From the most recent round of HPR book reviews, here is a review by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., of an essential work for any serious teacher or student of theology:
ENCHIRIDION SYMBOLORUM. A COMPENDIUM OF CREEDS, DEFINITIONS, AND DECLARATIONS ON MATTERS OF FAITH AND MORALS. By Heinrich Denzinger; edited by Peter Huenermann for the German edition; edited by Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund Nash for the English edition, Forty-Third Edition. (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2012), xxxviii + 1399 pp. HB $69.95.
There are zingers, and then there are Denzingers, to borrow a phrase from Ralph McInerny. Denzinger has been a basic tool for all students of Catholic theology since it first appeared in 1854. This is now the forty-third edition of the handbook of creeds and definitions that cover the basic teachings of the Catholic Church. It replaces the English translation of Roy J. Deferrari, and also the version of J. Neuner, S.J. and J. Dupuis, S.J., which does not present the whole text of the original version.
This is a work of monumental scholarship. For serious scholarly work, it is essential to compare the English translation with the Greek and Latin originals. This is easy to do with this new edition because the text is presented in double columns, with the original Greek and Latin on the left, and the English translation on the right. It should also be pointed out that this is a new, more exact translation, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Fastiggi, who worked on this project for about ten years.
The numbering of the documents follows the numbers of Denzinger-Schoemetzer in the thirty-fourth, and following, editions. In addition, the numbers now go into the five thousands: since the documents of Vatican II are included, and also quotes from the major encyclicals of the popes, from John XXIII to Benedict XVI. There is an extensive index of subjects and persons, and also an appendix that gives a concordance of marginal numbers with the editions before 1963.
The book is easy to use, with the marginal numbers in bold print, and a running summary of the numbers, one on each page, printed at the top of each page. This important edition now replaces all previous editions of Denzinger.
The price of $69.95 is not unreasonable, given the large size of the book, the excellent binding, and the ten years of effort that went into the production of this essential tool for all Catholic theologians.
I urge all Catholic libraries to order a copy of this basic book. It
certainly should be in the library of every Catholic seminary, and
preferably on the desk of every seminarian who is studying for the
-Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., HPR Editor Emeritus
The systematic index mentioned by Fr. Baker is very impressive just on its own; it is nearly 200 pages long and it provides paragraph numbers for passages of "greater doctrinal importance", "references to a condemned teaching", as well as passages that indirectly touch on the topic at hand. As one would expect, there are indexes of Scripture references, documents, and persons and subjects. Expensive, yes. Essential, yes!