BB -- Religion

Der Brockhaus, Religionen: Glauben, Riten, Heilige [Brockhaus Religions: Beliefs, Rites, Holy Persons]. Ed. Harald Baer and Ulrike Emrich. Mannheim; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 2004. 703 p. ill. 25 cm. (Brockhaus-Sachlexika). ISBN 3-7653-2476-0: EUR 49.95 [04-1-094]

The production of this title was outsourced to Delius Producing Berlin. Their web site indicates, as the dictionary itself and the publisher’s advertising do not, that the articles are based on texts from the Brockhaus-Enzyklopädie (20th ed.) The packager’s work was to look through, expand, and update the texts with the help of an 18-member team of authors, among them recognized specialists in the field of religion. This fact leads us to hope that this work is not merely a subject-specific extract from the encyclopedia. This is only partially true. Nearly 90 percent of the approximately 3,500 entries are taken from the 1996 work; they have been shortened but rarely changed in wording. The bibliographical citations were omitted, although they would not have added much to the length of the articles. In a few cases there are additions to the articles.

The other 10 percent of the entries are new, which leads to the assumption that the authors have revised and supplemented the texts. The supplementary information includes 15 special articles about such subjects as the Enlightenment, and several dozen “spotlights,” which elucidate central terms of the individual religions. These are potentially helpful for the non-specialist reader, but there are also cross-references in the texts to many, though by no means all, of the articles on important topics and persons. Approximately 700 illustrations have been newly chosen. The additions and revisions to the encyclopedia may make it worthwhile for reference collections in research libraries that cover religion. [ro/gh]

Handbuch religiöse Gemeinschaften und Weltanschauungen: Freikirchen, Sondergemeinschaften, Sekten, synkretistische Neureligionen und Bewegungen, esoterische und neu-gnostische Weltanschauungen und Bewegungen, missionierende Religionen des Ostens, Neureligionen, kommerzielle Anbieter von Lebensbewältigungshilfen und Psycho-Organisationen [Handbook of Religious Communities and Ideologies: Free Churches, Special Communities, Sects, Syncretistic New Religions and Movements, Esoteric and Neo-Gnostic Ideologies and Movements, Missionary Religions of the East, New Religions, Commercial Providers of Self-Help, and Psychological Organizations]. Ed. Horst Reller for the Governing Body of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany. 5th rev. and expanded ed. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2000. 1,111 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-579-03585-1 (Book): EUR 88; ISBN 3-579-02299-7 (cd-rom): EUR 88; ISBN 3-579-02306-3 (Book + cd-rom): EUR 158 [04-1-096]

Lexikon der Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen: Fakten, Hintergründe, Klärungen [Encyclopedia of Sects, Special Groups, and Ideologies: Facts, Background Information, Clarifications]. Hans Gasper, Joachim Müller, and Friederike Valentin. 7th rev. ed. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2001. viii p., 1,256 cols. 21 cm. (Herder-Spektrum, 5528). ISBN 3-451-05528-7: EUR 19.90 [01-1-097]

Kirchen, Sekten, Religionen: religiöse Gemeinschaften, weltanschauliche Gruppierungen und Psycho-Organisationen im deutschen Sprachraum: ein Handbuch [Churches, Sects, Religions: Religious Communities, Ideological Groupings, and Psychological Organizations in German-Speaking Areas: A Handbook]. Founded by Oswald Eggenberger. 7th rev. and expanded ed. continued by Georg Schmid and Georg Otto Schmid. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 2003. 528 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-290-17215-5: EUR 36 [04-1-098]

These are new editions of well-established reference works. Of the three, Horst Reller’s Handbuch is the most voluminous and contains the most entries. First compiled in the 1950s by a staff of over 20 assistants working primarily in Evangelical-Lutheran churches, it was intended for use in practical church-related work. The fifth edition describes the established religions and continues the previous trend of including an ever-growing number of communities of faith outside of church communities, such as sects and new religious movements, as well as commercial and psychological organizations offering help with dealing with life. Source material was gathered through questionnaires, which are reproduced near the beginning of the work. The entries on the established religious communities are the most detailed, covering the origin and history of each religious group, with a summary of the group’s belief and value system, teachings, attitude toward baptism, communion, and the like, plus statistics on size and distribution of the group. Each entry concludes with references and addresses. Individual religious communities are grouped thematically according to their basic beliefs and teachings. The handbook includes a cd-rom that contains the entire text and allows for full-text searching.

