Title: Encyclopedia Of Protestantism (Encyclopedia of World Religions)
Author: J. Gordon Melton (Editor)
Publisher: Facts on File
Publication Date: 2005-05-30
Number Of Pages: 628
Encyclopedia of Protestantism is the last volume in the Facts On File Library of Religion and Mythology/Encyclopedia of World Religions. Like earlier volumes on Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, it is intended to be a handy guide to the major terms, concepts, people, events, and organizations that have contributed to the growth of the religion over the centuries.
A very readable introduction describes the history of Protestantism from its beginnings in the early sixteenth century through the present day. This is followed by an annotated chronology that starts with Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church doors in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517 through the consecration of the first openly gay Episcopal bishop in 2003. The approximately 800 entries are in alphabetical order, and a few are accompanied by portraits and other illustrations (mostly of churches). Each entry is followed by a bibliography, and a complete bibliography is found in the back of the volume.
The text is well written, interesting, and concise and has descriptions and definitions that are not easily found in other religion resources, such as Born again, Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and Slain in the Spirit. Numerous entries for countries describe the various missionary activities by Christians. Around 200 of the entries are biographies, many for important religious leaders from countries where missionaries have been very active. Examples include Toyohiko Kagawa, Krishna Pal, and Shi Mei Yi. There are no entries for the Dunkards (a branch of the Brethrens), Shakers, or Swedenborgians. Women and international leaders are well represented. The index is quite detailed but is set in significantly smaller print.
This is a welcome and affordable addition to most reference collections, despite its few limitations due to space constraints. All public and academic libraries will need it, and it would be useful to any high-school library where religion is part of the curriculum. Robin Hoelle
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