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Dictionary of Christian Spirituality Hardcover – July 23, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“Engaging, comprehensive, informative, broad in perspective. Who thinks it is fun to read a dictionary? This one is! This is a dictionary to be read for enjoyment as well as information. The essays and articles are freshly written, thorough but concise. The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality reflects the deep respect and appreciation the writers have for their topics. Reading this dictionary is like taking a finely tuned course in the topics included. The essays and dictionary entries portray the complex and diverse history of the Christian church embodied in women and men and the contexts of their times and cultures. Many readers will delve into these volumes seeking information about particular topics. I was fascinated and drawn from article to article … appreciating the fine scholarship, depth of research reflected, and careful writing that make the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality an excellent resource.” -- Jeannette A. Bakke, , Author

About the Author

Glen G. Scorgie (Ph.D., St. Andrews) is professor of theology at Bethel Seminary San Diego since 1996. Previously he was academic vice-president of North American Baptist College in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is a past president of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association. For the past decade he has also been involved in the ministries of Chinese Bible Church of San Diego, and lectures regularly in Asia. His writings include A Little Guide to Christian Spirituality (2007). For more information, visit his website at www.glenscorgie.com.

Simon Chan (PhD, Cambridge) is Earnest Lau Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. He is the author of Man and Sin, Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition, Spiritual Theology; A Systematic Study of the Christian Life and Liturgical Theology: The Church as Worshiping Community. He is also the associate editor of the Global Dictionary of Theology and the Dictionary of Mission Theology.

Gordon T. Smith (PhD, Loyola House, Ateneo de Manila) is the president of reSource Leadership International and formerly dean of Regent College, Vancouver. His publications include A Holy Meal: the Lord’s Supper in the Life of the Church and The Voice of Jesus: Discernment, Prayer and the Witness of the Spirit.

James D. Smith III (ThD, Harvard) is associate professor of Church History at Bethel Seminary – San Diego, as well an adjunct professor of religion at the University of San Diego. A member of the Baptist General Conference, he is a former teaching assistant to Henri Nouwen at Harvard, and lectures frequently on Nouwen’s spirituality and related topics.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; 1St Edition edition (July 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031029066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310290667
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

The articles give a very succinct summary on the nuances of the various aspects of Christian Spirituality.
Dr Conrade Yap
Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is highly recommended as a inter-disciplinary work which will be useful to anyone who is serious about becoming more like Christ.
Leslie S.
This book is a great starting point and at the end of each chapter and article there are resources for further reading.
Russell Almon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Russell Almon on October 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My roots are very conservative Southern Baptist and evangelical. It would be a serious understatement to say that all things having to do with `spirituality' were frowned upon - or at least ignored and pushed to the margins - in the churches I grew up in. I remember coming back home from college (where I was a Bible major) one weekend and a deacon asked me what I was studying in my Bible classes. I naively told him that last week we had been discussing the `in Christ' spirituality of the Apostle Paul. This deacon's reaction was less than positive. Spirituality it has been thought in many conservative evangelical circles is associated with all things `weird'. And to bring up mysticism was to stop a conversation altogether, in fact, many I grew up around was sure there could be no such thing as `Christian' mysticism.

Some may find it strange then that Eugene Peterson is one of most favorite authors and one of my main teachers concerning spiritual theology. Through Peterson and others I have found that spirituality is not all manner of weirdness and that while they had their flaws like everyone else in the world, we evangelicals can learn a thing or two from the Christian mystics. Glen Scorgie underscores one of Peterson's basic ideas about spirituality when he says, "Christian spirituality is the domain of lived Christian experience. Its about living all of life - not just some esoteric portion of it - before God, through God, in the transforming and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit." (27) There it is, spirituality is not about the strange or esoteric. Indeed, ones spirituality is where does life `in Christ' and through the Spirit (to pull themes from the Apostle Paul) in the everyday, ordinary, and mundane stuff of life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Keith R. Clark on November 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Zondervan's Dictionary of Christian Spirituality explicitly sets forth seven goals for which it aims, goals which supposedly set it apart from other reference works on Christian spirituality:

Biblically engaged
Accessible and relevant to contemporary Christian practitioners
Generous in its regard for the full range of Christian traditions of spirituality
Attentive to otherwise neglected topics, concerns, and formative figures in the evangelical tradition of spirituality
Global and international in both topical scope and contributors
Reflective of interdisciplinary engagement with related fields of inquiry
Reasonably priced

The dictionary, divided into two parts ("integrative perspective" essays and shorter alphabetized articles more narrow in focus), generally attains these goals.

In surveying the extensive material in the dictionary, its strengths are readily apparent, many of which are foreshadowed in the goals stated in the preface. The attention paid to other traditions of spirituality is immensely important, given the increasingly pluralistic world in which many prospective readers of this work live. The inclusion of more recent persons (i.e. Richard Foster and Ronald Sider) and events of significance (i.e. the development of the internet) in the study of Christian spirituality reflects well the ever-evolving landscape of Christian spirituality, while not eclipsing the classic persons and events of established importance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paulregent.blogspot on January 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I got this for Christmas (theology nerd I am), so I am hardly through it; however, I would like to offer some helpful points to prospective buyers. When I heard about the book, it really piqued my interest, but what could actually be known about the book's contents were somewhat nebulous. It touts 34 "integrative perspective" essays; okay, what does that mean? There are nearly 700 article entries; can I see a list please? And then there's the claim that some of what's presented here promotes a sort of syncretism that strains the "evangelical" label the book carries. What to make sense of it all?

First, you can view the inside of this book over at textbookplus dot Zondervan. There you can see the title's of these 34 tantalizing essays that bear names like "Contextual Spirituality." Take a look and I'm sure, if you're interested in Christian spirituality, you'll be enticed. They've included overviews, comparisons of major traditions, and even approaches to the study of Christian spirituality. Sadly, a complete article listing is absent from the pdf preview; and since there's no way I'm typing out 700 entries, it must suffice to say that everything from abandonment and apophatic and kataphatic ways to Theologia Germanica and Zinzendorf are here, including all the key people, ideas, movements, doctrines, and practices the subject demands.

Second, this is a textbook, for whatever that means to you. I didn't know it before I bought it, and while I didn't feel hoodwinked after getting the book, I was just surprised by its very textbooky look, feel, links to free student resources, etc. So while the info here will be just as pertinent to your spiritual studies, the format and feel is more academic than devotional.
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