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By Timothy Larsen / IVP / 2003
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The Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals from InterVarsity Press contains biographies of more than four hundred prominent evangelicals and evangelical forebearers. Each of these figures has significantly influenced the evangelical community: to learn about them is to better understand the history and present nature of that community.
The volume ranges chronologically from the morning star of the Reformation, John Wycliffe, to important shapers of twentieth-century evangelicalism such as John Stott. The great Reformers, Puritans and Pietists appear alongside the leaders of the eighteenth-century evangelical revival and many of their diverse successors. Ministers and theologians, evangelists and preachers, writers and missionaries, and some from other professions comprise a gallery of notables from the English-speaking evangelical world. Comprehensive and accessible articles combine rigorous historical scholarship with profound human interest.
The Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals is authored by an international team of contributors, including some of the greatest contemporary scholars of evangelicalism. It serves as an invaluable reference tool for students, scholars, ministers and anyone interested in the history of this fascinating movement.
Be sure to read the Author Interview at the InterVarsity Press website. Larsen shares details about what distinguishes BDE from other dictionaries (longer, more detailed entries that go beyond bald facts to offer assessments); insights on why biography is useful to students and others ("I think it is the way into everything. You could track most any theme this way."); quirky facts about famous Christians ("Adam Clarke...taught that Eve was not tempted by a serpent but rather by an orangutan"); and the top five evangelicals from the past that he would invite to a dinner party (you'll have to read it to find out).
The lives of some 400 notable evangelicals, selected from many countries and centuries, including heroes of the faith, pastors, theologians, missionaries and church leaders, are here summarized with scholarship, warmth and the insight that comes from understanding. The dictionary is the work of an outstanding team of contributors, including many acknowledged experts in their own field. It will prove a much-valued companion for all who seek a wider knowledge of our evangelical inheritance.
—Timothy Dudley-Smith, biographer of John Stott
[4 1/2 Stars Out of 5] " The Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals is an unusual, invaluable collection of 400 brief biographies. Pastors, teachers, and lay people will profit immensely by consulting it often."
This volume will be a highly valuable work of reference. Written by academic specialists, the articles are both authoritative and very readable, lucid and well balanced, generally sympathetic but without being partisan.
—Hugh McLeod, University of Birmingham, England
An impressive work of collective scholarship and admirably wide-ranging, this Biographical Dictionary will be welcomed by all who have an interest in the history of evangelicals, or in religious history more generally. Individual entries are authoritative and valuable in themselves; collectively they serve as a powerful reminder of the complexity, pluralism and international reach of English-speaking evangelicalism as it has evolved over the last five hundred years and more.
—Richard Carwardine, Oxford University
...Each succinctly written article gives sufficient detail, making this much more than a simple who's who. Such evangelists as Oliver Cromwell, Frances Crosby, Billy Graham, Dwight Moody, and William Tyndale are subjects of well-developed essays that are both factual and critical. Most are several pages in length. Entries are signed and conclude with bibliographies encouraging the reader to pursue additional biographical or autobiographical sources.
Any Who’s Who or Who Was Who of evangelical history is bound to be a useful resource, since few such volumes are readily available. This one is especially helpful, comprising nearly 800 pages of information about more than 400 significant evangelical lives — all for a reasonable price!
You will...enjoy reading through this informative volume
Timothy Larsen s associate professor of theology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the author of Friends of Religious Equality: Nonconformist Politics in Mid-Victorian England.