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Dictionary of Christian Denominations.

Dictionary of Christian Denominations. By Peter Day. London: Continuum, 2003. Pp. viii, 516. 45 [pounds sterling] / $70.

Peter Day, an Australian-born member of the Russian Orthodox Church who lives in England, has produced a helpful guide to a wide range of Christian churches and movements, both contemporary and historic. Concern for history means that many articles treat groups no longer in existence, like the Euchites of the fourth to seventh centuries (eastern Mediterranean regions), two different groups of Abrahamites (one from ninth-century Syria and the other from eighteenth-century Bohemia), the Methodist Episcopal Church (predecessor of the United Methodist Church), or the Methodist New Connexion (which folded into the Methodist Church of Great Britain). Treatment of Orthodox churches is especially strong (e.g., extensive articles on the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church of America, and the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America).

Coverage of non-Western churches is spotty (e.g., only two short paragraphs on the Zion Christian Church and all other Zionist churches in southern Africa) but also helpful for what is present (like the articles on United or Uniting churches in Brazil, the Falkland Islands, India, Japan, the Marshall Islands, Namibia, the Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). The short article on Pentecostals is very brief and mostly extracted from Barrett, Kurian, and Johnson's World Christian Encyclopedia. Entries on some of the individual Pentecostal denominations are better, though many significant representatives seem to be missing.

Sometimes the proportionate use of space is odd, as with long articles on the Convulsionaries (an eighteenth-century Jansenist sect) and the Cooneyites, also known as the Black Stockings and the Nameless House Church (a twentieth-century fundamentalist movement), but no separate treatment of Anglican churches in Nigeria, Uganda, or Kenya. One page is given over to the Roman Catholic Church. The absence of bibliographies detracts from the volume's usefulness, but it is still a welcome resource for what it does contain.

Mark A. Noll, McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, is the author most recently of America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (Oxford Univ. Press, 2002).
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Author:Noll, Mark A.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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