The 7th edition of Gasper, Müller, and Valentin’s Lexikon received a brief advance review in RREA 9:141. This work recognizes the ongoing trend toward secularization and the growing importance of providing information on religious movements outside of the established churches. It covers about 300 special religious groups and movements. The Lexikon summarizes the history, teachings, practice, and organizational structure of each community. It also provides general articles on topics such as Zen, Sufism, and religious freedom. The factual information in this work has not been updated sufficiently. The value of the work remains therefore with the general and survey articles. A new edition, whose new title excludes the problematic concept of “sects,” has recently appeared as the Lexikon neureligiöser Gruppen, Szenen und Weltanschauungen: Orientierungen im religiösen Pluralismus [Lexicon of New Religious Groupings, Scenes, and Ideologies: Directions in Religious Pluralism] (Freiburg im Breisgau, 2005).

Previous editions of Kirchen, Sekten, Religionen were authored almost exclusively by the late Oswald Eggenberger. The new, seventh edition was edited by Schmid and Schmid with a team of assistants, and is updated, to some extent, by a web site: www.relinfo.ch/handbuch.html. This handbook is intended for the person engaged in practical church-related work. It contains almost 500 individual articles, the largest number of such articles in the three reference works discussed here. It describes the large churches and religious groups in German-speaking countries, as well as smaller groups, sects, and even psychological organizations. Each article concludes with references to journal articles and books published by the organization under discussion (if available). Addresses and phone numbers are provided. There is a strict division between objective information and subjective commentary; the latter from an evangelical point of view.

Kirchen, Sekten, Religionen is a standard work that should be available in a library’s ready-reference collection. The other two titles should be acquired for the general reference collection. [wh/ba]

Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia [Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy]. Massimo Introvigne for Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni. Leumann (Torino): Editrice Elledici, 2001. 1,047 p. 25 cm. ISBN 88-01-01596-8: EUR 61.97 [04-1-100]

The Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni (CESNUR) [Center for the Study of New Religions] published its first edition of a handbook of religious communities, groups representing particular world views, and sects in Italy in 2001. The focus is on detailed information about the history and teachings of the communities; practical information is limited to addresses (with e-mail addresses and web pages). Data—e.g., such facts as the number of members—have to be culled from the narrative text. Each article closes with a bibliography of sources and secondary literature. The arrangement follows a detailed outline by religious communities and other groups in no fewer than 38 divisions, beginning with Judaism and ending with New Age, plus an appendix for Masonic and freethinker groups. The overall index of organizations and personal names is useful if one does not know where to look in the classification. [sh/gh]

Wörterbuch der feministischen Theologie [Dictionary of Feminist Theology]. Ed. Elisabeth Gössmann and Beate Wehn. 2d rev. and expanded ed. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2002. 628 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 3-579-00285-6: EUR 69 [04-1-105]

Twelve years since the first edition of the Wörterbuch der feministischen Theologie, the Gütersloher Verlagshaus has produced a second, thoroughly revised and fundamentally expanded edition. The dictionary regards itself as a “compendium” that would like to broker “access to the field of feminist theology at the turn of the century.” The work remains straightforward, and its editors endeavor to represent the whole breadth and variety of the feminist theology movement. And while it is very much from the standpoint of the Catholic and Protestant traditions, the editors demonstrate a sensibility for the views of other religions by presenting articles such as “Women in World Religions” or “Women ùShamans,” as well as several from the Jewish tradition, for example, “Women in Post-Biblical Judaism,” “Anti-Judaism,” and “Women Rabbis.”

