Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity

Midwest Publishing Association Award of Excellence (Scholarly/Reference)

Readers' Choice Awards Honorable Mention

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity covers eight centuries of the Christian church and comprises 3,220 entries by a team of 266 scholars from 26 countries representing a variety of Christian traditions. It draws upon such fields as archaeology, art and architecture, biography, cultural studies, ecclesiology, geography, history, philosophy, and theology.

This three-volume encyclopedia offers unparalleled, comprehensive coverage of the people, places, and ideas of ancient Christianity. The encyclopedia's A-to-Z coverage extends from "Aaron (iconography)" to "Zosimus, pope" and chronologically from Christianity's origins to Bede (d. 735) in the West and John of Damascus (d. ca. 749) in the Greek East, with detailed emphasis on the first four centuries of Christian history.

This edition updates and expands on previous Italian and English-language editions with the addition of more than 500 new articles (added to the current Italian or English edition), including 30 articles exclusive to IVP's edition. Extensive cross-referencing provides ease in exploring related articles, and helpful bibliographies, including primary sources (texts, critical editions, translations) and key secondary sources (books and journal articles), give access to the very latest in-depth scholarship in countless disciplines of study.

IVP's new Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity (2014) is translated from Nuovo dizionario patristico e di antichita cristiane (2006-2008), produced by the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum, the world's foremost center for partristic studies, under the direction of Professor Angelo Di Berardino, and it greatly updates and expands the 1992 Encyclopedia of the Early Church (Oxford University Press/James Clarke).

Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity
boxed items
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-2943-9
  • Item Code: 2943

"The revised and expanded Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity is certain to become the standard work of reference for patristics and the study of Late Antiquity. The range of subjects covered by the articles is astounding, including virtually everyone about whom anything at all is known, as well as geography, literary and legal culture, art and symbolism, architecture and liturgy. These articles, together with their extensive and up-to-date bibliographies, make the Encyclopedia the portal of choice to the world of Late Antiquity."

Andrew Louth, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University

"When Tom Oden is asked about these volumes his excitement nearly overwhelms the conversation, which is understandable. This will become one of the more important works for English readers for decades."

Jerry Pattengale, Executive Director, Green Scholars Initiative

"Words fail me for celebrating the fullness and excellence of this unique pioneer compendium, which brings together just about everything that is known about the first eight Christian centuries. A must-have for libraries, it will prove an invaluable resource for scholars and students alike. All praise to IVP for making it available to us English readers who could not handle the original Italian."

J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"This wonderful new and greatly expanded Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity is the very best reference work on the foundational period of Christian thought and life available in English. We all owe Angelo Di Berardino a great debt for once again assembling a masterful team of scholars and producing a reference work that will last for a generation."

Lewis Ayres, Professor of Catholic and Historical Theology, Durham University

"The greatly expanded Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity provides a comprehensive, up-to-date presentation of the life and thought of the early church. Its impressive scholarship opens the first centuries of Christian life to fruitful examination and appreciation. It is a welcome and indispensable resource for all who wish to grow in knowledge of the foundational period of Christianity."

Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

"Anyone who has ever used Di Berardino's well-known Encyclopedia will be extremely grateful for this considerably expanded and updated English translation of the second edition of the Italian original. An admirably wide and authoritative coverage of authors and places, archaeology, iconography and liturgy are also well represented, making this Encyclopedia a truly superb resource."

Sebastian Brock, Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford

"It is a huge blessing to have available in English what is probably the best current reference work on early Christianity. The range of coverage is exceptionally good and the bulk of the entries represent the most solid contemporary scholarship. It is an invaluable instrument of study."

Rowan Williams, Master, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, former Archbishop of Canterbury

"This is really a work of Mediterranean origin, grown organically from the previous fine stock in ever-rich soil and now adapted for export under expert guidance. The authors are to be congratulated for a work of catholic character. There is an impressive balance between places, people, events, movements and doctrines. Some of the newly commissioned articles (on subjects like 'Death' and with a feeling for 'fringe' movements and places) make it as comprehensive as one could get. A boon for those operating at all levels of scholarship."

