The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian TheologyWritten by Ian A. McFarland, David A. S. Fergusson, Karen Kilby, and Iain R. Torrance, eds Reviewed By Hans Madueme
Do we really need another theological dictionary? Given all the readily available information on Wikipedia and a thousand other online resources—one mouse click away—that is not an impertinent question. The editors, however, give an answer at the outset (see the preface). Patterned after Robert Audi’s Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (2008), this dictionary seeks to be a single-volume reference, compact and accessible in form, theological and generously orthodox in orientation, global and non-partisan in coverage. Over 300 contributors are recruited to write entries on a wide range of theological topics, ranging from 250 to 2,000 words in length. The longer, “core entries” form the backbone of the dictionary—covering five staple areas:
- doctrinal loci (e.g., creation, soteriology, revelation)
- theological style (e.g., liberal, feminist, evangelical)
- academic disciplines (e.g., biblical theology, systematic theology, historical theology)
- confessional position (e.g., Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran)
- Christianity’s relation to other religious traditions (e.g., Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism)
These core entry articles are more substantive, state-of-the-art analyses, while the shorter entries tend to focus more on definition and clarification of technical terms—taken together, the reader has a reliable map, a reference guide, to the complex and sometimes confusing terrain of modern theology. The editors have accomplished their goal in this handy volume, one that will prove most useful to theological students and pastor-theologians.
Hans Madueme is associate professor of theological studies at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia.