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World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in The Modern World 2 Volume Set 2nd Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195079630
ISBN-10: 0195079639
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The subtitle is not a misprint: it does say "AD 2200." This epitomizes the major dilemma of this encyclopedia: the reader cannot tell what is being reported as an empirically derived fact or accepted by theological faith. The editors of this multivolume work (Barrett, missiometrics, Regents Univ.; George Thomas Kurian, coeditor of Encyclopedia of the Future; and Todd M. Johnson, director, World Evangelization Research Ctr.) state in the introduction that their approach is empirical and scientific (rather than normative, philosophical, or poetic) and covers the totality of global Christianity, yet the underlying theme is the evangelization of the world. Volume 1 offers a global overview of Christianity, with relevant data. The introduction begins with the statement "The phenomenon of Christianity is here described and analyzed from some 40 standpoints, into 40 parts." What follows is an infuriating use of categories, subcategories, and sub-subcategories, which divide and subdivide parts to give the statistics the appearance of being scientifically derived. To make matters more confusing, the authors invent, and freely use, a maddening and confusing array of neologisms such as geostatus, globalistics, and futurescan. All this leads to lists and lists of statistics and facts. Among these: in the year 14.5 billion B.C.E., God created dark matter and black holes, and beyond the "eschatofuture" of 10 to the 100 power year (the year google), God creates infinite parallel universes. On a more human level, readers are told that the "structures of sin" for the Decade of Evangelism (A.D. 1990-2000) had a total cost of $9.250 trillion U.S. dollars. There is no workable index for finding the facts or the statistics listed. Volume 2 is an alphabetized listing of the world's countries, and each entry is a readable narrative about its history, "liberty," and religions populations. This is the most useful of the volumes, but it suffers from the shadow of doubt cast by the first volume concerning the reliability of the encyclopedia's facts. Volume 3 can be best described as an explosion of numbers, categories, cross-listings of what the editors define as "miniprofiles" of at least 10,000 distinct religions, 12,600 peoples, 13,500 languages, 7000 cities, and 3030 major civil divisions in 238 countries. What results is hundred of pages of utterly confusing statistics, some highly suspect, culturally biased, and anthropologically useless (such as categorizing people by using moribund race-defining terms as Australoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid and further subdividing those into "stylized colors" such as black, grey, brown, red, tan, white, and yellow). There is a need for a comparative survey of world Christian churches and other religions. This is not it. Not recommended.
-Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Praise for the First Edition:

"Most impressive. Brilliantly produced and arranged, this will undoubtedly be a standard reference work for years to come."--Library Journal

"Nothing less than a tour of considerable force. A bench mark in our understanding of the true religious state of the planet."--Time

"An outstanding compilation of data relating to Christianity throughout the world[for] all academic and public libraries. Highly recommended."--Booklist

"An impressive, country-by-country, denomination-by-denomination and year-by-year survey of most of the worlds religions."--The New York Times

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1730 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (January 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195079639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195079630
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 5.3 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,671,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Todd M. Johnson is Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Johnson is visiting Research Fellow at Boston University's Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs leading a research project on international religious demography. He is co-editor of the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh University Press) and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.) and World Christian Trends (William Carey Library). He is editor of the World Christian Database (Brill) and co-editor of the World Religion Database (Brill). He is married to Tricia and has three daughters.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Rev GDVWiebe SSC.,PhD on March 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Almost 20 years ago the initial edition of the WCE was a great advanbce in religious information and statistics. The second edition (now 2 volumes) reflects much of the change in the religious scene in the last 2 decades and that alone is worthwhile. What is interesting is that the projections made 20years ago for the year 2000 have often turned out to be 'spot on' and this adds to the value of the work. I commend this latest effort w/o reservation and look forward to updates more frequently. Religion is one of the things that everyone shares-we all have it. This book should be in every library-esp. religious ones.As a priest who follows and studies and interacts with this world I can recommend it most heartily!
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The data is very detailed and comprehensive indeed.
However, I found that the secular data, AD2000 on Thailand is a bit out of date, especially concerning the Government, the Legislature and the Political divisions (which should be 73 provinces instead of the 7 provinces published)
I also found the number of Christians in Thailand a bit too exagerated, especially the number of crypto-Christians (at 570,000 in mid-2000), Independent Christians (at 735,801) and Protestants (at 303,000).
The number of Catholics (at 255,000) and Anglicans (at 465) in Thailand in mid-2000 are quite accurate.
There should also be more frequent updates.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. Nagy on March 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
David Barrett and Todd Johnson at the World Evangelization Research Center in Richmond, Virginia have just completed the 2nd edition of the World Christian Encyclopedia. This 2,400 page, 2-volume reference set tells the status of Christianity and of evangelization in great detail for every country, people, language, city, and province in the world -- together with a trove of other information, statistics, and resources for the decision-makers in the world of missions. A companion CD, the World Christian Database, is planned to follow. This particular work, when complete, will help facilitate the analysis now missing from this monumental enterprise, a truly impressive work of religious, especially Christian, demographics. There is really nothing like it in terms of sheer raw data.
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