Far and away the most significant book in this area to appear last year was The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church edited by J. D. Douglas (Zondervan). More than 180 British and North American evangelicals contributed close to 5,000 articles on all the highways and many of the byways of the nearly 2,000 years of Christianity. Every seminarian and minister should have a copy, as should public libraries and school libraries from secondary level up.
A revised second edition of The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone (Oxford) also appeared last year.
The Encyclopedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology edited by Richard Cavendish (McGraw-Hill) covers a far wider range than Christian fringe movements; it does so in a more scholarly and responsible way than one is accustomed to find in trade books.
The Encyclopedia of World Methodism edited by Nolan Harmon (Abingdon) is a massive two-volume set—nearly 3,000 pages treating every aspect and branch of a major expression of Christianity. Still another important reference work, Historical Atlas of the Religions of the World (Macmillan), breaks new ground. Christianity is treated along with living and dead religions, global and regional. Twenty major articles, edited by Isma’il Ragi al Faruqi, present histories of the various religions. These are supplemented by sixty-five maps, edited by David Sopher. Chronologies and photographs enhance the value.
A short, comprehensive text, A History of Christianity in the World by
Clyde Manschreck (Prentice-Hall), indicates something of its tone by its subtitle, “From Persecution to Uncertainty.” The author’s confidence in the message of the resurrected Christ transcends both the persecution by the world in which the Church began and the present uncertainty within the Church that worldly influences have engendered.
The second volume in Jaroslav Pelikan’s projected five-volume work The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine appeared, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600–1700) (University of Chicago). Pelikan is perhaps the scholar best equipped to convey a better understanding of Eastern Orthodoxy to other branches of Christianity.
SPECIAL TOPICS There were several interesting presentations of various aspects of Christianity over many centuries. The Faces of Jesus by Frederick Buechner and Lee Boltin presents in word and splendid photographs the life of Christ as artists have portrayed it in such varied media as wall paintings in the catacombs and silk screens in Japan (Simon and Schuster). The well-known historian Roland Bainton has done likewise in Behold the Christ (Harper & Row). Half of another book does the same in a presentation keyed to the days of the Christian year: The Christian Calendar by L. W. Cowie and John Gummer (Merriam). (The other half of the book lists, with some descriptions and illustrations, all the “saints” on the Roman calendar, arranged by the day on which they are remembered.) These books will give readers a greater appreciation of the richness of the Christian artistic heritage, together with a better understanding of the perceptions of Christians in different ages.
The Roots of American Order by Russell Kirk (Open Court) goes back to Old Testament times to trace the Hebrew, pagan, Christian, and secular influences that have contributed to the relative stability of the United States when compared to other large nations.
The Old Testament influence on the political and artistic dimensions of the Western world is delineated by Gabriel Sivan in The Bible and Civilization (Quadrangle).
Devotional life is portrayed in its various historical expressions from ancient to early modern times in a series of translations of articles from Dictionnaire de Spiritualité:Jesus in Christian Devotion and Contemplation by Irenee Noye et al., A Christian Anthropologyby Joseph Goetz et al., and Imitating Christ by Edouard Cothenet et al. (Abbey). A similar book, The Breath of the Mystic by George Maloney (Dimension), focuses on the eastern fathers. Opposition to false spirits is surveyed responsibly by Martin Ebon in The Devil’s Bride: Exorcism, Past and Present (Harper & Row). A wide variety of corporate religious awakenings is presented in Spiritual Revivals edited by Christian Duquoc and Casiano Floristán (Seabury).
Collections of miscellaneous essays of high caliber by two distinguished historians of ideas are Christianity and Culture by Georges Florovsky (Nordland) and Philosophical Essays: From Ancient Creed to Technological Man by Hans Jonas (Prentice-Hall).
Three crucial themes are briefly and provocatively surveyed in Philosophical Anthropology (on the history of human self-understanding in the West) by Michael Landman (Westminster), The Interaction of Law and Religion by Harold Berman (Abingdon), and Western Attitudes Toward Death by Philippe Aries (Johns Hopkins). (A notable cross-cultural counterpart to the latter is Death and Eastern Thought edited by Frederick Hoick [Abingdon].)
EARLY AND MEDIEVAL The most comprehensive book, though it does not aim at textbook-style completeness, is The Medieval Experience: Foundations of Western Cultural Singularity by Francis Oakley (Scribners). The most lavish is The Monastic World: 1000–1300 by Christopher Brooke with numerous photographs by Wim Swaan (Random). The combination of scholarship and beauty is commendable. An earlier period of artistry is displayed in The Origins of Christian Art by Michael Gough (Praeger).
