Cover image for Encyclopedia of religion
Encyclopedia of religion
Jones, Lindsay, 1954-
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Detroit : Macmillan Reference USA, [2005]

Physical Description:
15 volumes : illustrations ; 29 cm
Added Author:















Format :


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Central Library BL31 .E46 2005 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
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Among Library Journal's selections of the most important reference works of the millennium - with the Encyclopedia Judaica and the New Catholic Encyclopedia - Mircea Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religion won the American Library Associations' Dartmouth Medal in 1988 and is widely regarded as the standard reference work in the field. This second edition, which is intended to reflect both changes in academia and in the world since 1987, will include almost all of the 2750 original entries - many heavily updated - as well as approximately 600 (1.2M words) entirely new articles. Preserving the best of Eliade's cross-cultural approach while emphasizing religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture, this new edition will be the definitive work in the field for the 21st century. An international team of scholars and contributors have reviewed, revised and added to every word of a classic work to make it relevant to the questions and interests of readers, whether students, specialists, or laypersons. The result is an essential purchase for libraries of all kinds. Every article from the first edition was evaluated by our board of scholars. of study are given their own entries. New composite entries present overarching themes - for example, gender and religion, politics and religion - with each article within the composite covering a different religious tradition. Many of the reprinted articles from the first-edition have updated bibliographies. This is an indispensable resource for any school with a department or programme in religious studies. Additionally, articles support the curriculum and general research in history, gender studies, language and literature, music, the visual arts, history, politics, ecology, health and medicine, law, sociology and anthropology. Three Colour inserts serve as pictorial essays illuminating themes such as pilgrimage, prayer, healing, and how these concepts are displayed in various religions throughout the world. Illustrations go beyond the typical stock imagery and present images of authentic value not readily available elsewhere.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

\rtf1\ansi\deff0The Encyclopedia of Religion,0 first published in 1987, sought "to introduce educated, nonspecialist readers to important ideas, practices, and persons in the religious experience of humankind from the Paleolithic past to our day." It had been some 65 years since the last volume of a similar effort, the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics0 (New York: Scribner, 1911-22), was published, prompting two reviewers to prophesy that it was "extremely unlikely another encyclopedia of religion on this scale would appear in English for at least another generation." Just about a generation has passed, and the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion0 has appeared, right on schedule. The second edition contains "well over five hundred new topics, nearly one thousand completely new articles, and 1.5 million more words than the original." In his preface, the editor provides an excellent service to readers by clearly distinguishing the differences in content between the two editions. All 2,750 entries from the first edition were examined for revision, 1,800 of them remaining essentially unchanged. While entries in both editions are signed, the name of the scholar is followed by the date 1987 in the new edition, thereby indicating the article is reprinted with few or no changes. When entries were updated for the second edition, either by the original author or by another scholar, a single name will be followed by two dates (1987 and 2005) or two names will be listed, each followed by one of the two years. The editors considered some articles from the first edition worthy of inclusion in the second but no longer state-of-the-art (e.g., Mysticism, Rites of passage, Sexuality0 ). Here, the entry is reprinted with the title qualified by "First Edition" and is then followed by a completely new article with the same title but the qualifier "Further Considerations." Most, if not all, entries conclude with supplemental bibliographies, often updated even if the entry itself was not. When they have been updated, the new citations follow the original bibliography under the heading "New Sources." Much is completely new to the second edition, most notably in the expansion of composite entries. Employed in the first edition, these composite entries consist of related sets of articles. Beginning with a general overview, articles that explore, for example, tradition-specific aspects of the Afterlife 0 or geographical differences in Buddhism 0 follow. Significant new composite entries have been added for Ecology and religion0 and Gender and religion, 0 along with a significantly expanded composite entry for Law and religion0 . New religious movements0 is another area with enhanced coverage, including an expanded composite entry and new individual entries such as Branch Davidians; Hubbard, L. Ron; UFO religions; 0 and Wicca0 . The important relationship between religion and science is explored in new entries for Bioethics and Genetics and religion, 0 as well as a thoroughly revised entry for Science and religion.0 Each volume now contains a "visual essay"-basically plates of color illustrations with accompanying text on such topics as "Sacred Time" or "Efficacious Images"-that seeks "to demonstrate how pervasively visual culture permeates religion." Sadly, more than 50 new biographical entries have been added for scholars of religion who have passed away since the first edition was published. Included is the great Islamicist Annemarie Schimmel, one of the editors of the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion 0 and this reviewer's teacher. Requiescat in pace. 0 Distinguishing content between the two editions is less clear when entries have been omitted or incorporated into another. A cursory review of one volume of the first edition produced a couple of examples. According to the excellent index, Muro Kyuso, a Japanese scholar of neo-Confucianism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, is nowhere to be found in the second edition. The entry for Nawrz, the Persian New Year, is now given brief mention in the article on Islamic religious year.0 Arguably, both are minor subjects in the greater scheme of the encyclopedia as a whole, but their omission does suggest that consideration be given to keeping both editions handy. Volume 15 contains, in addition to the index, a "Synoptic Outline of Contents" which sorts entry headings under topics related to either individual religions and religious traditions or religious studies. Also in this volume is an appendix with 21 entries that could not be included in the main A-Z portion of the encyclopedia "due to time constraints." Academic specialists may uncover some factual errors in this second edition and may well quibble with the presentation of material by their colleagues. But as reviewers of the first edition remarked-an assessment equally true today-the Encyclopedia of Religion0 "will indeed provide a generation of users with valuable summaries and analyses of the best of current scholarship in the field of religion." If the encyclopedia has any major flaw, it is the choice of color for the binding. While the gold lettering against the white binding is handsome indeed, the volumes will soon be soiled should the set receive anything close to the use it so richly deserves. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries --Christopher McConnell Copyright 2005 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Jones (comparative studies, Ohio State Univ.; Hermeneutics of Sacred Architecture) and her team of 13 associate editors and two dozen consultants have seriously reworked this second edition. Though there are now 15 rather than 16 volumes, the total number of pages has increased by 20 percent, and, according to the preface, the collection now has 1.5 million more words. Roughly two thirds of the 2750 entries from the first edition were retained, some with minor revisions, supplemental articles by other scholars, or added bibliographies. Approximately 300 original articles were jettisoned, though many of the topics and titles remain the same. The 600-odd new entries include more detailed information about medicine and healing; women, sexuality, and gender; ecology; and the study of religion in non-Western cultures. Of particular interest are a totally new composite topic about literary fiction and religion in ten different cultures as well as a new topic called "Transculturation and Religion," with five studies of religion and a look at the formation of modern Canada, Japan, India, Oceania, and the Caribbean. The 14 new "visual essays," grouped around themes of time, space, the structuring of social relations, the shaping of the mind and body, and the imaging of sacred text, are evocative and creative but hard to find because they are missing from the index and list of articles and contributors; however, there is a two-page "rationale" explaining and listing them in Volume 1. Bottom Line This update of the 18-year-old original, which looks to the future with more contemporary and less opinionated articles and gives both scholars and general readers an important reference tool, is an essential resource for all libraries, regardless of whether they have the first edition. [An electronic version of the set is available through Gale Virtual Reference Library.-Ed.]-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

