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Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition Expanded and Revised, ed. Donald K. McKim. A Review

The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2nd Ed.The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, 2nd Ed. by Donald K McKim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a reader of religious material one tool is essential: a ready recall of theological terms and categories. But even for the seminary-trained reader who is conversant with all of the specialized guild language, unless they have a near photographic memory, that ready recall will have to be augmented with some type of lexical sources. This is where the second edition of “The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms” comes in to the rescue! The editor of this revised and expanded issue, Donald K McKim, an accomplished author and former Academic Dean and Professor of Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary, has amassed some 7,000 terms into a manageable 382 page volume to make access easier and the material comprehensible.

Each of the entries in “The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms” is anywhere from one sentence to one paragraph in length. The terms are from multiple categories; the Bible, Theology – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Protestant, Church History, Worship, Ministry, Spirituality, as well as Ethics and Moral Theology. The descriptions are full enough to grasp the concept but short enough to be useful. Though the definition and description of a specific word may not get deep into the nuances, intricacies or opacities of a given term, nevertheless the meaning will contain enough relevant material that the reader will know the sense and back story.

Whether looking for the explanation of acedia or trying to remember the differences between homoousios and homoiousios, the investigator diving into the second edition of “The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms” will grasp the gist. This is a great resource for pastors, theologians, Bible students, teachers and taught. I highly recommend the book.

Thanks to Westminster John Knox Press and Netgalley for the temporary e-copy of this book used for this review.


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