Item description for The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin) by Donald Attwater & Catherine Rachel John...
Overview Here are the lives and legends of over 750 saints, ranging from the very earliest to those who have only recently been canonized. Some will be well known for the part they have played in history. Others will be less familiar, but taken together, they form a host of remarkable individuals whose lives provide inspiration and enlightenment.
An invaluable work of reference, this Penguin dictionary gives an account of the lives and legends of the major saints, many of whom have played important roles in history, as well as those who are less well-known.
- Provides information on men and women ranging from the Biblical saints to the recently canonized - Offers wide coverage of the saints of Great Britain and Ireland - Aims to be as historically informative as possible with entries including details of the saints' work and life stories, dates of birth, death, canonization and feast days, as well as emblems and special patronage - Stresses the saints' remarkable variety of human activity, social origin and personal history - Contains an informative introduction, explanatory notes and a list of further reading
Revealing a host of fascinating individuals, this Penguin original is a mine of information. For anyone wanting to check a reference or seeking inspiration, this dictionary will prove to be an indispensable source.
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More About Donald Attwater & Catherine Rachel John
Donald Attwater was born in 1892 and fought in the Near East in the First World War. During the Second World War he was a civilian lecturer in history and current affairs in H M forces. He wrote widely on Christianity, the Church and the lives of Saints. He died in 1997. Catherine Rachel John is the younger daughter of Donald Attwater. She has great experience in working on the liturgy and history of the Catholic Church. She lives in Lostwithiel, Cornwall.
Donald Attwater was born in 1892 and died in 1977.
Donald Attwater has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Penguin Dictionary of Saints: Third Edition (Dictionary, Penguin)?
It is remarkable history Jan 12, 2007
Who were these people? Here we see people burnt alive, flayed alive and tortured. Mostly for being "too good", "too brave" or just very totally strange in a religious way. People pray to these people... No one at this site books would fit... they can't even spell Fedorov right ( a saint of modern physical science and mathematics). You don't find Srinivasa Ramanujan or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi here either. It is a long history and I've even found names of saint not in the book! A good reference when dealing with Spanish/ Mexican place names.
Not patronizing (pardon my pun) Jan 8, 2006
As a Rome-based freelance writer who frequently publishes articles about the Vatican and its history, I knew I needed a good reference book to help me recognize saints in history, art, and tradition and understand why they are important. I did some research to decide between this volume, the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, and the Delany's Pocket Dictionary of Saints and I decided to buy this one.
Then some time passed, and I decided I needed still more information and so I bought the Oxford version about a year later. And six months ago the Delaney edition found its own place in my book shelf. And do you know what? After familiarizing myself with the new additions to my religious library on their arrival, I have hardly opened either of the Penguin edition's rivals.
To be clear, none of these books contains all the information in the other two, but I believe this edition -- in terms of authoratative (even if sometimes brief) biographical information, good organization, data on symbolism related to saints, a helpful glossery of terms, and an impressive bobliography -- is the best to have if you'll only buy one book.
As another reviewer here pointed out, the book's great weakness is its lack of significant information about patron saints. And that's important, because many lay people first decide to learn more about the lives of saints because of the patron saint of some area of interest (the Delaney book is best in that regard).
But I believe that flaw is more than compensated for by the book's strengths. At the risk of envoking a tired cliche, the book is written in a fact-packed and yet accessible style that makes it a good option for the novice and a valuable resource for more experienced saint watchers.
Best Out of Three Nov 16, 2000
Of the three dictionaries of saints that I use (Delaney's Pocket Dictionary of Saints and the Oxford Dictionary of Saints are the others), this possesses the most benefits. It not only includes the usual capsule biographies (don't expect any book of saints to include the same information) and appendices about Patron saints and symbols, but also a glossary of terms used in hagiography (the study of saints), something which neither Delaney nor Stone offer. If the book has any weakness, it is that the list of patron saints is too brief and incomplete. (Delaney's appendix is the best of the three, but his work has other faults.) Attwater and daughter also do not treat us to discussions of saintly relics (one of the joys of Stone's excellent work). Despite these minor flaws, I would choose this volume over the other two were I able only to own one of the books. (It is better, still, to own all three.)
Excellent Book on Saints Jun 5, 2000
This book is a great addition to the library of anyone who wants to know more about the lives of the great men and women of the Christian Faith. It includes Saints from the New Testament/Apostolic Age until the modern day. Each entry gives an excellent description of each Saint's life and work. It also has the reason for canonization (martyr, bishop, etc.) and the date it occurred, the date of birth and death, and the person's feast day in the Church (usually in the western calendar). Although the entries usually include only the basic information (about half a page on average), at the end of each entry the authors have added a reading list for those who wish to learn more about each Saint. The book also has an introduction that addresses such issues as sources, confessors, martyrs, and canonization. A glossary of terms is present, which includes a basic definition of words that may be difficult for some (e.g. Monothelism and Cenobite). The Dictionary has a useful appendix that contains a list of patron Saints, emblems, and a calendar of the feast days of the Saints listed. Although The Penguin Dictionary of Saints is very useful, I should mention that it includes mainly Roman Catholic Saints. Many of those canonized only (or deemed more important) in the Eastern Orthodox Church are not present, although the authors have included most of the universally accepted Saints (and even many minor ones) from both the East and Great Britain. Overall, this is an excellent resource that no Christian should be without; I use it all the time.
Very Percise and Great Refrence Book May 10, 2000
This book has to be the best of its kind. The information is enough to give you a basic understanding of each saint listed in this book. Very good book for preachers and history majors to have handy.