In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

64BOOK REVIEWS can mean for the modern Church is needed. Perhaps this volume will convince a contemporary scholar to assume this task. Donald J. Dietrich Boston College Biographical Dictionary ofChristian Missions. Edited by Gerald H. Anderson. (NewYork: Macmillan Reference USA, Simon & Schuster Macmillan. 1998. Pp. xxvU, 845. $100.00.) This massive tome fills a gap in reference works; it is needed and will be used by all missiologists and mission agencies, but especially by mission historians. It should be present in the library of every theological school and mission agency around the world because it is in the fullest meaning of the words: ecumenical, global, and scholarly. Gerald Anderson was assisted by an Editorial Advisory Board composed of excellent scholars from Europe, North America, and SouthAmerica; this assured a representative choice of topics and a high quality of research. The work includes articles on 2,400 people who were missionaries or who had a significant connection with mission work. It covers the period from post-New Testament times down to our own days. They were chosen from the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Protestant, Pentecostal, independent, and indigenous churches. The articles were written by 349 authors from forty-five different countries. In many cases the writers are the undoubted authorities on the persons being described. All the articles are signed. At the end of each article is a short but significant bibliography, which is not limited to English titles. While the style ofwriting is diverse,the quality is uniformly good. In each article an asterisk appears before the name of a person mentioned for whom there is a special entry. This cross-referencing is most useful to the reader. The dictionary is made even more useful by its extended appendix and index. In the appendix are found the list of entries: by time period (e.g., born before 800, born from 801 to 1500, etc.); of women; of martyrs (not just those canonized by the Catholic Church but generally recognized as such, e.g.,Archbishop Romero); by region of service (e.g., different sections of Africa, Asia, etc.); by selected major agencies, Orders (limited here to the Dominicans, Franciscans, and Jesuits), and religious traditions; of Non-Western Persons (according to regions); and by type of work (excluding evangelism, church planting, and education). This will prove a great help to people doing research on a more general topic. The index is another important aid. It does not include the biographical entries—and justifiably so—but it does list geographical names and local institutions that are significant in the articles plus the names of all the contributors with their entries. While there are biographies of people born before 1800 (four pages of names), the overwhelming majority of them are of people born after that (al- BOOK REVIEWS65 most nine full pages of names). The lack of names of women before 1800 and the proportionately fewer names after that is not the fault of the editor. He and his colleagues have done their best to include as many significant women as possible, but the sources are lacking. This is often evident in the bibliographies attached to the biographies of women. But from these listings it is obvious that the work will be more useful to historians of the modern mission period than those of the ancient, medieval, or Reformation periods. It has been estimated that there have been over ten million persons who have served as foreign missionaries or cross-cultural home missionaries down through the ages, and therefore a choice had to be made. The editor consulted with fifty scholars from around the world before settling on the 4,500 included in the volume. The criterion used for choosing these was that they made a significant contribution—often in a pioneering role—to the advancement of Christian missions. Some readers may find some of their "favorite" names missing , especially in the earlier periods, but in reading the articles they will see that each entry deserves to be there. It is often said that the era of missions is over. However, the editor points out that there are far more missionaries working today than ever before in history (403,000 in 1997), many of...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 64-65
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.