Item description for The Literature of Theology: A Guide for Students and Pastors by David R. Stewart...
Overview This updated reference guide directs students to over five hundred significant theological resources across a wide area of theological research. It details bibliographic sources for encyclopedias, dictionaries, and electronic resources in biblical studies, historical studies, theology, and practical theology.
This updated reference guide directs students to over five hundred significant theological resources across a wide area of theological research. It details bibliographic sources for encyclopedias, dictionaries, and electronic resources in biblical studies, historical studies, theology, and practical theology.
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More About David R. Stewart
The author's father was born in Ballymena, Ireland in 1907. His mother's family emigrated from County Cork around 1730. Avidly interested in his Irish Heritage, he became involved with the Irish Heritage Society of Central Pennsylvania. A month long pilgrimage to Ireland in 1981 served to further stimulate that interest.
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Making the list... Oct 12, 2003
David Stewart's book 'The Literature of Theology' is essentially a book of lists. In this book, one will find a list (current as of late 2002) of the essential reference books for the seminary student, teacher, and practicing minister.
There are several sections of the book. Lists contained herein fall in the following broad categories:
*Basic Resources This section could be perhaps termed 'the best of the best', or perhaps 'the most general of the general'. These are the basic references that will cover, in brief, most topics students and pastors will ever encounter. About 20 books are listed here.
*Books about the Bible These books are about the Bible as a whole -- its history, geography, language, literature, archaeology, etc. Dictionaries and handbooks also fall in this category. Books here are different from commentaries generally in that they do not look at particular books, or the entire Bible, in an exclusively or primarily exegetical way. An additional 70 books are listed here.
*Bible Commentaries Commentaries often come in sets -- there are series of commentaries, some by the same author, others by teams assembled. Stewart's recommendation here is sound, as so many students and pastors end up with far more commentaries than are really useful -- find a series that is worthwhile and stick with it, and be selective about finding additional commentaries. Many of the 24 listings here are in fact for series, rather than individual books.
*The Church in History Stewart lists about 70 works in history, from general one-volume surveys to books that specialise in ancient/early church, medieval church, Reformation, modern era, and North American church topics.
*Christian Thought and Theology Theological activity is very diverse and constantly being updated, not only with new texts but even with new strands and fields emerging. Among the almost 90 books listed in this section (making it one of the larger sections numerically), Stewart lists texts according to theological school (feminist, liberation, etc.); denomination/jurisdiction (particularly along the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox); and traditional topical area (Christology, ethics, ecclesiology, etc.).
*World Christianity, Ecumenics, and World Religions The 51 texts listed here include traditional reference volumes that survey the religions of the world as well as newer texts that look at growing and emerging traditions within and outside of Christianity around the world. This is a fast-growing area.
*Christian Denominations With 111 volumes listed, this is the largest section. The one, holy church has fractures galore. Broken into four main sections (protestant, catholic, orthodox and other), there are texts that cover the major denominational splits, as well as the major doctrinal and jurisdictional areas in catholic and orthodox perspectives. Many denominations and traditions lack good resources, as Stewart notes in his preface to this section.
*Practical Theology The 30 books here are, as the title indicates, practical -- perhaps the most practical and most-used texts by many pastors. In here are guides to preaching, pastoral care, religious education, and worship and music. Compared with many sections, this is relatively small; relative to the importance of the field, surprisingly few books are produced.
*Christian Spirituality The 25 books listed here are suggestions offered with less certainty that Stewart recommends in other sections, as spirituality is a very personal and very active topic. The texts suggested here are spiritual classics or anthologies of such, writing which has stood the test of time. However, quality works are being produced each year, so constant research is warranted.
*Christianity and Literature Some schools, not permitted to teach the Bible as a religious text, nonetheless teach it as a piece of literature. Stewart mentions this affinity as well as the similarities between the preacher's art and the writer's art as reason for this chapter to appear in the text.
Each of the works has a brief description of the key highlights, and usually the reason for inclusion in the lists in this book. While 500 books may seem like a lot, in terms of the literature of the fields, it is a mere drop in the bucket. When one realises that this list is also an English-only listing (a great deal of theological and Biblical scholarship is done in German, French, and other languages), the magnitude of the job done to reduce the content to this small a format is all the more remarkable.
Concluding the book, Stewart continues the usefulness of this as a researcher's resource by describing the differences between different types of books (atlases, commentaries, anthologies, etc.), providing further bibliographic and research information for books and for the internet, and finally giving two indexes, one of authors/editors and one of titles.
This text is a revision of an older edition by the same name, twenty years old; a lot of literature will change in that time, although some will stay the same. Stewart met with the previous compiler, John Bollier, and worked with extensive libraries (physical and online) to put together this annotated list of texts for the early-twenty-first-century student and pastor.