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:  A woman or man who is a significant historical figure (apostle, church leader, theologian, saint, lay person, author) who, through her/his daily life (as a simple lay person or as a church leader) or through her/his writings clearly exemplifies a particular implementation of a given Christian practice or illustrates a particular understanding of a theological concept in her/his specific historical life-context.


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:  A very concise presentation of this figure which is quite informative because it clarifies the characteristics of the life or work of that woman or man that makes her or him ¡°authoritative¡± – ¡°an authoritative basis for beliefs and practices¡± – for Christians and in which context.   How this person¡¯s acts and/or words (practices and/or teachings) interpret a foundational tradition in a particular context. The presentation of this person is designed to be an illustration or an exemplification of a Christian practice or of holding a theological concept; in this way, it should promote further cross-cultural and cross-historical comparisons of Christian practices and theological views. 


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.) 



(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.)


[[Characterization and Biographical Introduction]]    (in telegraphic, list  style; should provide key information not to be repeated.  Much information can be conveyed in a few words):   a)  a few words characterizing this person;  b) very short biography, giving main dates (birth, death, important dates in her or his life, in order to relate the author to the cultural, social, political, or religious contexts)  c) listing main contributions (e.g. regarding theological issues or Christian practices) of this figure.


EXAMPLES OF CHARACTERIZATION:  Augustine (354-430).  Rhetorician, bishop, and theologian,  well trained in many currents of classical life and thought.  Through his voluminous writings, he transformed the classical heritage in a way that was influential in the West on medieval, Reformation, and modern thought.   Born and educated in North Africa; conversion in Milan (386); presbyter (391); bishop in Hippo, North Africa (396 until his death).   Origen (c.185-c.254), biblical scholar, theologian, spiritual writer.  Born in Alexandria, teacher in Alexandria (205-33) and Caesarea (234-50). Journeys to Rome (215), where he heard Hippolytus*; Arabia (c.228) at the invitation of the governor; Jerusalem and Caesarea (c.230); Antioch (c. 231) at the invitation of Julia Mammaea, mother of the emperor; Greece (232, 245); and Arabia (c. 242), where he prosecuted the bishops Beryllus and Heraclides before church councils.  During the Decian* persecution (249-51) Origen was imprisoned and tortured; by living a few more years, Origen was denied the status of a martyr.*


[[ Historical Context]] of this figure.  Describe pertinent aspects of this historical context (religious dimension, cultural, social, economic, political) that this authoritative person addresses – affirms or confronts in words or deeds.  Most significant  women and men with whom this figure interacted.


[[Foundational Tradition(s) or Theological Issue(s)]] emphasized by this figure either in acts or words as most significant in this context.  Why is this tradition particularly significant in this context according to this figure?


How are her/his acts or words [[interpreting this tradition/issue for this context]]?  What is viewed as most significant in this tradition?  What is left out? In terms of what other text or traditions is it interpreted?


What is the [[Main Christian Teaching or Model Offered]] by this figure to Christians?  What particular theological view or Christian practice does this person exemplifies?


[[In What Is This Person ¡°Authoritative¡±]] for Christians in other contexts and times?  How does her or his authority compare with other authority?


APPENDIX:   [[Bibliographical summary]] (to be printed in a different, smaller font):  abbreviated bibliography listing only the works discussed (not necessarily complete titles; short titles—just enough to find in an on-line library catalog—made understandable for English speaking readers – so most often titles in translation) and the dates of these works.


[[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:  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/  ).