Basic theological concepts, such as resurrection and revelation are treated in this work. In addition, the editors have also included several entries on themes that play a secondary role or are otherwise absent from the established theological reference works, for example, “androcentrism,” “fellowship/koinonia,” “ sisterhood,” and “women in the priesthood.” The articles, contributed by more than 150 authors, are arranged thematically, and the extensive biblical scripture, personal name, and subject indexes provide further coverage.

The revised edition itself mirrors feminist theology’s growing thematic diversity and changing positions. It also reflects the overall changes in church and in society, the impetus of postmodern thinking, and discussions of deconstruction, diversity, and the end of the patriarchy. The third generation of feminist theologians has come of age, as manifested in newly included articles, such as “Bioethics,” “ Feminist Religious Instruction,” “Women’s Pastoral Care,” and “ Eco-Feminism.” The first edition’s radical passion and partisanship have given way to a keen objectivity and scientific sobriety without having lost the fundamental, textual resoluteness.

The second edition’s lexicon has also been extensively expanded to include new entries, such as “Eroticism/Love,” “Gender,” “Enculturation,” “ Ecumenism,” “Postmodernity,” and “Racism.” Articles from the first edition have been substantially revised or rewritten. Nevertheless, this volume lacks entries for some central theological themes, including grace, doctrine, dogma, and tradition, the latter pair of which are missing altogether from the subject index. Somewhat astonishing is that there is no entry for “Tradition,” given that a key hermeneutic basis of feminist theology is the effort to confront the Christian tradition in critical appraisal in an attempt to uncover and reclaim forgotten, buried, or suppressed (women’s) traditions. Also surprising is that other key topics, such as “Marriage” and “Family,” are not treated in their own articles. The fact that both these terms are listed in the subject index with cross-references to the articles in which they appear underscores the importance of these themes.

On the positive side, the second edition has incorporated critics’ suggestions. For example, the entries for “Pastoral Care,” “Epiphany,” and “ Religious Order” have allowed for denominational perspectives and have been provided for in subsections. In addition, many concepts that were lacking in the first edition, such as “Hierarchy,” “Art,” “Beauty,” and “Abortion,” have been taken up in this revised edition. All in all, this is a very informative and helpful documentation of the modern positions and perspectives of the field of feminist theology, which can no longer be dismissed as a “fringe rebellion,” but must instead be acknowledged as having effected a “metamorphosis of the field of theology.” [mbe/jmw]

Lexikon der theologischen Werke [Encyclopedia of Theological Works]. Ed. Michael Eckert. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2003. 849 p. 22cm. ISBN 3-520-49301-2: EUR 58 [04-1-106]

A German-language encyclopedia that presents the great works of theology to the general reader has been lacking for some time. This volume introduces more than 1,000 of the “most famous and significant” works of theology and provides information on editions and secondary literature as well. The scope is far-ranging, with works chosen from the beginnings of Christianity to the present. The emphasis is on Western theology, especially the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions, but other traditions are included as well. Written by more than 250 authors, including well-known specialists, the entries discuss the structure, content, objectives, and influence of each work. Overviews of specific, usually medieval, literary genres, such as “Bible Commentaries of the Middle Ages,” are also included. Although all of the greatest works are included, some important works are strangely absent. On the other hand, some less important works are included. Despite these faults the volume is essentially successful. It provides good information about the primary theological texts and helps the reader to understand them better. [mbe/cmd]

Die Bibelsammlung der Württembergischen Landesbibliothek Stuttgart [The Bible Collection of the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart]. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog. 29 cm. ISBN 3-7728-0845-X (set) [04-1-107]

Pt.1. Polyglotte Bibeldrucke und Drucke in den Grundsprachen [Polyglot Bibles and Bibles in Ancestral Languages]. ISBN 3-7728-2182-0

Vol. 4. Lateinische Bibeldrucke: 1454-2001 [Latin Bibles: 1454-2001]. Ed.

