women's Literature') with an anthology of entries on significant authors.
Religous Studies Review
This ambitious volume, coedited by the president of the Encyclopedia Society and an associate professor of church history at Bethel Seminary, ranges across twenty centuries, offering instructive examples of the written and spoken word’s power to define as well as describe the rich variety of the Christian experience, especially in the Western world....Helpful bibliographies, an expedient index, and handy illustrations complete this first-of-its-kind account of the Western world’s Christian literary legacy. This is highly recommended for scholars, religious bibliophiles, and reference libraries.
The Catholic Historical Review
The encyclopedia has two volumes. The first beings with the genres and types of Christian writing, and here one finds useful entries ranging from apocalyptic literature to women's literature. Thereafter, both volumes are devoted to a wide range of authors, entries on whom are arranged alphabetically.
Religious Studies Review
This ambitious volume, coedited by the president of the Encyclopedia Society and an associate professor of church history at Bethel Seminary, ranges across twenty centuries, offering instructive examples of the written and spoken word’s power to define as well as describe the rich variety of the Christian experience, especially in the Western world....Helpful bibliographies, an expedient index, and handy illustrations complete this first-of-its-kind account of the Western world’s Christian literary legacy. This is highly recommended for scholars, religious bibliophiles, and reference libraries.
Library Journal
This two-volume encyclopedia provides a representative look at a wide variety of core Christian writings and authors from all denominations over the course of 2000 years. Kurian, editor of several other encyclopedias on topics in Christianity, and Smith (church history, Bethel Univ., San Diego) have assembled here nearly 200 primarily academic contributors. The material is organized into two sections—the first identifies and describes types and genres of writing, and the second provides biobibliographies of 400 individual authors. Forty areas of Christian writing are covered, including academic (hermeneutical texts, systematics), practical (reference works), spiritual (mystical writings, prayer), and aesthetic (poetry, fiction, songs and hymns). Relatively new areas of focus are also included (women's literature, children's literature). The biographical entries cover authors from a wide variety of genres whose writings reflect a Christian ethos; excluded are authors who are in conflict with Christianity or whose writings are popular but lacking in studious spiritual content. All the entries are concise yet thorough and conclude with a bibliography. Two appendixes provide supporting orientation to Christian literature as a whole: a representative time line of Christian literature and a list of the "Seventy-Five Greatest Christian Writers." An additional appendix that organized the authors by genre and date would have been useful, but the absence doesn't detract from the value of this distinctive reference work. BOTTOM LINE Recommended for all libraries on account of its broad scope and appeal.—Nadine Cohen, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810869875
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Edition description: 2 Volumes
  • Pages: 732
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

George Thomas Kurian is the president of Encyclopedia Society. He is the editor of 60 books, including World Christian Encyclopedia (2000), Dictionary of Christianity (2001), and Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (2008).

James D. Smith III is associate professor of Church History at Bethel University, San Diego. He is also on the editorial board of Christian History magazine.

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