The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South is a comprehensive, contemporary, and compelling resource on the history, theology, and missiology of Christianities in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, Caribbean, and Oceana. Editor Mark Lamport, who has taught worldwide and has worked with George Thomas Kurian on several major encyclopedia projects, brings together a unique guild of 250 established as well as emerging scholars from 70 countries to present this brilliant resource.
The Encyclopedia contains over 500 entries exploring various Christian themes representing more than 165 geographical regions. It represents a collaboration of global perspectives in engaging with the themes of origin and development, progress or decline, movements and trends, encounter and impacts, and challenges and issues in the Christian history of the Global South. Histories of institutions and churches, biographies of prominent leaders, timelines and maps, selected bibliographies, and detailed indexes are the other prominent themes meticulously covered in this encyclopedia.
Volume 1 covers the general entries ranging from A to L: Aboriginal Christianity to Lutheranism and everything in between. One of the important features of this volume is the special prologues for each region covered in the Encyclopedia. Vol. 1 is also enriched with the Introduction by renowned historian Philip Jenkins, who calls this publication, “an enormously impressive and even awe-inspiring work” (p. xlii). This resource definitely comes with rich contents, updated data, and academically engaging fresh perspective.
Volume 2 comprises of two types of entries – general and special. First, the general entries ranging from M to Z: Madagascar’s Christian history to Christianity and Zoroastrianism and much more between the two. Second, the special essays and Afterwords. A unique feature of this volume is that it contains dedicated essays on historical and contemporary experiences of Christianity in every region of the global south (pp. 883ff). The essays on history of experiences sum up the origin and expansion of Christianity. The essays on contemporary experience reflect on dominant themes and critical issues facing Christianity in the regions. Vol. 2 further includes six Afterwords giving a final bird’s eye view on the mega themes and trends covered in the encyclopedia as a whole.
The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the Global South is an inevitable inventory for any library. It is a highly useful resource for students, teachers, and scholars of history of Christianity in the Global South or Christian studies in general. The hardback edition comes in two volumes and volume 1 does not contain indexes. This lack of index may seem less user-friendly to some users as they have to go back and forth to volume 2 to refer to indexes. This issue, however, is taken care in the digital edition of the book which comes in a single file.
I have personally benefited from this encyclopedia, both a contributor as well as a researcher. Economically it may be unaffordable to some of us, but it is worth. I really wish that regional editions are published with an affordable price for students of majority world. In any case, I highly recommend this encyclopedia to everyone interested in gaining fresh insights on Christian history and experiences of the Global South.
Shivraj K. Mahendra
Asbury Theological Seminary
Categories: (H) Book Review