Christian Heitzmann and Manuel Santos Noya. 3 parts. 2002. xxxiii, 1,396 p. ISBN 3-7728-2207-X: EUR 2,066

This catalog of more than 2,000 Latin bibles from the magnificent collection of bibles at the Württemberg State Library in Stuttgart has been prepared with great distinction and makes these bibles more widely accessible. The fourth volume in the first part of this comprehensive cataloging effort has already received positive reviews elsewhere. Previous reviews have addressed the many advantages and few faults of the series so far (see RREA 2:86-87). A noteworthy contribution of this particular volume is that it draws attention to the significance of the Latin bibles for fields beyond the theological and philological; these bibles are also important to the study of history, art history, biography, book arts, and bibliography. Another advantage of this volume is the careful and complete rendering of the titles. The precise and subtle descriptions of the exact functions of the people involved and the presentation of other titles that appear within the bibles are also useful features. One drawback, however, is the failure to include the so-called “fingerprint,” an established way of clearly identifying historical prints. Another drawback is its exclusive focus on the Stuttgart collection alone. All in all, this entire cataloging effort will, in so far as the comparatively high cost is not off-putting, play an important role in the scholarship of these important texts. [jom/cmd]

Lexikon der Heiligen und der Heiligenverehrung [Lexicon of Saints and Veneration of Saints]. Ed. Bruno Steimer. 3 vols. Freiburg im Breisgau [et al.]: Herder, 2003. 21 p. 2,104 col. 22 cm. (Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche kompakt). ISBN 3-451-28190-2 (set): EUR 64 [04-1-110]

The basis for this three-volume set is the third edition of the eleven-volume encyclopedia edited by Walter Kasper, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (LThK) (Freiburg, [et al.], 1993-2001). It encompasses the entire field of hagiography, including 2,250 entries for all the saints and beatified persons recognized by the Catholic Church, from Peter to Mother Teresa (excluding the saints of the Eastern churches and Old Testament figures). Background articles cover the historical, canonical, liturgical, and theological aspects of veneration. The information and bibliographic citations are highly current. Large libraries that already own the LThK will likely not purchase this title, but it is an attractive, affordable segment of the larger encyclopedia for smaller libraries and individuals. [mbe/mjc]

Lexikon der biblischen Personen: mit ihrem Fortleben in Judentum, Christentum, Islam, Dichtung, Musik und Kunst [Dictionary of Biblical Figures: With Their Continued Presence in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Literature, Music, and Art]. Martin Bocian. 2d expanded ed. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2004. xviii, 539 p. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 460). ISBN 3-520-46002-5: EUR 25 [04-2-436]

The main (dictionary) section of this work is unchanged since the first edition was published in 1989. It contains articles on approximately 200 of the most important figures of the Old and New Testament, with information on the biblical material and its sources, as well as the “often less well known extra-biblical traditions in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim belief systems,” according to the book jacket. Three-quarters of the entries contain additional information on treatments of biblical figures in music, literature, and the visual arts. In cases when not all three major religious traditions are discussed, the Muslim heritage is the one likeliest to be omitted. Artistic renderings are noted with the names of authors, composers, artists, and their works within a narrative describing briefly the change in thematic treatment over time; unfortunately, there are no references to secondary literature that might provide a deeper analysis of the works mentioned or add to the incomplete list of artistic treatments. The second edition does at least include a four-page bibliography of reference works, editions, and translations; visual representations; and research on the general theme. The chronological section is now three times longer, and a new introduction by Bernhard Maier discusses biblical and non-biblical source material and each religion’s interactions with the sources. The additional index to authors, composers, and artists is the one feature that might justify purchasing the new edition. [sh/rb]

Personen-Lexikon zum Neuen Testament [Dictionary of Persons in the New Testament]. Ed. Josef Hainz, Martin Schmidl, and Josef Sunckel. Düsseldorf: Patmos, 2004. 336 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-491-70378-6: EUR 24.90 [04-2-437]

