One-on-One with Daniel Treier on the Updated Evangelical Dictionary of Theology

First published in the 1950s, the last major revision was in the 1980s.


Ed: Why produce another edition of this classic dictionary now?

Daniel Treier: The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology began its life as the Baker Dictionary of Theology in the 1950s. Walter Elwell produced a massively revised and expanded version in 1984, and then a smaller-scale revision in 2001. Every other decade counts as a half generation or so, and that makes it time for another update.

Our goal was to maintain the central evangelical perspective, the readability, and the comprehensiveness of the prior editions while diversifying the contributor list, addressing contemporary topics, and making sure that articles were up to date in light of recent scholarship.

In important respects, evangelical theology should not really change; yet dictionaries that seek to reflect evangelical scholarship need updating in order to articulate that theology for the current situation. For instance, the prior editions had no articles on either technology or Islam.

Ed: What are the distinctive features of this new edition?

Treier: Most importantly, almost half of the new authors contribute female, ethnic minority, and/or Majority World perspectives, so we have more fully reflected the diversity of Christ’s global body in this edition.

Second, we have replaced major articles, especially on the church fathers and on key doctrines, to keep them current, and we have introduced contemporary topics as noted above.

Third, we have focused a bit more on theology but somewhat reducing the size. The coverage of biblical theology and the history of Christianity remains substantial, but a little more focused.

Fourth, we have updated the bibliographies. I confess that I was initially unsure about whether to include them, or how to do so in a way that would ...

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