Mark W. Elliott, Reader in Church History, School of Divinity, University of St Andrews

"The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity is a major milestone in patristic research and an indispensable tool for all serious scholars of Christian Antiquity in the twenty-first century. IVP has put us all in its debt by bringing out the English version of Di Berardino's magisterial Nuovo dizionario patristico e di antichità cristiane (2006-2008). The 1992 English version of the first edition (1983) soon proved itself to be one of the most important reference works for scholars of early Christianity. The updating of the Italian original expanded the coverage of the dictionary by more than 35 percent and greatly widened its philosophical and methodological premises. Now with more than three thousand articles covering the period from the Apostolic Fathers to the eighth century, and with an expanded sense of the multinationalism of the early church, this breathtaking new edition has no rival. It will be a required volume in all significant libraries, and ought to have a prominent place of honor in all presbyteries and seminaries, as well as on the bookshelves of all those seriously interested in what the early church achieved, both intellectually and institutionally."

V. Revd. Prof. John A. McGuckin, Ane Marie and Bent Emil Nielsen Professor in Late Antique and Byzantine Church History, Union Theological Seminary, New York

"For two decades, the Encyclopedia of the Early Church has been a most valuable vademecum for scholars, students, teachers and preachers. The good news is that now it's even better, with five hundred new articles and fresh research, in this splendid new Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity. A sure guide to spiritual, moral and theological challenges of today is the wisdom of the past, and here we have it in a most attractive and helpful volume."

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

"That the most comprehensive and informative dictionary of patristics and Christian antiquity will now be available to the English-speaking public is truly epic and a major contribution to students and professionals. No other dictionary remotely competes with the Nuovo dizionario patristico e di antichità cristiane for the quality of its scholarship and the breadth of its entries. The English translation of this magnificent dictionary will be a necessity for every theological school or seminary. Thank you, InterVarsity Press, for this wonderful effort!"

William C. Weinrich, Professor of Early Church Studies, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

"Those who open the Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity will discover that they have happened upon a treasure trove. Rich with the introductory material most useful to the beginning student of Christianity's first eight hundred years, the articles also include insights that advise the specialist and divulge the expertise of their authors. For those seeking an orientation to the complexity of thought, practice, events and social issues of early Christianity, this Encyclopedia is now the most thorough and current source."

D. Jeffrey Bingham, Associate Dean of Biblical and Theological Studies, Wheaton College

"A venerable reference work just got even better. This second English-language edition of the Augustinianum's indispensable Dizionario patristico offers considerably expanded coverage and updated bibliographies. No less important, its newly written articles capture the exciting changes that have revolutionized the study of ancient Christianity in the two decades since the first edition appeared. It is destined for a place on the shelves of every student and scholar interested in the texts, society and history of this transformational period."

Dennis Trout, University of Missouri

"The new edition of the Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity builds on the excellent first edition and contains more than five hundred new articles and greater depth than its predecessor. Up-to-date bibliographies complement articles on persons, theological concepts, literature and law, from Ireland to China, including many entries not found in other reference works. The interdisciplinary approach and the additional coverage of the early Middle Ages makes this a must-have reference work for libraries and individual scholars."

Maureen A. Tilley, Fordham University, New York

"This new publication of the classic Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity, with significant revisions, updating and new material, is a major event in the scholarly study of the early church in the English-speaking world. The time is long past when patristics/matristics could be ignored by anyone seriously interested in the Bible, ecumenism or any branch of the theological disciplines. This book is an essential tool for all who pursue such work."

Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"The three-volume Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity is an extraordinary achievement, with more than one-third more articles than the earlier Encyclopedia of the Early Church and thirty more articles than the Italian original. The distinctive strengths of the new Encyclopedia are numerous articles on persons, individual entries on apocryphal works and pieces on many topics from Christian archaeology. With more than thirty-two hundred articles, the Encyclopedia is a unique work of reference, essential for all scholars concerned with ancient Christianity. This splendid book will soon establish itself as the standard resource for essential information and up-to-date bibliographies in its area."

Fr. Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., Professor of Theology, Fordham University

"This is a translation and updating of a classic and exhaustive work of reference produced by the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome. Now expanded by more than a third, it has no equivalent in English and in its revised form will remain a trusted starting place as the field of early Christianity continues to expand."

Iain R. Torrance, Pro-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, former President of Princeton Theological Seminary

"If students of early Christianity were to have a new 'bible' it would undoubtedly be the EAC. For decades, the EAC's predecessors were invariably my first point of reference for authoritative articles on all aspects of early Christian personalities, writings, beliefs and practices. The newly revised and expanded Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity, providing a most welcome English version of the latest Italian edition plus thirty completely new entries, is already my constant new scholarly companion."

William Tabbernee, Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity (emeritus), Phillips Theological Seminary, and past president, North American Patristics Society

"Scholars and students will be delighted to know that this superb reference work has been thoroughly and successfully updated, while some earlier articles by key scholars have been retained but with updated bibliographies. The EAC offers comprehensive coverage of people, places and topics with brief minor articles and detailed major ones (e.g., Athanasius, baptism). This is a must-have for the institutional library as well as the researcher's personal collection."

Joseph F. Kelly, Professor of Church History, John Carroll University, and past president of the North American Patristics Society

"The most thorough and extensive collection of information on the early church available. . . . Recommended for theological, academic, and large public libraries."

Christopher McConnell, Booklist, July 2014

"This three-volume set edited by Di Berardino and a team of consulting editors offers a comprehensive alphabetical listing of people, places and concepts important to the Christian Church's first eight centuries. . . . The list of contributors, most of them from one of several prestigious European universities, assures the reader that the content is authoritative and thoughtfully considered. . . . Recommended for scholars, this encyclopedia set, with its academic and precise content, is aimed at those whose interest in ancient Christianity is beyond general."

Annette Haldeman, Library Journal, April 15, 2014

"Given this resource's breadth of coverage and caliber of scholarship, its value cannot be overstated—even more so because scholarly interest in this period is currently expanding. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers."

D. R. Stewart, CHOICE, September 2014

"The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity is highly recommended as a front line source for information on all aspects of the early church. . . . It is a must for any seminary, training school, or other educational institution. Those specializing in church history will want to have this reference set within arm's reach at their desk."

Dennis M. Swanson, The Master's Seminary Journal, Fall 2014

"As someone who teaches the history of Christianity, including courses on early Christianity, this is a major reference work that every theological or research library should own."

Michael W. Campbell, Journal of Asia Adventist Seminary, 16.1 (2013)

"This encyclopedia is an unparalleled collection for anyone working in this period and is highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries."

American Reference Books Annual, 2015

"The Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity, edited by Angelo Di Berardino, Tom Oden, Joel Elowsky, and James Hoover (IVP, 2014) is an awesome work that libraries should have. Its 3,000 plus articles about the first seven centuries of Christianity show the breadth of the faith as it grew in Asia, Europe, and North Africa, and its depth: We can learn about depictions of Aaron and Abaddon, study how early Christians dealt with abandoned children and abortion, find out basic information about Abibus Dolichenus and other little-remembered early bishops—and I've only gone through AB in the first of three volumes that total close to 3,000 pages. I hope the Encyclopedia is available in heaven."

Marvin Olasky, World Magazine, October 17, 2015

"These three volumes, together one of the most comprehensive reference tools on early Christianity, are bound to become a standard work for historians, theologians, and other academics interested in this field of research."

Peter van Egmond, Augustiniana, 66/3-4 (2016)