"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, May 16, 2011

Blackwell Companions

Wiley-Blackwell continues to bring out some superlative scholarship on Eastern Christian topics. Stand-alone volumes include, of course, John McGuckin's superb The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture and the two-volume Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity of which he is editor and on which I have commented numerous times.

Wiley-Blackwell also continues to produce some most useful series on various topics. One such series, their "Companion" series, has recently seen several volumes emerge:

In 2007 we had the hardback version, and as of 2010 now the paperback version, of 

Ken Parry, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity (2010), 528pp.

The original hardback version was very favorably reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. About this companion, Wiley-Blackwell tells us:

Now available in paperback, this Companion offers an unparalleled survey of the history, theology, doctrine, worship, art, culture and politics that make up the churches of Eastern Christianity.
  • Covers both Byzantine traditions (such as the Greek, Russian and Georgian churches) and Oriental traditions (such as the Armenian, Coptic and Syrian churches)
  • Brings together an international team of experts to offer the first book of its kind on the subject of Eastern Christianity
  • Contributes to our understanding of recent political events in the Middle East and Eastern Europe by providing much needed background information
  • May be used alongside The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity (1999) for a complete student resource
We have other Blackwell Companions recently published containing at least one article each on Eastern Christian topics.

Philip Goff, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Religion in America (2010), 752pp.

This companion contains one article on Eastern Christianity entitled "Eastern Orthodox Christianity" and authored by Amy Slagle of the University of Southern Mississippi, whom I mentioned earlier.
About this companion, we are told: 

This authoritative and cutting edge companion brings together a team of leading scholars to document the rich diversity and unique viewpoints that have formed the religious history of the United States.
  • A groundbreaking new volume which represents the first sustained effort to fully explain the development of American religious history and its creation within evolving political and social frameworks
  • Spans a wide range of traditions and movements, from the Baptists and Methodists, to Buddhists and Mormons
  • Explores topics ranging from religion and the media, immigration, and piety, though to politics and social reform
  • Considers how American religion has influenced and been interpreted in literature and popular culture
  • Provides insights into the historiography of religion, but presents the subject as a story in motion rather than a snapshot of where the field is at a given moment

David A. Fergusson, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth-Century Theology (2010), 552pp.  

This companion contains only one article particularly focused on the Christian East, chapter  10: "Russian Theology" by Olga Nesmiyanova of the Saint Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy 

About this companion we are told:

Bringing together a collection of essays by prominent scholars, The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Theology presents a comprehensive account of the most significant theological figures, movements, and developments of thought that emerged in Europe and America during the nineteenth century.
  • Representing the most up-to-date theological research, this new reference work offers an engaging and illuminating overview of a period whose forceful ideas continue to live on in contemporary theology
  • A new reference work providing a comprehensive account of the most significant theological figures and developments of thought that emerged in Europe and America during the nineteenth century
  • Brings together newly-commissioned research from prominent international Biblical scholars, historians, and theologians, covering the key thinkers, confessional traditions, and major religious movements of the period
  • Ensures a balanced, ecumenical viewpoint, with essays covering Catholic, Russian, and Protestant theologies
  • Includes analysis of such prominent thinkers as Kant and Kierkegaard, the influence and authority of Darwin and the natural sciences on theology, and debates the role and enduring influence of the nineteenth century “anti-theologians"

Delbert Burkett, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Jesus (2010), 576pp.

This has one chapter, no.12 ("The Christ of the Creeds") written by an Eastern Christian, Khaled Anatolios of Boston College and author of works on Athanasius and the forthcoming Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine.

About this companion, we are told that it

features a comprehensive collection of essays that explore the diverse ways in which Jesus has been imagined or portrayed from the beginnings of Christianity to the present day. 
Considers portrayals of Jesus in the New Testament and beyond, Jesus in non-Christian religions, philosophical and historic perspectives, modern manifestations, and representations in Christian art, novels, and film
  • Comprehensive scope of coverage distinguishes this work from similar offerings
  • Examines both Christian and non-Christian perspectives on Jesus, including those from ethnic and sexual groups, as well as from other faiths
  • Offers rich and rewarding insights which will shape our understanding of this influential figure and his enduring legacy

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