Buck Theological Dictionary

September 10, 2017

Charles Buck’s Theological Dictionary:

  • “Containing Definitions Of All Religious Terms:
  • A Comprehensive View Of Every Article In The System Of Divinity;
  • An Impartial Account of all the Principal Denominations.
  • Together with an Accurate Statement of the Most Remarkable Transactions and Events Recorded in Ecclesiastical History”

by Rev. Charles Buck, with a forward by Rev. George Bush. Originally published 1802 in two volumes.

There are over 1500 entries in this dictionary.

(From a seller’s review of the 1831 ed.): 

“Despite a stated reliance on the plain meaning of the Bible and the dictates of common sense, Buck’s Theological Dictionary, first published in London in 1802, sought to provide a textual basis for the evangelical community. By combining brief essays on orthodox belief and practice with historical entries on various denominations, Buck provided an interpretive lens that allowed antebellum Protestants to see Christianity’s almost two millennia as their own history.

American evangelicals rapidly seized on Buck’s dictionary, ceding to it an almost canonical status as the textual interpreter of what it meant to be evangelical.

Buck’s Theological Dictionary still contains some interesting material, especially when it comes to Religious Sects. Some of the more obscure ones that you will find in this book include:

  • Beareans,
  • Brownists,
  • Cereinthians,
  • Circoncelliones,
  • Dunkers,
  • Hopkinsians,
  • Illuminati,
  • Joachimites,
  • Libertines,
  • Manicheans,
  • Marcionites,
  • Materialists,
  • Monophysites,
  • Moravians,
  • Muggletonians (no, I did not make that one up, and it has nothing to do with Harry Potter),
  • Novations,
  • Origenists,
  • Pelagians,
  • Petrobrussians,
  • Philadelphian Society,
  • Photinians,
  • Picards,
  • Pricillianists,
  • Rellyanists,
  • Sandemanians,
  • Serpentinians,
  • Socinians,
  • Supralapsarians,
  • Swedenborgians,
  • Theophilanthropists,
  • Valentinians,
  • Waldenses,
  • Waterladians and others.

There is also some good content on Quakers, Shakers, Universalists and others as well. As for the various Protestant denominations, Judiasm, Catholicism, Islam (Mahometanism), etc. there is plenty on that as well.”

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