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Lexikon der Mission: Geschichte, Theologie, Ethnologie.

Horst Rzepkowski, S.V.D., is a well-known Roman Catholic missiologist at St. Augustin, Germany. A dictionary is usually the product of cooperation among many scholars. In the case of this Dictionary of Mission, however, Rzepkowski has done it all himself. This has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the main advantages is that the work is more coherent than we might expect in a reference volume of this kind.

Rzepkowski includes articles on subjects that relate to the history of mission, the theology of mission, and cultural anthropology. If we compare this voluminous work with its famous predecessor Concise Dictionary of the Christian World Mission (1970), we note that Rzepkowski offers fewer articles about specific countries, and about American mission societies, but more articles on cultural anthropology, missiologists, and encyclicals. Furthermore, he is obviously more up to date (he includes articles on EATWOT, Evangelism in Depth, etc.) and offers more extensive literature surveys.

I recommend Rzepkowski's Lexikon as an outstanding achievement in the field of mission studies. At the same time, however, I would question the publication of works like the Concise Dictionary of the Christian World Mission and Lexikon der Mission. Today it is important to specialize more and more; we need not only comprehensive dictionaries but specialized reference works that focus on counties (e.g., David B. Barrett, World Christian Encyclopedia, 1982); missionaries and missiologists (e.g., Gerald H. Anderson, Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions [in process]); and missiological terms. A "missiological glossary" has yet to be produced. Even the Lexikon Missions-theologishcher Grundbegriffe (Berlin 1987), edited by Karl Muller, S.V.D., and Theo Sundermeier as a missiological dictionary, has a composite character.

What has just been said is not at all a criticism of the very important work of Rzepkowski. For the time being, his Lexicon is the best all-round missiological encyclopedia we have. I hope there will be an English edition.
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Author:Jongeneel, Jan A.B.
Publication:International Bulletin of Missionary Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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