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The Dictionary of Historical Theology

ISBN: 9781842270028
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The Dictionary of Historical Theology is a major reference work designed for anyone interested in the history and development of Christian theology. Featuring 314 articles on the key figures, theological movements, and significant texts that have shaped Christian thought, Dictionary of Historical Theology traces the doctrinal development of Christianity from the early church to the present. Varying in length from 500 to 15,000 words, these entries treat the intellectual antecedents and descendants of the figures or schools of thought covered as well as their influence on the wider development of the Christian tradition.

The 173 contributors to this dictionary are, without exception, proven experts on the subjects they address. Drawn from international and interdenominational circles, they tell the story of Christianity from a wide variety of perspectives, successfully capturing the great diversity of traditions that make up the Christian community today.

Comprehensive in scope yet concisely written, Dictionary of Historical Theology is one of the most accessible and reliable single-volume compendiums of Christian thought available.

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Top Highlights

“The Ebionites rejected the virgin birth and saw Jesus as the natural son of Mary and Joseph. He was ‘the true prophet’ (cf. Deut. 18:15–22), a second Moses, a teacher and reformer. He perfectly fulfilled the Law, but as a man, not as the Son of God.” (Page 167)

“While early Christian theologians were aware of the work of Aristotle, they did not esteem it. Plato, not Aristotle, was the philosopher of preference.” (Page 31)

“Aristotle’s influence on Christian thought. This influence grew from modest beginnings to dominate the relationship between theology and philosophy among Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Middle Ages. Aristotelian natural philosophy provided the background for the debate between theologians and early modern science in the seventeenth century. Having abandoned his natural philosophy, the modern age continues to be influenced by Aristotle’s metaphysics, logic and ethics.” (Page 31)

“Syrian Christian philosophers introduced the works of Aristotle to Semitic culture, beginning in the fifth century. This began a significant Aristotelian movement among Muslim and Jewish philosophers in the Middle Ages. Because of the interest and use of Aristotle among thinkers in his culture, therefore, *John of Damascus (c. 665–749) used Aristotle more than any prior Greek father. This unity of Aristotelianism and Christian theology was to herald the work of the Latin west, especially *Thomas Aquinas, in the Middle Ages.” (Page 31)

“Melanchthon argued more and more consistently that God justified sinners forensically, based upon the sure declaration of forgiveness on account of Christ alone, without taking into account any intrinsically righteous deeds that may result.” (Page 364)

This helpful volume—both competent and broad in scope—will be welcomed by all who teach historical theology.

Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford

Recommended not only for academic and seminary libraries but for community libraries whose members have an interest in Christian theology.

Library Journal

There are well crafted articles by excellent scholars, and topics which take me beyond familiar terrain. It would be a worthwhile addition to one's reference collection.

Denver Journal

  • Title: The Dictionary of Historical Theology
  • Author: Trevor Hart
  • Publisher: Paternoster
  • Print Publication Date: 2000
  • Logos Release Date: 2007
  • Pages: 599
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subject: Theology, doctrinal › History--Encyclopedias
  • ISBNs: 9781842270028, 1842270028
  • Resource Type: Encyclopedia
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2023-09-15T22:17:04Z

Professor Trevor Hart, currently at the University of St. Andrews, teaches and publishes in Christian doctrine and systematic theology. He is the author of a number of books, including Faith Thinking, The Waiting Father: Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, Justice the True and Only Mercy: Essays on the Life and Theology of Peter Taylor Forsyth, and Hope Against Hope: Christian Eschatology in Contemporary Context. He is also the General Editor of The Dictionary of Historical Theology.


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  2. Rick



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  4. John Shelton

    John Shelton


    This is a fairly large work (over 570 pages) but its title is misleading. When I purchased this years ago I was anticipating a work similar to Elwell's Dicionary of Theology, but from an historical perspective. Time and time again I look for historical events or people or movements and they are absent from this work. With only 314 articles total, this work really just highlights the grand movements and thinkers throughout Christian history. Most topics covered are given about 1.5 pages, with a brief list of further reading cited at the end (which is very helpful). For my purposes, Wikipedia has proven much more useful than this book. What is good about this book? It is well written. It does cover many of the major themes to understand the major flow of church history. It is more of a history book of abstracts than a dictionary, if only it had been arranged chronologically and had received an accurate title. I want to give this book 4 stars for what it does cover; but in my thinking, the title serves as a sort of thesis for a book. And in this case, I found it misleading.


Digital list price: $44.99
Save $9.00 (20%)