The unique feature of this dictionary is its inclusion of all characters that appear in the New Testament, which means that Old Testament figures mentioned in the New Testament are also covered. The compilers’ intent is to make the results of scientific, historical, and critical research on the New Testament available to a broader readership. Articles cover origin, appearance, and significance of the names, their role in the Bible, and, for some, references to their historical impact. Because of their clearly different content, both this work and Martin Bocian’s Lexikon der biblischen Personen (see RREA 10:68) should be acquired by libraries. [sh/mjc]

Die Bistümer des Heiligen Römischen Reiches von ihren Anfängen bis zur Säkularisation [Bishoprics of the Holy Roman Empire from their Beginnings until Secularization]. Ed. Erwin Gatz. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 2003. 935 p. maps. 26 cm. ISBN 3-451-28075-2: EUR 108 [04-02-438]

The boundaries of the Catholic dioceses on German soil have been subject to a great deal of fluctuation over the centuries. To take just the state of Baden-Württemberg as an example, there are now two dioceses within its modern borders, where once there were seven. Of those original seven dioceses, two have ceased to exist entirely, and the remaining five were subjected over the years to various reorganizations and mergers. Up until now there has been no one reference work that provided an easy-to-use and more or less satisfying source of ready reference about the regional structures of the Catholic Church within the Holy Roman Empire. Aside from specialized monographs, one’s only recourse was to Michael Buchberger’s Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg im Breisgau, 2001; see RREA 5:89) or Gerhard Köbler’s Historisches Lexikon der deutschen Länder (München, 1999), both of which offered only a minimal level of information.

The Herder Verlag’s new reference work, Bistümer des Heiligen Römischen Reiches, seeks to fill that gap. It describes the history and structure of all 77 dioceses and archdioceses once found within the confines of the Holy Roman Empire. The geographical region covered stretches from Toul, Lüttich, Utrecht, and Verdun in the West to Riga in the East, and from Schleswig and Lübeck in the North to Trento and Aquilea in the South.

This new work is able to build on the information contained in its worthy predecessor, the three-volume Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches [Bishops of the Holy Roman Empire] (see RREA 8:69 and 9:332). Where the latter work offered a biographical perspective, focusing on the persons of the bishops, the present work provides an institutional perspective, focusing on the dioceses as jurisdictions, both sacred and secular. And whereas the Bischöfe des Heiligen Römischen Reiches goes back no further than the year 1198, the Bistümer des Heiligen Römischen Reiches covers a wider time frame, going back to the historical founding of each diocese, which means in some cases going all the way back to the Roman era. Both works end their coverage with the secularization of the bishoprics in the early 19th century.

The lexicon’s entries were contributed by more than 50 different authors. A general introduction gives a brief but informative overview of the material. As to the entries themselves, the level of detail they contain varies rather widely, a consequence of the difference in historical significance among the various dioceses, some of which are today for all practical purposes forgotten. For example, the entry for the highly important diocese of Mainz covers 27 pages, whereas the obscure diocese of Semgallen, near Riga, receives a mere two pages. Each entry ends with a list of the diocese’s bishops, followed by bibliographical references. Regrettably, the bibliographical references in many of the entries are extremely brief. Yet the entries succeed in laying plain the complexity of these diocesan structures, which in many cases comprised not just the churchly structure of a region, but every aspect of its secular political administration as well.

The work concludes with a comprehensive collection of colored maps, which show the physical extent of each diocese around the year 1500.

