Lexikon fur Theologie und Kirche (LTK) (Herder and Herder, 1993-1999) has long been recognized as a standard academic reference tool for Christian theology and church history, with emphasis on Roman Catholicism. The Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy
is the first in a series of thematic dictionaries containing translated articles from LTK as well as supplemental information "that give[s] greater attention to the Anglo-American historical and theological context."
The volume is divided into two sections. The first provides biographies on the popes and antipopes. The second part addresses the "institutional, canonical, and theological aspects of the papacy." All articles are alphabetically arranged within their respective sections, signed, and conclude with supplemental bibliographies. Although the dictionary aims to make information about popes and the papacy available to an English-language public, the citations in the supplemental bibliographies are to very scholarly sources, the overwhelming majority in languages other than English. A subject index concludes the work.
The biographical entries are straightforward. The entries on the papacy itself range from details about the ring and tiara worn by the pope to longer articles on topics such as infallibility, how popes are elected, and the process of canonization. Historical entries include treatment of the Roman Curia, ecumenical councils, and the Vatican itself. The only attention to the Anglo-American context appears to be an entry for Vatican-U.S. relations.
There isn't much here that can't be found in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (McGraw-Hill, 1967) and its supplements. A more recent title, Encyclopedia of the Vatican and Papacy (Greenwood, 1999), extends beyond the religious and theological, addressing the political, diplomatic, social, and cultural roles of the papacy as well. Biographical information can also be found in the Oxford Dictionary of Popes (Oxford, 1988). Besides providing non-German readers with access to part of LTK, the Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy charts little new ground. Academic and large public libraries lacking other resources on the topic, or those in need of comprehensive coverage of the papacy, should consider purchasing this work. RBB
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From the Publisher
Herder & Herder is proud to present the Dictionary of Popes and the Papacy. This volume is the most reliable and richly-detailed one-volume reference work on the popes and the papacy available in English.