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A NEW DICTIONARY OF RELIGION AND ETHICS
A new reference book for students of religion has recently appeared. 1
It was prepared for the average pastor and thoughtful layman and not
for the specialist in any field. A large number of the articles are brief
definitions or explanations of significant terms in theology, church
history, and comparative religions. It is at the same time, however,
an encyclopedia, covering a wide and interesting field in a series of valu-
able articles. Here, for example, is the field of comparative religions,
of primitive religions and the various faiths and cults, past and present.
Articles like that on "Bahaism" by Sprengling, "Mystery Religions"
by Case, "Faith Healing" by Kantor, and "Millenarianism" by Cross,
suggest the attention to recent problems that are of wider interest.
Only a thorough mastery of the materials enables a writer to bring so
much into so brief compass and to set forth what is given in such clear
and readable fashion as here.
In the philosophy and psychology of religion typical articles are
those by Lyman on "Philosophy of Religion," by Pratt on "Psychology
of Religion," "by Mathews on "Religion," and Watson on "Religious
Experience." Here as elsewhere the promise of articles written
"objectively, without speculation or propaganda," is carried out.
Articles on Democracy, Liberty, Social Gospel, Social Service of the
Church, Labor Movement, Family, Divorce, and Amusements suggest
the interest in ethics and especially social ethics. Specific treatment
from the Christian standpoint of such pressing ethical problems as those
of property, the nature and authority of the state, and the principles
governing international relations might be added here to advantage.
With the growing attention to matters of doctrine, no part of this
dictionary will be of more interest than the articles dealing with these
subjects. Those by Gerald Birney Smith, the chief contributor in this
department, deserve special mention. In orderly arrangement and
clear statement they are admirably adapted to the general reader.
Their compact form makes possible the inclusion of all important
materials. Their tone is objective and the statement of the various
1 A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics. Edited by Shailer Mathews and Gerald
Birney Smith. New York: Macmillan Co., 1921. vii+513 pages. $8.00.
BOOK REVIEWS 211
positions is eminently fair. The articles on God, Christology, Super-
natural, Miracles, and Salvation are instances in point. The contribu-
tions of Mathews, Beckwith, Cross, and others are of the same kind
(note especially Mathews' comprehensive article on Christianity). The
dictionary offers valuable help to the man who wishes to know what
sound modern scholarship is saying and to have at the same time a
fair statement of the traditional views.
Would not the average reader appreciate a fuller statement of these
matters and readily spare a large number of the smaller articles to which
a few lines of formal definition or description are devoted ? Take, for
example, Asura, Asvins, Atar, Atargatis, Atavism, Atharvaveda, Atman,
Autocephali, Avarice, Avignon, Athos, Atrophy, Austerities. Some of
these are of interest only to the specialist, and the meaning of others
could be taken from easily available books of reference.
A hasty survey reveals a few of those errors which elude even the care-
ful. The Methodist Episcopal, not the Episcopal church, established
its missions in Japan in 1873. "Apocrypha" appears as "Apochrypha"
not once but throughout the article on that subject.
A final question concerns the article on Christian Science which has
been furnished by the Christian Science Board of Directors. Presum-
ably the editors followed here the principle suggested in their prospectus,
to have articles written "as far as possible by those most in sympathy
with their subject." In so doing, however, have they not violated their
other and primary principle, to have articles that are "written histori-
cally, objectively, without speculation or propaganda" ? Do the princi-
ples of Christian Science permit a scientific and historical discussion by
its adherents? The special student will be interested in reading this
article, but will it give the average reader the reliable account which
he has the right to expect in such a work, and the answer to important
questions? For example, what is the position of Christian Science as
to the personality of God? Does unreal mean what is not or what
ought not to be ? What about the origin of the movement, and Mrs.
Eddy's relation to Quimby and other influences? We are not helped
here by the repetition of orthodox historical misstatements or of Mrs.
Eddy's ambiguous phrases. It is to be regretted that the editors in
regard to this article followed the precedent of the Encyclopedia of
Religion and Ethics. It should be added that the bibliography in the
Appendix gives some corrective by reference to other works, as Hastings
This bibliography deserves a special word of appreciation. Here are
given, under the heads of the principal subjects discussed, brief lists of
212 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION
the most important references. No question is more often raised than
that of the best books on a given subject. These lists have been care-
fully prepared. They are not so long as to confuse, and they should
be of great aid to the student.
In the fields of theology, ethics, comparative religions, psychology
and philosophy of religion, missions and church history, this dictionary
gives authoritative information in compact and yet readable form. It
will be of interest to the special student, and of large value to the pastor
and the increasing number of laymen who are inquiring as to these
Harris Franklin Rall
Garrett Biblical Institute
A NOTABLE ROMAN CATHOLIC VERSION OF THE
NEW TESTAMENT 1
Everyone must heartily welcome a new English version of the Bible
under Roman Catholic auspices. Surely no one can use the antiquated
and defective Douay version, even in such revisions as Challoner's or
Kenrick's, with satisfaction. The Protestant world may join with all
Catholics in the gratification which this admirable work must bring.
We may expect to see the other three New Testament volumes shortly,
and the Old Testament will follow as soon as may be. The names of
the general editors are a guaranty of adequate scholarship, and it is
good to be assured that the enterprise has " the approval of the English
hierarchy and the co-operation of many distinguished Scripture Scholars
in England, Ireland and America." Without this, indeed, the work could
not have seen the light, but the plain statement of it is pleasant.
The present volume sets a high standard for its successors. The
contributors include, besides the general editors, Fr. Rickaby, Fr.
Keogh, and Archbishop Goodier, all English Jesuits. The work is first
and foremost a translation. There are brief introductions to the several
epistles, and four brief appendixes on special points, in addition to foot-
notes on each page. But these serve primarily to clarify or justify the
translation. They reveal competent scholarship of the modern type,
scholarship positive, constructive, reverent. It is, of course, scholar-
ship within bounds. Thus we read that the primitive church in
Thessalonica "was one in faith and government, bound to the other
1 The Westminster Version of the Sacred Scriptures. General Editors: The Rev.
Cuthbert Lattey, S.J., and the Rev. Joseph Keating, S.J. The New Testament,
Vol. Ill: St. Paxil's Epistles to the Churches. London and New York: Longmans,
Green & Co., 1921. briii+ 258 pages. $2.50.