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4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0830814493
Manufacturer : InterVarsity Press|
Release data : April, 1999
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Excellent, concise, yet complete.
Excellent, concise, yet complete. A required text for my Chrisitan Theology 1 course, but one I will keep and use often!
A Small Gem
The Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms is a small, slim (122 pages) book which typically devotes five or six lines each to theological terms, major theologians, and theological movements and traditions.
It need hardly be said that a book which tries to squeeze a world of theology into a mere 122 pages will have its limitations. Nonetheless, it is surprisingly comprehensive, and refreshingly clear and concise. So, for example, it covers the Council of Nicea, the theology of Karl Barth, the meaning of fundamentalism, and more than 300 topics besides.
The authors state that their purpose is simply to "provide you with a foundational, working knowledge of the concepts". In this they certainly succeed - and with language that should be within the scope of most beginners. While most of their definitions would find general acceptance, they state that they give preference to a "broadly evangelical, Protestant perspective".
The one obvious shortcoming of the book is that it would sometimes seem to be capricious in its selection of terms. For example, salvation is defined, yet mission is not. The imago Dei is defined, yet the imitatio Christi is not. Adolf von Harnack receives an entry, yet Jürgen Moltmann does not. And finally - wait for it - Protestantism is defined, yet Roman Catholicism is not!
Having said this, many of the omissions (e.g. Roman Catholicism) would come into focus with a complete reading of the book, and this does not seriously detract from the usefulness of the book as a whole.
A full theological dictionary can "cost a ton", besides being difficult for beginners to cope with. This small book provides a cheap and handy alternative, and has the endorsement of leading evangelical seminaries. For what it is worth, it is a good reference work well written.
Excellent for the cost and size
For the price and the size, this dictionary is an excellent buy for a bible college student, and for all those working as pastors, in youth ministry, discipleship educational ministries (formally called Church Education) and so forth.
At last I've been able to find a dictionary with terms like pragmatism, predestination, panenthiesm, and other such terms I cannot recall at this moment. Many people do not understand the differences between a bible dictionary and theological dictionary, so for a long time I did not know that a theology dictionary existed. My only gripe is that there are theological terms not in this book (natural evil, free will theory,etc..) and many of the terms in this book are way to concise. However I did find a expanded dictionary on theological terms at the local Christian Bookstore, but it cost over $50 and was not pocketable.
So my conclusion is. If you just need a simple dictionary that is both cheap, and does not weigh 50 pounds, then buy this dictionary.