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Handbook of Denominations in the United States 11th Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0687069835
ISBN-10: 0687069831
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Also atwoodcd@wfu.edu --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Handbook of Denominations in the United States
  • Hardcover: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press; 11 edition (May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687069831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687069835
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an extremely valuable resource to quickly understand the basic beliefs of a denominations, especially those that set them apart from others. This book covers a vast number of denominations, obviously not complete but close to it. Each one typically has a statistic giving its popularity, followed by a short (typically no longer than 3 or 4 pages, but sometimes shorter) summary of the denominational history and distinctives.
Having used it to look at a few denominations with which I am familiar and many with which I am not, the authors appear to have painstakingly made the summaries as unbiased and fair as possible. Oftentimes, they quote directly from official denominational literature. I also appreciate the appendices which refer the researcher to further information on a particular denomination.
The large denominational categories covered, with many subcategories each are:
1. Adventist
2. Baptist
3. Brethren and Pietist Churches
4. Catholic Churches
5. Christian Church (Stone-Campbell Movement)
6. Congregational Churches
7. Episcopal/Anglican Churches
8. Friends (Quakers)
9. Fundamentalist/Bible Churches
10. Holines Churches
11. Islam
12. Judaism
13. Latter-day Saints (Mormons)
14. Lutherans
15. Mennonite Churches
16. Methodist Churches
17. Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches
18. Pentecostal Churches
19. Presbyterian Churches
20. Reformed Churches
21. Salvation Army
22. Spiritualist and Theosophical Bodies
There are many others that cannot be put under these broad categories that are too numerous to mention here. This book appears to have succeeded in what it set out to accomplish: give a concise but accurate depiction of various church sects throughout the United States.
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By A Customer on March 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Samuel Hill is a respected historian, but he has not kept this work up to the standards that the late Frank Mead set in his editions. Mead was far less politically correct. For example, in the Nation of Islam/Black Muslim entry Mead would not shy away from mentioning the more distinctive features of this group (such as the mythology of white folks being the product of a failed experiment by an ancient black scientist, ideas of the whites as the serpent, etc.) Hill seems to have removed many of the more objectionable features of many groups, which is what often would help the reader understand the distinctives and uniqueness of that denomination.
Also, I found Hill's statistics to often be very dated. For example, the stats on the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) were about 6-8 years out of date. The PCA was one of the fastest growing evangelical denominations in America during that time, and as a result Hill's stats are about half of the accurate number (150,000 rather than 300,000). Many smaller Presbyterian denominations (at least 3 I could think of) were not even listed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Our church pulled out of the United Church of Christ last year, and our denomination search committee needed a resource to get more information. We were very happy to find this book. At your finger tips are brief sketches of practically every major religious group in the United States. Some of the essays are very brief in nature, while others are pages long. Still, it is an excellent starting point, and for most people who just want the basic facts, it is all the information a person could want on the religious movements in the country. And one of the other things I like about the book is that as far as it it is possible, the authors take a very objective position. No trace of bias or sectarian coloring mars the book, as far as I can tell. There is no way of discerning which denominational perspective the authors write from, and that's the way I like it.
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Format: Hardcover
I was craving a book that would objectively give me information about the denominations in our country. I wasn't looking for a novel on each denomination, just a solid background sketch, and this book does just that. It really has any denomination you could want info on, and is organized just beautifully. It gives membership statistics of each denomination, and hte historical info as well as theological positions of each denomination is outstanding. Praise God for this book. It will be on my shelf within reach for decades to come.
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Format: Hardcover
I will have to agree with most of the reviewers who have written before me. Yes, Handbook of Denominations is a wonderful resource, and it is the only book of its kind as far as I am concerned. Therefore, it is quite handy to have in a person's library. However, I dropped a star from its rating because some of the articles are so inadequately short, they just beg for additional information and explanation. There is also a lack of uniformity between many of the articles.
What can we expect, though, when the book is trying to be all things to all people? With the book covering such a variety of denominations (as well as nonChristian sects, such as JWs, Mormons, and Christian Science), it would probably be impossible to be too indepth and still have a marketable product that would remain affordable (as the current edition is). What do I know, though, because it made it to its 10th edition? How many books can say the same! Perhaps, though, someone in the future would want to create a more user-friendly edition (with graphs and charts) and eliminate the fringe groups or mere nonChristian world religions (such as Judaism). Leave these faiths to a separate volume or to other authors (yes, numerous books on these groups have already been done). If you then dedicated 3-5 pages to each major denomination (100,000 or more members) and 1-2 pages to denominations 10,000-100,000 in size, making it more user-friendly, you might make us 4-star partial skeptics into 5-star full-on believers.
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