[Note: This is an abridged version of a feature review (CH, Mar'06). It lacks the reviewer's detailed analysis of this encyclopedia. The full text is available in print or on CRO]. A revised reference work of this magnitude is sure to invite a number of proportionately hefty questions, such as (1) how it ranks against its predecessor; (2) what has been added or deleted, and how well the changes reflect shifts in scholarly understanding; (3) whether the indexes and bibliographies are up to standard; and (4) whether the balance of continuity with and progress from the previous edition is satisfying to users, given that not everything has changed. In the preface to this second edition, Jones (Ohio State) explains the approach that he and his editorial team took. They asked a panel of evaluators to look at all 2,750 entries from the first edition. They discarded some entries completely, and assigned the survivors to one of three categories: First were those to be reprinted with few or no changes; these represent about 1,800 or 65 percent of the original articles. Second were those judged to require significant updating or revision; these are marked "Revised," and take one of three forms (the original authors updated their own material; a different scholar updated it; or the original entry was considered no longer definitive but still valuable, and thus retained, but coupled with a new essay). About 50 entries fall into this category. Third were approximately 300 entries where the topic and title were retained, but the actual article was completely replaced. The second edition introduces almost 600 topics that did not appear in the first. Jones notes, "New topics and titles are added to almost every portion of the revision, but especially noteworthy are those that appear in related sets of articles, the so-termed 'composite entries.'" The structure of the Encyclopedia is largely the same, with two main sections: "The Religions" (including 44 sections on specific religious communities), and "History of Religion" (comprising "Religions," "Religious Phenomena," "Arts and Society," and "Study of Religion"). "Arts and Society," which came in for the harshest critique in the first edition, has been the most extensively revised in the second. The balance that this new Encyclopedia offers between new and substantially "old" material is likely to be the crux for most who are sizing it up. Some will credit too much continuity with the Encyclopedia's original version to bad faith on the part of the publishers: mere recycling. But is "all new material" what is really wanted? If the editor's introduction is any indication, a fair attempt has been made to make these decisions consistently, intelligently, and equitably. Sharp disagreements over whether the editorial methodology is sound and whether it is applied consistently are likely. There are places, perhaps many of them, where this revision's handling of the task is uneven, inconsistent, and at times puzzling. But for its breadth of vision and the value of those segments that are both entirely new and important, this revised encyclopedia will be difficult to ignore. Whether new works such as the forthcoming, ten-volume English translation of the fourth edition of Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (to be entitled Religion Past and Present: Encyclopedia of Theology, ed. by Hans Dieter Betz et al., 2006) will manage this vast and difficult terrain any more adeptly remains to be seen. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. All levels. D. R. Stewart Luther Seminary

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