This is a well-crafted and useful lexicon that deserves a place among core reference works for history and church history in research libraries and larger public libraries. [mbe/crc]

Bibliographisches Lexicon der gesammten jüdischen Literatur der Gegenwart und Adress-Anzeiger [Bibliographic Encyclopedia of Cumulated Jewish Contemporary Literature and Index of Addresses]. Chaim David Lippe. Reprint. Hildesheim; New York: Olms, 2003. 22 cm. (Bibliothek des deutschen Judentums. Abt. 1, Quellensammlungen, Lexika, Bibliographien und Zeitschriften). ISBN 3-487-11854-8: EUR 199.60 [04-2-439]

Vol. 1. Reprint of the edition Wien: Löwy, 1881. xv, 704 p. ISBN 3-487-11855-6

Vol. 2. Reprint of the edition Wien: Lippe, 1887-1889. 288 p. ISBN 3-487-11856-4

Bibliographisches Lexicon der gesammten jüdischen und theologisch-rabbinischen Literatur der Gegenwart mit Einschluss der Schriften über Juden und Judenthum [Bibliographic Encyclopedia of Cumulated Contemporary Jewish Theological and Rabbinical Literature, Including Writings about Jews and Judaism]. Chaim David Lippe. Reprint of the edition Wien: Lippe, 1899. Hildesheim: Olms, 2003. xxxii, 496 p. 22 cm. (Bibliothek des deutschen Judentums. Abt. 1, Quellensammlungen, Lexika, Bibliographien und Zeitschriften). ISBN 3-487-11857-2: EUR 99.80 [04-2-440]

These reprint editions include facsimiles of the ornate title pages from the original editions, in addition to the simplified title pages. The original edition of the second work also has parallel text in Hebrew script and a lengthy, descriptive subtitle: “A lexically ordered schemata with addresses of rabbis, preachers, teachers, cantors, authors, friends, and patrons of Jewish literature in the Old and New World, along with bibliographic details of works published by all present-day Jewish authors, and monographs and journals about Jewish literature, in chronological arrangement and sequence. A handbook and reference work for book dealers, the rabbinate, congregations, and friends of Jewish literature.”

Volume 1 of the first title lists the writings of Jewish authors in a main part and two supplements. Volume 2 reprints a continuation of the main work, covering books and periodicals published between 1880-1887; it appeared in three installments between 1887 and 1889, but ceased with the entry for “Steinberg.” The second reprinted title includes a main part and two supplements for books and for periodical literature through 1899, and also lists writings about Judaism by non-Jewish authors. Both titles include indexes of Hebrew titles and places of publication.

It is unfortunate that the editor neglected to address Chaim David Lippe‘s life and career or the significance of his bibliography. A brief biography can be found in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 10 (1934), p. 992-993, and also in A History and Guide to Judaic Bibliography (1977). Both of Lippe’s works document the richness of Jewish literature of the last quarter of the 19th century. They include numerous writings and Hebrew-language imprints that are rarely held in German libraries today. [sh/jmw]

Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbiner [Biographical Dictionary of Rabbis]. Ed. Michael Brocke and Julius Carlebach. München: Saur. 25 cm. ISBN 3-598-24870-9 (set) [04-2-441]

Pt. 1. Die Rabbiner der Emanzipationszeit in den deutschen, böhmischen und großpolnischen Ländern 1781-1871 [The Rabbis of the Emancipation Period in the German, Bohemian, and Greater Polish Lands, 1781-1871]. Comp. Carsten Wilke. 2 vols. 2004. ix, 965 p. ISBN 3-598-24871-7: EUR 296

The first part of this biographical dictionary of Ashkenazi rabbis, which originated in a project supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, includes the rabbis of the emancipation period (1781-1871). The second part, compiled by Katrin Jele Nansen, will cover rabbis in Germany from 1871 to 1945. A biographical dictionary of rabbis is harder to compile than one of Christian pastors. There is not the uniformity of calls to positions, nor is there a distinct and rich body of source material. The compiler has to comb through scattered and fragmentary (if not destroyed) archives and a large number of publications on Judaism, mostly local and regional ones. The editor confirms the scanty treatment of rabbis in reference books about Judaism in his long introduction, which is worth reading. The selection criteria for recognition as a rabbi are a rabbinic diploma, a contract with a Jewish community or organization, and usually recognition by the authorities. The entries contain biographical and bibliographical information and range from a few lines to three pages. [sh/gh]

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Last update: July 15, 2007 [TB]
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