Posted on 2010-01-11. By anonymous.
Publisher: THOMSON/GALE 2004 | 701 Pages | ISBN: 0028659805 | PDF | 7 MB
To participate in a revision of Mircea Eliadeâ€™s Encyclopedia of Religion, first published in 1987, is an occasion of intense humility, but also a grand opportunity. Though not without its critics, the first edition was suitably heralded as the standard reference work in the field, a truly landmark achievement.
The work of revision has, at nearly every turn, amplified rather than diminished appreciation for the accomplishment of those original volumes. Dealing firsthand with the conceptual and organizational challenges, coupled with the logistical labors of coordinating the efforts of countless scholars and editors, redoubles a sense of admiration, respect, and gratitude for the makers of the original version of this encyclopedia.
If the making of that original set posed innumerable theoretical, organizational, and practical challenges, the revision of such a work evokes no fewer questions of balance and compromise. On the one hand, the building and remodeling of a work of this wide scope is a preeminently collaborative enterprise. It is born of a vast community of scholars, together participating in an immensely collective project; the interactivity among editors, consultants, and contributors has indeed provided perhaps the most rewarding aspects of this project. Yet, on the other hand, such a large and ultifaceted undertaking has a deeply impersonal, even anonymous, quality. Face-to-face meetings among participants are few, schedules fast, authors and editors far-spaced. By engaging the talents of so many people from so many places, large encyclopedias, and even more so their revisions, perpetuate the pretense of anonymous, objective, and interchangeable authors; numerous hands touch every piece, and the target of responsibility either for credit or for blame is not always easy to locate.
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