F. F. Bruce in his clear, accurate style tells us about Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament (Eerdmans). From Josephus to Islamic tradition is the scope. A reprint of T. R. Glover’s The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire (Canon) helps us better understand the setting of the first two Christian centuries. From a slightly later time, Hugh Riley compares the interpretations of baptism in Cyril, Chrysostom, Theodore, and Ambrose in Christian Initiation (Consortium).
Some forget that Christianity in Britain and Ireland was vibrant long before a pope sent Augustine to Canterbury. The Celtic Churches: A History, A.D. 200 to 1200 by John T. McNeill (University of Chicago) gives us a comprehensive and accurate overview of this missionary-minded movement.
Several studies on particular topics should be of interest to more than specialists: Rhetoric in the Middle Ages: A History of Rhetorical Theory from St. Augustine to the Renaissance by James J. Murphy (University of California); in some respects from the opposite pole, Silence: The Meaning of Silence in the Rule of St. Benedict by Ambrose Wathen (Consortium) (the author’s suggestions of contemporary relevance are worth considering); Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Southern France, 1100–1250 by Walter Wakefield (University of California); Bernard of Clairvaux by Henry Rochais et al. (Consortium), ten studies in honor of Jean Leclercq relating Bernard to his own and to other times; Rome Before Avignon: A Social History of Thirteenth-Century Rome by Robert Brentano (Basic); and The Cardinal Protectors of England: Rome and the Tudors Before the Reformation, by William Wilkie (Cambridge).
Two noteworthy collections of essays on various topics are Contemporary Reflections on the Medieval Christian Tradition edited by George Shriver in honor of Ray Petry (Duke) and The Pursuit of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion edited by Charles Trinkaus and Heiko Oberman (E. J. Brill).
Anabaptism and Asceticism by Kenneth Ronald Davis (Herald Press) focuses on the late medieval monastic antecedents of the Anabaptist movement.
REFORMATION Especially welcome is Trumpeter of God: A Biography of John Knox by W. Stanford Reid (Scribners), a noted evangelical historian. As usual, several books appeared on Luther. Richard Marius, a religious skeptic, presented an extremely critical harangue entitled simply Luther (Lippincott). Confrontation at Worms: Martin Luther and the Diet of Worms by De Lamar Jensen (Brigham Young) includes many illustrations plus the complete text of the edict. Luther’s confrontations in the other direction are treated in scholarly fashion in Luther and the Peasants’ War by Robert Crossley (Exposition), Luther’s Response to Violence, also on the peasants, by Lloyd Volkmar (Vantage), and Luther and the Radicals by Harry Loewen (Wilfrid Laurier University). One of those whom Luther opposes was given a thorough and sympathetic treatment not distorted by the customary approach of looking over Luther’s shoulder: Andreas Bodenstein von Karistadt by Ronald Sider (E. J. Brill).
Other Reformation-era books include: The Spirituality of John Calvin by Lucien Joseph Richard (John Knox), Ecumenism in the Age of the Reformation: The Colloquy of Poissy by Donald Nugent (Harvard), The Counter Reformation: 1559–1610 by Marvin O’Connell (Harper & Row), Every Need Supplied: Mutual Aid and Christian Community in the Free Churches, 1525–1675 edited by Donald Durnbaugh (Temple University), and The English Bible: 1534 to 1859 by Peter Levi (Eerdmans).
MODERN Most books dealing with persons, events, and movements since the Reformation are grouped by continent. A few are comparatively global in scope. The ecumenical movement is well represented by The World of Philip Potter (general secretary of the World Council) by William Gentz (Friendship), In Search of a Responsible World Society: The Social Teachings of the World Council of Churches by Paul Bock (Westminster), Baptist Relations With Other Christians edited by James Leo Garrett (Judson), and Ecumenical Testimony: The Concern For Christian Unity Within the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches, by John T. McNeill and James Nichols (Westminster). A responsible but critical overview is provided in Ecumenism: Boon or Bane, by Bert Beach (Review and Herald) and also, with special reference to the ecumenical missionary conferences from 1910 on, in World Evangelism and the Word of God by Arthur Johnston (Bethany Fellowship).
One of the most widely influential Christian thinkers of our time was the subject of three more books, two of them of special significance. C. S. Lewis: An Annotated Checklist of Writings About Him and His Works by Joe Christopher and Joan Ostling (Kent State University) has more than 300 pages full of annotated items; C. S. Lewis: A Biography by Roger Green and Walter Hooper (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich) is the best so far; and Bright Shadow of Reality: C. S. Lewis and the Feeling Intellect by Corbin Scott Carnell (Eerdmans) focuses on sehnsucht (yearning).
