Monument To Catholic Scholarship

Sacramentum Verbi: An Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology, three volumes, edited by Johannes B. Bauer (Herder and Herder, 1970, 1.140 pp., $49.50), is reviewed by George Eldon Ladd, professor of New Testament exegesis and theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.

The six-volume Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology has already been reviewed in these pages (February 27, 1970, and January 29, 1971). Only in format is Sacramentum Verbi a companion piece for biblical theology. The major topics in Verbi are also treated in Mundi. The difference is that Mundi is post-Vatican II and simultaneously published in six languages, while Verbi was first published in German in 1959. Two German editions quickly sold out; a third revised edition was produced and translated “so that the English-speaking world first meets the encyclopedia in a thoroughly up-to-date and more comprehensive form.” It is an encyclopedia of articles on some 209 subjects written by fifty-three authors who represent the best of European Catholic biblical scholarship. Among them are such internationally known scholars as Jean Danielou, Franz Mussner, Josef Schmid, Rudolf Schnackenburg, and Anton Vogtle.

Judged by technical standards, the work is of high quality—splendidly translated, beautifully bound, and typographically almost flawless.

From the point of view of English-speaking scholarship, however, whether mediating or evangelical, the work is somewhat defective.

One of its strong points is its bibliographies, particularly of German literature. For example, the bibliographical references to “church” fill 4½ columns; to “Jesus Christ,” 2½ columns. Most of these works are in German. A bibliographical supplement ...

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