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Dictionary of Christian Spirituality Hardcover – July 23, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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

“Scholarship with a soul! This is a book like no other---scholarly breadth with spiritual depth in a dictionary. So many have written so much about Christian spirituality that it is difficult to connect the parts. Here is a readable resource that brings everything together. I kept turning the pages … not to read through, but to explore. Every article led me to another journey on a different page.” -- Leith Anderson, , President

“The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a remarkable balance of broad, integrative essays and more than 700 succinct, informative dictionary entries. It combines a wide survey of the great movements in Christian spirituality while giving attention to the main contributors from all parts of the globe, past and present. The contributors include some of the great heavyweights of the movement while also incorporating significant voices from a variety of related disciplines and perspectives. The work is a must-have resource for every able scholar, pastor, and follower of Jesus.” -- Gayle D. Beebe, , President

“The very publication of this work speaks to the contemporary interest in spirituality. So much spirituality, however, is uninformed, shallow, and vague. All the more reason to welcome this important dictionary. It is impressive in its scope, wide in what is included, and deep in the intent to strengthen life in the Spirit of Christ. Scan a few entries, and it will be evident what a valuable resource this can be. I cannot imagine a dictionary on spirituality that is all prose. So I was delighted to see the entries on poetry and Hopkins, for example. Don’t miss them.” -- Leighton Ford, , President

“The combination of substantial reflective essays on major themes in Christian spirituality and sharply focused articles on major figures and topics provides a rich mixture of insight, information, and inspiration. ‘Spirituality’ can be a subject that wafts into the ether, but in this broadly ecumenical and very well-balanced work, it is presented with real substance and genuine edification.” -- Mark A. Noll, , Professor of History

“This is not the only dictionary about Christian spirituality in town. There are many around and some of them are very good. But this one, with its global interests and spiritual zeal, has an energy and breadth that lifts it into a new league. Moreover, as well as making a very good job of expanding our knowledge of Christian spirituality and all the sources that have shaped it, this important volume steers the reader through the people, movements, and issues with a reliable, generous, and grace-focused wisdom. It is a source not just of information about Christian spirituality but of real formation, through the Spirit, in the life of Christ.” -- Christopher Cocksworth, , Bishop of Coventry

“The more I read in the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, the more I wanted to read more! The initial essays provide a thoroughly excellent foundation, and the alphabetized entries that follow leave us intrigued to read others. I highly recommend this dictionary for all Christians, especially those who want to grow in their active practices of various spiritual disciplines, their devoted love for God and neighbor, and their fervent thanksgiving for global saints and the myriad ways God works in the world.” -- Marva J. Dawn, , Teaching Fellow in Spiritual Theology

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 1.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
Dictionaries are, as a rule, boring. But, they look great on a bookshelf and, if you spend the time to use and absorb them, they can be tremendously helpful. Zondervan recently published the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality edited by Glen G. Scorgie. Editing a dictionary, I imagine, is a rather meticulous task, but Scorgie assembled a huge team of teachers and scholars to compile this reference work on spirituality. The one-volume work is divided into two section: first, a series of "integrative perspectives" on Christian spirituality offering an overview of the subject as well as specific studies on various historical periods, global approaches, and divergent understandings and, second, the actual A-Z coverage of sub-topics within the field of study.

While the nature and genre of the work are not conducive to reading straight through, I enjoyed flipping through the pages and seeing the varied entries in this large (850+ page) volume. Topics include Daoist Spirituality and the Dark Night along with Inner Healing and the Internet (and all letters before, between, and after), all with an eye towards furthering a uniquely Christian understanding of spirituality. Each entry ranges from a full column to a few pages and has a list of further resources for additional reference. The only thing missing is a comprehensive index arranged by topic and author which, while not necessary to the usefulness of the volume, seems an easy add-on to make the book that much more user-friendly. That aside, the book looks to be a great resource (perhaps more suited towards students and intellectuals though not entirely unhelpful for pastors) that I will spend more time with in the future.

This book was provided by the publisher for review.
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