Some seventy years ago Edwin Dargan wrote a two-volume history of preaching up to his time, except that he omitted American preaching. Now Ralph Turnbull’s A History of Preaching: Volume III remedies that and also brings the account down to 1950 for the rest of the world. The set is published by Baker.
Three quite different global influences illustrate various approaches to Christianity. Protestant communal living is the subject of Donald Bloesch’s Well-springs of Renewal (Eerdmans). Groups like Operation Mobilization and Bethany Fellowship are included along with more conventionally monastic houses.
The Armstrong Empire: A Look at the Worldwide Church of God by Joseph Hopkins (Eerdmans) is the best history and refutation of that deceptive Christian deviation. An account of a movement considerably more influential in academic circles but no less deviationist is given in Existentialism by Francis Lescoe (Alba House). Six key thinkers are studied, from Kierkegaard to Camus.
EUROPE A number of biographical studies, mostly concentrating on intellectual development and significance, were issued. Cross and Crucible by John Warwick Montgomery is on Johann Valentin Andreae (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff). The Religion of Dostoevsky by A. Boyce Gibson (Westminster) considers evidence from both outside and inside the great novels. FitzRoy of the Beagle by H. E. L. Mellersch (Mason and Lipscomb) is about the captain of the voyage made famous by Darwin, who was religiously very interesting in his own right. P. T. Forsyth by A. M. Hunter (Westminster) is a brief introduction to an insightful theologian. Kant on History and Religion by Michel Desplan (McGill-Queen’s University) is an important interpretive study. The same applies to The Christian Revolutionary: John Milton by Hugh Richmond (University of California). A once-renowned apologist, now little read, is revived by M. L. Clarke in Paley: Evidences For the Man (London: SPCK). A still-read apologist is freshly introduced by Roger Hazelton in Blaise Pascal: The Genius of His Thought (Westminster). A more recent intellect is briefly portrayed by David Edwards in Ian Ramsey: Bishop of Durham (Oxford). Ritschl and Luther, by David Lotz (Abingdon) offers a fresh perspective on the influential theologian. David Friedrich Strauss and His Theology by Horton Harris (Cambridge) studies the most notorious theologian of last century. The Presence of Other Worlds: The Findings of Emanuel Swedenborg by Wilson Van Dusen (Harper & Row) is a sympathetic summary of an eighteenth-century polymath whose dreams and trances of “other worlds” led to radical deviation from biblical revelation. He has had few but intense followers. Martin Schmidt’s John Wesley: A Theological Biography is now complete with the appearance of volume two, part two (Abingdon).
Perhaps the most significant non-biographical study pertaining to modern European Christianity is The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study on Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics by Hans Frei (Yale). Church historians, theologians, and biblical and literary critics should all find it provocative.
There was a potpourri of scholarly books on British church history: The Witchcraft Papers: Contemporary Records of the Witchcraft Hysteria in Essex, 1560–1700 edited by Peter Haining (University Books), The Religious Order: A Study of Virtuoso Religion and Its Legitimation in the Nineteenth-Century Church of England by Michael Hill (Crane, Russak), Scottish Theology in Relation to Church History by John Maclead (Banner of Truth, reprint), The Last Crusade: The Church of England in the First World War by Albert Marrin (Duke University), Pit-Men, Preachers, and Politics: The Effects of Methodism in a Durham Mining Community by Robert Moore (Cambridge), Hell and the Victorians: A Study of the Nineteenth-Century Theological Controversies Concerning Eternal Punishment and the Future Life by Geoffrey Rowell (Oxford), and Between Science and Religion: The Reaction to Scientific Naturalism in Late Victorian England by Frank Turner (Yale).
Of many books on the troubled Emerald Isle we call attention to Church, State, and Nation in Ireland, 1898–1921 by David W. Miller (University of Pittsburgh), Northern Ireland: Captive of History by Gary MacEoin (Holt, Rinehart, Winston), The Bitter Harvest: Church and State in Northern Ireland by Albert Menendez (Luce), and, in a more popular vein, Tonight They’ll Kill a Catholic by R. Douglas Wead (Creation).
