BA -- Philosophy

Metzler-Lexikon christlicher Denker: 700 Autorinnen und Autoren von den Anfängen des Christentums bis zur Gegenwart [Metzler Dictionary of Christian Thinkers: 700 Authors from the Beginning of Christianity to the Present]. Ed. Markus Vinzent and Ulrich Volp. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2000. x, 821 p. 24 cm. ISBN 3-476-01706-0: DM 78.00 [01-1-031]

Metzler has published a number of solid biographical dictionaries. Somewhat different from these, the Metzler-Lexikon christlicher Denker attempts broader coverage, includes a mixture of longer and shorter articles, and overlaps significantly in content with both the Metzler-Philosophen-Lexikon (Stuttgart; Weimar, 1996; see RREA 2:83) and the Metzler-Lexikon antiker Autoren (Stuttgart; Weimar, 1997; see IFB 99-B09-028). It attempts to cover 2,000 years of Christian thinking, and includes theologians, philosophers, and personalities important in church hierarchy. It also covers Christian thinking outside of the Western World. However, the depth of coverage of the various personages included in this dictionary varies greatly. The criteria for inclusion are perhaps too broad. There are no convincing reasons why Schopenhauer, Khalil Gibran, and Helena Blavatsky should have been included, while some important Catholic thinkers of the 20th century, such as Congar, Chenu, Gilson, and Lonergan, were excluded. However, this dictionary covers some figures who are only mentioned briefly in other works. The shorter articles present primarily biographical facts, while the longer ones often attempt to interpret the biographee's thinking. Readers might agree or disagree with some of these interpretations. Overall, this dictionary is very readable and thought-provoking. It should be acquired even in libraries with small religion and theology collections. A truly comprehensive biographical dictionary of this scope most likely would have to be five volumes long. [ar/ba]


Lexikon der Aufklärung: Deutschland und Europa [Dictionary of the Enlightenment: Germany and Europe]. Ed. Werner Schneiders. 2d ed. München: Beck, 2001. 462 p. 19 cm. (Beck'sche Reihe, 1445). ISBN 3-406-47571-X: EUR 17.90 [01-2-268]

The first edition (1995) was thoroughly reviewed in RREA 2:82. Although the 2001 edition claims on the verso of the title page to have been revised, there is little evidence of changes from the previous edition, other than a slight updating of the author index (p. 455-458). On the positive side, this inexpensive paperback version of an important dictionary, with about 250 signed articles on German intellectual history of the 18th century (but no index to the contents of the articles), makes the work more affordable and accessible to students and to other interested scholars. Libraries that own the original edition can forego acquiring this one and wait for an updated and expanded edition that should include articles on the reception of English and French Enlightenment figures in Germany, as well as on the counter-Enlightenment. [sh/ga]


Giordano Bruno: 1548-1600: mostra storico documentaria, Roma, Biblioteca Casanatense, 7 giugno-30 settembre 2000 [: Exhibit of Historical Documents. Rome, Casanatense Library, June 7-September 30, 2000]. Ed. Eugenio Canone. Firenze: Olschki, 2000. xlix, 233 p. 24 cm. (Biblioteca di bibliografia italiana, 164). ISBN 88-222-4901-1: Lit. 75,000 [01-2-269]

The 400th anniversary of the execution of Giordano Bruno in Rome was a catalyst to more intensive research on this prolific philosopher and heretic. Even though a critical edition of his works is still not completed, much progress has been made in recent years. In 2000, the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome held an exhibition in honor of Bruno and his works indicted by the Inquisition. The book under review here is the catalog that accompanied the exhibition. It describes all 300 exhibited items and contains illustrations of a large number of them. The introductory portion includes a biography of Bruno, 23 portraits of the philosopher, a chronology of Bruno's life, and a bibliography. Two appendixes list a selection of documents related to Bruno's life and work. The catalog is divided into 19 sections, chronologically following Bruno's life that led him from Rome to Toulouse, Paris, Oxford, Wittenberg, Prague, Helmstedt, Frankfurt, and finally to Venice, where he was accused by the Inquisition in 1592, and transported to Rome. The last three sections deal with the proceedings of the Inquisition against Bruno in Venice and Rome. Eugenio Canone prefaces every section with a brief, informative introduction. This catalog includes a wealth of information and materials. Unfortunately, it lacks indexes. [ch/ba]


