A reference work on Asian Christianity is definitely needed, and this one, though highly problematic (and primarily concerned with East and South Asia, excluding Russia) may temporarily fill the gap. The dictionary contains over 1200 signed articles, which include biographies of important Asian church leaders, information on political, cultural, and religious movements in Christianity in this part of the world, and overviews of important doctrinal concerns to Asian Christians. Sunquist (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) has borrowed heavily from the Japanese-language Historical Dictionary of Christianity in Japan, leading to oddities, such as an article on "Hymns (Sambika), Japan" but no articles on hymnody in any other Asian country. Further, the editor's Protestant evangelical view at times conflicts with objectivity and clarity, and the book lacks overall logic. An article on "Cults" does not define the term, covers only Japan and Vietnam, and highlights Latter-Day Saints, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Unification Church, all of which should have been given separate entries. The article on the Khmer Rouge should have indicated their impact on the Christians of Cambodia but contains no mention of Christianity, and the article on Baha'i contains a few misconceptions and deals only with Baha'is in India, although the religion also has large communities in other countries covered by the dictionary. As a result, this dictionary will be partially useful for academic and large public libraries where Asia and Christian religion are of interest, but Eerdmans's The Encyclopedia of Christianity (LJ 2/15/99, Vol. 1), when completed, should provide better overall coverage. William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Culminating a ten-year effort involving some 500 people, the reference responds to the lack of resources for scholars to study the history of Christianity in Asia, and a perception that nationalism and racism often discourages Asian Christians from seeing their faith as international and interconfessional. The entries provide information on particular people, churches, organizations, schools, schools of thought such as Hindu fundamentalism, national and ethnic groups, and theological concepts. Some have bibliographies. Several maps are included, but no index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)