Three major scholarly studies dealt with the Church and German Fascism: Above Parties: The Political Attitudes of the German Protestant Church Leadership, 1918–1933 by J. R. C. Wright (Oxford), The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators (1922–1945) by Anthony Rhodes (Holt, Rinehart, Winston), and The German Church Struggle and the Holocaust edited by Franklin Littell and Hubert Locke (Wayne State University). In view of the all too frequent ease with which churchmen support totalitarian regimes in our own time, we need constant reminders of what such support meant in the recent past.
Finally, three popular but more or less responsible reports of Christian life under the major, but not the only, expression of totalitarianism today are: Discretion and Valour: Religious Conditions in Russia and Eastern Europe by Trevor Beeson (Glasgow: William Collins Sons), Christians Under the Hammer and Sickle by Winrich Scheffbuch (Zondervan), and Memoirs by Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty (Macmillan).
ASIA AND THE PACIFIC One of the best-known Chinese Christians is the late Watchman Nee, whose story is told by Angus Kinnear in Against theTide (Christian Literature Crusade). A different sort of ecclesiology is reflected in Wallace Merwin’s Adventure in Unity (Eerdmans). It tells of the Church of Christ in China, formed in 1927 as one of the first of the modern unions of denominations. Communism eventually wiped it out. A longtime evangelical “China watcher,” Robert Larson, has written Wansui: Insights on China Today (Word). Of scholarly interest is The Foochow Missionaries, 1847–1880 by Ellsworth Carlson (Harvard).
The earlier Christianity in Japan (1549–1639) is authoritatively presented with crucial documents in Deus Destroyed by George Elison (Harvard). More recent Christianity is interpretively reported in Church Growth in Japan: A Study in the Development of Eight Denominations, 1859–1939 by Tetsunao Yamamori (Carey).
Christians in Persia by Robin Waterfield (Barnes and Noble) covers the major branches of Christianity from the second century to the present. Herman Tegenfeldt gives a detailed account of The Kachin Baptist Church of Burma (Carey). Heart of Fire by Barry Chant is the story of Pentecostalism in Australia (Luke Publications [95 Wattle St., Fullarton, South Australia]).
Two scholarly books that will enhance understanding of various trends in India are India and the Latin Captivity of the Church by Robin Boyd (Cambridge), which, despite the title, is primarily concerned with Protestantism, and Christians in Secular India by Abraham Vazhayil Thomas (Fairleigh Dickinson University).
Five noteworthy books of popular appeal are The Triumph of Pastor Son
by Yong Choon Ahn (InterVarsity), about a Korean’s faith amid persecution; God’s Tribesman by James and Marti Hefley (Holman), about a vibrant minority-group Christian from India, Rochunga Pudiate; Pioneers in the Arab World by Dorothy Van Ess (Eerdmans), chiefly on the Reformed Church of America-sponsored ministry of the author and her husband; Exodus to a Hidden Valley by Eugene Morse (Reader’s Digest), about a missionary family and a thousand tribesmen who set up a secret settlement because of Burmese government pressure; and I Always Wore My Topi: The Burma Letters of Ethel Mabuce, 1916–1921 (University of Alabama).
LATIN AMERICA A major revision with a new title is Understanding Latin Americans: With Special Reference to Religious Values and Movements by
Eugene Nida (Carey). His insights are extremely helpful. Student Evangelism in a World of Revolution by Jack Voelkel (Zondervan) examines differing ways of evangelism by several groups that are active in Latin America and makes some suggestions. Donald Palmer reports on an Explosion of People Evangelism: An Analysis of Pentecostal Church Growth in Colombia (Moody). A different sort of explosion is described in The Political Transformation of the Brazilian Catholic Church by Thomas Bruneau (Cambridge).
AFRICA A complex and contradictory pioneer is the subject of yet another biography: Livingstone by Elspeth Huxley, distinguished mainly by its more than 100 helpful illustrations (Saturday Review). The Challenge of Black Theology in South Africa edited by Basil Moore (John Knox) offers insights into how black South Africans perceive what Christianity has done to them. An Anglican dean from South Africa narrates his experiences in Encountering Darkness by G. A. ffrench-Beytagh (Seabury). An Anglican archbishop’s story is presented by South Africa’s best-known writer, Alan Paton, in Apartheid and the Archbishop: The Life and Times of Geoffrey Clayton (Scribners). Missionary reminiscences of a little-known country are provided in We Went to Gabon by Carol Klein (Christian Publications). Scholars will appreciate Christianity and Ibo Culture by Edmund Ilogu (E. J. Brill).
Noteworthy books on North America were so numerous that limitations of space in this issue require us to survey them in future issues in the regular book-review section. Social-scientific studies of religion will also be noted in a future issue.
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