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

Reviewed by:
  • Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity ed. by Angelo Di Berardino
  • J. Patout Burns
Angelo Di Berardino, general editor
Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity
Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2014
3 vols. Pp. xxxviii + 994. $450.00.

The first edition of this Encyclopedia was published in Italian, under the supervision of Angelo Di Berardino, by Marietti in three volumes: A–F in 1983, G–Z in 1984, Atlas and Indices in 1988. A French version appeared in 1990 in two volumes from Cerf, under the supervision of François Vial. A two-volume English edition prepared by Adrian Walford, with bibliographic updating by W. H. C. Frend, was published by James Clark (Cambridge) for Great Britain and Oxford University Press (New York) for North America. The Spanish edition, overseen by Alfonso Ortiz García and José Manuel Guirau, appeared in 1998, from Sígueme in Salamanca. Between 2006 and 2010, Di Berardino published the updated and enlarged new Italian edition in four volumes, again from Marietti. The current title is the translation of that second Italian edition, prepared by Joseph T. Papa, Erik A. Loenke, and Eric E. Hewett, under the general supervision of James Hoover. This edition differs from the first English one in omitting the maps, the list of articles, and all indices.

The atlas that was included in the third volume of the original Italian edition and the second volume of the first English was radically expanded and elaborated for the second Italian edition. It has been published separately in English, with further additions, by ICCS Press (Historical Atlas of Ancient Christianity, 2014).

The Encyclopedia itself grew through its various editions. The current English version has 3,220 articles, including thirty articles not found in the second Italian version, which itself contained more than 500 new articles and a significant (but unspecified) number of rewrites of original articles. The articles new to this English edition are listed in the most recent preface. Some, such as the entry on “Love,” are replacements for an earlier article (“Love of God and Neighbor”). An updated article deals with “Evil.” Others, such as the entry on “Death,” “Good,” “Freedom/Free Will,” and some church offices, are new to this edition.

One of the puzzling aspects of this edition is the space given to some of the entries new in the English edition; it seems disproportionate to that devoted to earlier entries that have not been expanded. The entry “Love of God and Neighbor,” for example, was one column long in the earlier English edition and has been replaced by a general article, “Love,” that is 31 columns long. Other significant contributions by Ilaria Ramelli are “Death” (15 columns), “Forgiveness” (12 columns), “Unity” (10 columns), and “Old Age” (9 columns). Rocco Ronzani is the other major contributor to this edition with six of the new articles, only one of which is more than three columns long. The article on the Council of Chalcedon in the 1992 English edition used less than three columns, less than half of the space devoted to the Council of Capua in the new article by Ronzani. Each of these articles has its own merits; however, as the Encyclopedia develops through successive iterations, Di Berardino’s editorial guidance and the understanding of the role of individual entries that he shared with his collaborators continue to fade. [End Page 488]

The provision of an electronic rather than a print copy for review has facilitated an evaluation of the updating of bibliography. This reviewer counted less than a thousand entries dated after 2004, a cut-off date that would have accommodated the changes made in the first volume of the second Italian edition, published in 2006. Nine thousand bibliographic entries were published after 1992, when the first English edition appeared with W. H. C. Frend’s updating of the bibliography of the first Italian edition. One might expect that a large portion of these are in the more than eight hundred articles added between these two English editions.

Note should be taken of the generous financial subventions that enabled the publication of the Encyclopedia by the Green Scholars Initiative and, presumably, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Angelo Di Berardino has devoted the...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 488-489
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.