Julien Offray de La Mettrie, 1709-1751: A Bibliographical Inventory. Roger E. Stoddard. Together with a facsimile reprint of La Mettrie's long-lost thesis, "Epistolaris de vertigine dissertatio" (Rennes, 1736). Köln: Dinter, 2000. 82 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 3-924794-42-1: DM 68.00 [01-2-270]

The French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie scandalized Europe with his 1748 treatise L'homme machine [Man a Machine], to the extent that he had to seek protection at the court of Frederick the Great of Prussia, who admired his work; shortly thereafter, at the age of 41, he died of a mysterious case of food poisoning. This bibliography by the head of the Harvard College Library's Rare Books Department documents La Mettrie's medical and philosophical writings, along with numerous underground editions (up to 1799) of his most notorious work, other works attributed to him, and commentaries both for and against L'homme machine. Entries include a full description and collation, a characterization of the content, and location information. Indexes of titles and bibliographically significant persons are included, but an index of places of publication would have been useful as well. La Mettrie's medical dissertation (1736) is also presented, in a facsimile of one of the few extant copies. [sh/gw]


Nietzsche-Handbuch: Leben, Werk, Wirkung [Nietzsche Handbook: Life, Work, Influence]. Ed. Henning Ottmann. Stuttgart; Weimar: Metzler, 2000. xiii, 561 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-476-01330-8: DM 78.00 [01-2-271]

It is no wonder that the Metzler publishing house wished to include a volume on Nietzsche in its successful series of handbooks, given that author's profound effect on 20th-century language and literature, as well as on other disciplines. The work consists of five parts: (1) a description of Nietzsche's life and times; (2) a chronological listing of the texts written by the author; (3) a lexicon of 220 "concepts, theories, and metaphors" with accompanying explanations; (4) the presentation of Nietzsche's reading matter, as well as sources and influences for his thought; and (5) the reception and legacy of Nietzsche's work in various disciplines, including philology, psychology, sociology, architecture, music, literature, philosophy, and politics.

The editors have chosen to take a "micro-analytical" approach to the subject, which has resulted in a somewhat fragmented, rather than a unified presentation of Nietzsche scholarship. This is apparent in several aspects of the handbook, including the dictionary-like thesaurus mentioned above. Many different authors have contributed to the work, and the bibliography of secondary literature is broken up into small sections as it relates to specific subjects. The general bibliography is limited to major editions of Nietzsche's works used for citation in the book. Two indexes, for personal names and for works and topics, facilitate detailed inquiries. [hak/akb]


Handbuch des Freimaurers [Freemason's Handbook]. Forschungsgruppe Alpina. Lausanne: Groupe de Recherche Alpina, 1999. 501 p. ill. 24 cm. (Uniform title: Guide du franc-maçon). SFr. 40.00, DM 50.00 (GRA, C.P. 270, CH-1000 Lausanne 9, e-mail: gra@worldcom.ch) [01-2-272]

This handbook, an updated translation of the French original, is written by Masons essentially for Masons, but with a broad enough perspective to serve the information needs of interested non-Masons. Its 24 chapters cover various aspects of Freemasonry, with emphases on its history in various countries and regions and reference information on Freemasonry in Switzerland. Other topics include rites, rituals, famous Masons, opponents of Freemasonry, music, passwords, and the initiation of women (a recent development). [sh/gw]


Dictionnaire de la franc-maçonnerie [Dictionary of Freemasonry]. Ed. Daniel Ligou. 4th rev. ed. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1998. x, 1,359 p. 25 cm. ISBN 2-13-048639-8: FF 498.00 [01-2-273]

This reference work, first published in 1974, is well equipped to supplement both the Handbuch des Freimaurers (see RREA 7:65 above) and the Internationales Freimaurerlexikon (see RREA 6:93), particularly for addressing questions about Freemasonry in France. For the most part, its entries deal with countries, persons, and concepts. The longer articles are signed, but none offer literature citations. The volume concludes, however, with an extensive, topically arranged bibliography that includes titles in many different languages. [sh/gw]

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Last update: August 27, 2002 [GC]
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