Books, Brokenhearted Theology, Ramblings, Reading Reflections

Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (book review)

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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