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:  One of the texts that, in one Christian movement or another, has historically been an authoritative basis for beliefs or practices:  biblical books, apocrypha, pseudepigrapha, particular authoritative books/scriptures of marginal Christian movements, creeds, encyclicals, catechisms, rules, etc.


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; 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 Goal:  Each very concise entry is nevertheless quite  informative because it emphasizes and clarifies a single issue:  the sense in which each of these authoritative texts reflects a certain contextual interpretation of a foundational tradition (be it an early Israelite tradition, or a Jesus Tradition, or another early Christian tradition) or a foundational religious experience for a Christian community in a particular religious, cultural, or socio-political historical situation.  This presentation is designed to promote a cross-cultural and cross-historical comparison of ancient authoritative bases for beliefs and practices with contemporary ones. (These entries emphasize Religionsgeschichte and social, political and cultural studies, concerning the way the given document is related to its religious, social, or cultural historical context.)  


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.) 

These entries do not seek to duplicate ¡°historical introductions¡± to biblical books or creeds.  Rather it exclusively focuses on the contextual interpretive character of this authoritative text:




(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]] (to be printed in a different, smaller font; 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 document.  When was it written? by whom? to whom? What kind of document is it?  What is its content (providing an outline)?  


[[ Historical Context]] of this Document Describe pertinent aspects of this historical context  (religious dimension, cultural, social, economic, political);


[[Tradition(s) Emphasized]] by the document as most significant in this context Why is this tradition particularly significant  in this context?


[[ How Is This Tradition Interpreted?]]  What is viewed as most significant in this tradition?  What is left out? In terms of what other text or traditions is it interpreted?


[[Main Theological and/or Ethical Issues addressed]] by the document  for people in this context. 


The way and contexts in which the text became an [[authoritative basis for beliefs and practices for Christians]];


[[Related Entries]]  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/  ).