A major publication project enlisting 500 scholars inevitably holds importance for the academic world. When it takes the form of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Paul Edwards, editor; Macmillan, 1967, eight volumes, 4,300 pp., $219.50), its bearing on religious concerns is apparent. And a five-million-word work spanning the history of philosophy and dealing with its major themes in the context of contemporary concern is sure to carry weight among college and university students.
The publishers claim that this is the most comprehensive philosophical reference work published in any language. Although the project is rather modest when compared to the broader Hastings’ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (1908), its full presentation of philosophical concepts and theories marks a noteworthy advance over the brief definitions and essays characteristic of Baldwin’s Dictionary of Psychology and Philosophy (1901). It includes 900 articles on individual thinkers, and many contemporary names and themes appear. Some essays run the length of short books. Plato and Bertrand Russell each get more than 20,000 words, and an article on psychology runs 25,000 words. The 35,000-word entry on the history of semantics discusses linguistic theories with an eye on the current debate. A 65,000-word article on “Logic, History of” combines the efforts of a dozen writers.
Although the Christian religion is anchored in special revelation, it does not—at least in evangelical circles—assert a “ghetto” epistemology; rather, it presses a truth-claim upon all men. And what respected philosophers say, on the other hand, influences the philosophy of religion and leaves a mark upon theological discussion. What, then, does this new effort promise for the dialogue ...1
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