Goal of the CDC:  Making understandable the complexity of present-day Christianity by clarifying the contextual character of Christian theological views, practices and movements through history and cultures.

 

RATIONALE AND TEMPLATE for ENTRIES # 10,  METH

METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES REGARDING THE STUDY OF CHRISTIANITY

8/1/2003

 

Topic:   One of the critical methods for the study of Christianity, the scientific theory upon which it is based; one of the major scholars who are proponents of these methods and theories.

 

Audience:  It is to be written for ¡°curious and bright undergraduate students¡± (beginning university students whom we nicknamed ¡°curious Georgia¡±) and yet must be informative enough to be a solid quick reference article for Christian clergy, professors and students in Christian seminaries and religious studies departments throughout the world.   These readers might not know anything about Christianity and about the critical study of religion– your self-contained entry should give them sufficient information to give them the assurance they know the essential about your topic – yet they will have access to the rest of the dictionary for many examples of it such as surveys of the history of Christianity in the world and in each region, entries concerning the interactions of Christianity with other religious traditions and cultures, as well as entries providing explanations of concepts, Christian practices, events, history of Christian movements and denominations, and entries on women and men who are representatives of all of these.

 

Type of Entry and Goal:  A very concise presentation of the critical methodologies used in the other entries, which is nevertheless very authoritative because it clarifies the theoretical basis of each method and illustrates it with concrete examples.  These entries free  the other entries from repeatedly discussing these methods.  Together, these entries are designed to explain and to methodologically justify the goals and rationale for the CDC, its diverse entries, and the choices made in view of the limited space available (875,000 words).  

 

The following classifications are to be used to facilitate the cross-references with other entries:  Each methodological entry identifies

 

 

The same categories apply when the focus is on the methodology of a particular scholar.

 

TEMPLATE for ENTRIES # 10,  METH  

(To insure consistency for the CDC, please include the following [[Phrases  Between Brackets]] in your draft B to  be subsequently removed by the editor. The order of the points is to be determined in each case by the author.)

 

 

[[Introduction]] (in telegraphic, list  style; should provide key information not to be repeated and serve as a table content of the entry.  Much information can be conveyed in a few words):   Identification of this method ;  What aspect/dimension of Christianity does this method help to systematically discern:   [[a) Is it some aspect of the contextual dimensions of Christianity (e.g. its community dimension, including its structures of authority; its sociological, political, educational, cultural aspects)?  b) Is it some aspect of the religious experience (experience of the Holy; sense of God¡¯s presence) in a ritual or in daily life?  c) Is it an aspect of the appropriation of certain traditions or revelations or sacred scriptures?]] Who are the scholars who are well known for developing or implementing this method?

 

[[Scientific Theory]]  What scientific theory is the basis of this method:  Is it, for instance, an historiographic, linguistic, anthropological, sociological, psychological, philosophical, hermeneutical, political, or economic theory?

 

[[Criteria]]  What kinds of data count as evidence and what kinds of data do not count as evidence:   How can one verify the legitimacy of one¡¯s conclusions?

 

[[Relation to Other Methods]]  How this methodology is usually related to other methods in the human sciences and in theological studies:   Is it part of a paradigm – a set of complementary methods?  If so, which one?  With which other methods is this one incompatible, because they are viewed as belonging to a conflicting  paradigm?   

 

[[This Method in the CDC]] How this methodology is used as complementary with other methods to provide a solid basis for the CDC.

 

[[Related Entries]] presupposed:  These should be signaled in the body of the entry with an *  after the word designating the entry.  A few essential cross references may be listed at the end of the entry between parentheses:   ¡°(see also xxxxx).¡± 

 

Short Bibliography (not included in the word-count):  List the main resources for further study of this topic to be included in the Bibliography of the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity on a web-site that will be regularly up-dated.  Usually not more than 5 to 10 titles with full biographical data (see style sheet  at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/religious_studies/CDC/  ).