Goal of the CDC: Making understandable the complexity of present-day Christianity by clarifying the contextual character of C

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.





Topic:   The several understandings through history of a theological or ethical concept, emphasizing that each of its understandings is the result of an implicit or explicit 1) interpretation of a tradition (from Scripture or later) 2) in terms of certain religious, theological or ethical concerns, 3) in and for the believers¡¯ needs in a certain context.

Note: This type of entry is limited to theological and ethical concepts for which there are several understandings through history.  (A plurality of understandings readily becomes visible in controversies regarding this concept: e.g., between different denominations.)  Concepts with a single understanding are presented in lexical definition entries


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– your self-contained entry should give them sufficient information to give them the assurance they know the essential about your topic – yet; yet they will have access to the rest of the dictionary for surveys of the history of Christianity around the world, as well as for explanations of concepts, Christian practices, events, history of Christian movements and denominations, and entries on other women and men who are representatives of all of these.


Type of Entry and its Goal:  A very concise conceptual entry that is also quite informative because it clarifies the series of distinctive understandings (rather than a single understanding) of a given theological or ethical concept found through history.  It is designed to promote a) the recognition that any given understanding of a theological concept is the interpretation of a tradition or of a religious experience that reflects a choice among several alternatives, and b) the recognition of the extent to which the chosen understanding of the concept is related to a particular cultural, social, and/or religious context.  (This type of entries makes it possible to recognize still other understandings of each theological or ethical concept in contemporary contexts around the world.) 


The following classifications are to be used to facilitate the cross-cultural comparison of Christianity in diverse contexts: (The order may vary; categories may be re-grouped, but all must be considered in preparing an entry.) 


TEMPLATE for ENTRIES # 2,  Theological Concept 


(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]] - General Definition of the Concept;   -  Listing in a few words (telegraphic style):  a) Different types of understandings of the concept to be discussed;  b) The Tensions involved in this concept.  (Pedagogical Goal: explaining to readers,  the curious undergraduate students, why they might be interested in reading this entry.)


Several Distinctive Understandings of This Concept:

[[Distinctive Understanding # 1)]] 

[[Distinctive Understanding # 2)]] 

[[Distinctive Understanding # 3)]]    ¡¦. etc.

For Each Understanding as Interpretation of a Tradition, in terms of Religious, Theological or Ethical Concerns in and for a Particular Life-Context

            a)   [[Description]]

            b)   [[Traditions that are interpreted]]

            c)   [[Religious, theological, or ethical concerns it reflects]]

May include references to religious experience,  locus of the sacred; sacred time(s); rituals

d)   [[Life-context]] in which and for which this understanding is developed or chosen.

What does it affirm in this life-context? What are the human predicaments it denounces?


Pointing out either what is the better understanding of this concept in the present context;

            or what is at stake when one or another of these understandings is chosen.


[[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 studies 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/  ).