Cover image for Historical dictionary of ecumenical Christianity
Historical dictionary of ecumenical Christianity
Bent, Ans J. van der, 1924-1995.
Publication Information:
Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow Press, 1994.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 599 pages ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX6.3 .V36 1994 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This historical dictionary covers the major trends in the 20th century ecumenical movement until today. It deals with developments in the realms of church unity, mission and evangelism, laity, women in church and society, and many other ecumenical subjects. It also covers many programs and activities of the World Council of Churches since its inception in 1948. The longer articles survey important theological themes while short articles provide quick reference on a precise question. The bibliography is not exhaustive-some 50,000 titles have been published since the beginning of this century-but very helpful for major bibliographical information. The dictionary is particularly strong in American subjects and includes a great number of ecuminical personalities which cannot be found in other reference works. This publication is not only an indispensible tool of research for university and seminary libraries but also for individual persons belonging to whatever Christian church who are interested in knowing more about reflections, relations, and activities in the several regions of the ecumenical world. A helpful description of the most important ecumenical assemblies and conferences is provided. To take stock of the past, to interpret the present, and to look forward into the third millenium of Christian existence are exciting and challenging enterprises.

Author Notes

Ans Joachim van der Bent has been the director of the Library and Archives of the World Council of Churches in Geneva from 1963 to 1985, and its Ecumenical World Research Officer from 1985 to 1989. He has published some 20 reference works and ecumenical monographs, and some 100 articles in ecumenical journals. He has a living knowledge and comprehensive memory of the 20th century ecumenical movement.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Van der Bent served for more than 25 years as Director of the Library and Archives of the World Council of Churches (WCC), an involvement that positioned him to write a historical dictionary of ecumenism. The entries, of which there are several hundred, are arranged alphabetically and cover personalities, movements, organizations, and topics. Some cross-references are included, as well as appendixes for WCC ecumenical statements, membership censuses, and a listing of meetings. A 66-page, unannotated bibliography is grouped topically. Although Van der Bent's dictionary is well done, Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, ed. by Nicholas Lossky (CH, Dec'91), with its more complete coverage, broad-based authorship, and cheaper price is preferable. Recommended only for the most comprehensive theological libraries, since coverage is so similar to the other dictionary. E. Peterson; Montana State University