The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, since its first appearance in 1957, has established itself as the indispensable one-volume reference work on all aspects of the Christian Church. This Revised Edition, published in 2005, builds on the unrivaled reputation of the previous editions. Revised and updated, it reflects changes in academic opinion and Church organization.
Has no peer as a one-volume encyclopedia.—The Review and Expositor
There is increased coverage of the Eastern Churches, certain issues in moral theology, and developments stemming from the Second Vatican Council. Numerous new entries have been added and the extensive bibliographies have been brought up to date. Readers are provided with over 6,000 authoritative cross-referenced A-Z entries covering all aspects of the subject, including:
Theology - the development of doctrines in different Churches; heretical movements and spirituality and their exponents; history of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation; discoveries of Nag Hammadi and their significance for Gnosticism.
Patristic scholarship - Fathers of the Church on whose work later theology is founded are covered in detail, for example, the problems of Macarius of Egypt and Macarius/Simeon are elucidated; the recently discovered Sermons of St Augustine are listed.
Churches and denominations - the beliefs and structures of both the mainstream and the lesser known denominations, such as Lutherans, Shakers, Amish, Muggletonians, and Wee Frees; lengthy articles on the history of Christianity throughout the world, in countries such as Ireland, Spain, Poland, Canada, New Zealand, Angola, Zaire, the Philippines.
The Church calendar and organisation - feast and saints' days; Sacraments; church services, offices, rites, and practices; canon law including Catholic revision; councils and synods; religious orders.
Biographical entries - these are wide-ranging and include saints, popes, patriarchs, and archbishops; mystics, heretics, and reformers; theologians and philosophers with a summary of their opinions; artists, poets, and musicians whose work has been influenced by Christianity.
New entries - Arator; Liberation Theology; Ludwig Wittgenstein; ordination of women; Christian attitudes to Jews; Christianity in Vietnam; The Quest of the Historical Jesus; the ethics of contraception, procreation, and abortion.
“Suetonius, Roman writer, until 121/2 secretary to the Emp. Hadrian. He was apparently one of the first pagan writers to mention Christianity. His ‘Lives of the Caesars’ refers to the expulsion by Claudius (d. 54) of the Jews from Rome on the ground that they had made disturbances ‘at the instigation of Chrestus’ (Claudius, 25. 4); this is prob. a garbled account of trouble between Jews and Christians. He seems to have approved of *Nero’s persecution of the Christians, ‘a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition’ (Nero, 16).” (Page 1565)
“Sitz im Leben (Ger., ‘place in life’). A term used particularly in biblical criticism, to signify the circumstances (most often in the life of a community) in which a particular story, saying, etc., was either created or preserved and transmitted.” (Page 1518)
“Keswick Convention. An annual gathering of Evangelical Christians for prayer, Bible study, and addresses. It began at Keswick in 1875 with the aim of ‘the promotion of Practical Holiness’. Its motto is ‘All One in Christ Jesus’. The meeting is for a week every year, and it attracts visitors from many countries.” (Page 929)
“Modalism. In the early Church a form of unorthodox teaching on the Trinity which denied the permanence of the three Persons and maintained that the distinctions in the Godhead were only transitory. Among its leading exponents were *Praxeas, *Noetus, and Sabellius (see sabellianism). It was a form of *Monarchianism (q.v.) and also known as *Patripassianism.” (Page 1104)
“Augustine prayed ‘You have commanded continence. Grant what you command and command what you will’” (Page 130)
Remains unrivaled as the authoritative one-volume dictionary of the Christian church, its doctrines and practices, and its most influential historical figures…
This is the authoritative standard reference book on the Christian Church and the publishers are justified in claiming that it "has established itself as the indispensable one-volume reference work on all aspects of the Christian Church".
—Martin Manser, Christianity
One of the great strengths of the dictionary from the first edition to the third has been inclusion of excellent multi-lingual bibliographies attached to most of the entries. There is no doubt that the third edition of this classic work will take its place among the most valuable reference works on the Christian faith.
—R. Kevin Seasoltz, O.S.B., Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, Worship, July 1997
E. A. Livingstone was involved in the first edition and assumed the editorship of the second on the death of F.L. Cross. She has been responsible for the organization of the International Conferences on Patristic Studies from 1971 to 1995 and has edited the proceedings.
The late F.L. Cross was the Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford from 1944 to 1968.