The Encyclopedia of Christianity is a monumental reference work that addresses the broad interest in Christianity and religion around the world today. Comprehensive, up to date, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the EC describes the Christian faith and community in their myriad forms today and throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history. The EC also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and sociocultural picture in which the Christian church now finds itself in the new millennium.
Written by leading scholars from many countries and cultural backgrounds, the more than 1,700 articles in the complete EC depict Christianity in its global context. Separate articles for every continent and for over 170 countries examine both the history and the current situation of the Christian faith worldwide. The EC also portrays Christianity in its widest ecumenical context. Major articles detail Christianity’s rich spiritual and theological diversity in order to inform readers about religious traditions and perspectives beyond their own ecclesiastical frameworks.
In its portrayal of Christianity, the EC also takes into account the current sociocultural context, including other world religions, secular philosophies, cultural trends, and modern political and economic forces. Covering such current topics as abortion, atheism, Islam, modernity, and psychoanalysis, these articles describe the multifarious settings in which the Christian church today must maintain a credible witness to the ancient gospel. Finally, the EC presents Christianity in its rich historical context, starting with the biblical tradition and showing how the apostolic tradition developed and how the church has sought throughout history to keep faith with its traditions while engaging the world around it.
Volume 4 of the EC contains 299 articles constituting the alphabetical entries P–Sh — articles on significant topics ranging from Paul, process theology, and the Qur’an to religious liberty, salvation history, and Scholasticism. Like each volume in the complete EC, this book incorporates many enhancements of and additions to the third revised edition of the German Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon: Internationale theologische Enzyklopädie, on which the EC is based. Among the features of this English work are the following:
- articles on all but the smallest countries of the world, including former communist states that have gained their independence since 1989;
- the latest, best statistical information, compiled by David B. Barrett, on the religious affiliation and ecclesiastical breakdown of each country and continent;
- the addition of over seventy biographical articles on prominent figures throughout church history;
- many expanded or entirely new articles that address topics of particular interest to English-speaking readers.
Unparalleled in scholarship and breadth of content, the Encyclopedia of Christianity will long serve as the standard reference work for the study of Christianity in the past and the present — and its trajectory into the twenty-first century.