Encyclopedias - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Religion

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Early Encyclopedias

While alphabetic encyclopedias are dominant in modernity, there are only a few forerunners in antiquity. The most important is De verborum significatu (The Meaning of Words, early first century CE) of M. Verrius Flaccus, a dictionary of rare terms with grammatical and historical explanation that transmitted the findings of late Republican scholarship (Varro) to later generations.

In the seventeenth century, three encyclopedias were influential: L. Moréri's Grand dictionnaire historique … (1674), A. Furetièr's Dictionnaire universel des arts et sciences (1690), and P. Bayle's Dictionnaire historique et critique (1696–1697). The latter is seen as a modern encyclopedia already because it puts forward a new conception with clear, brief, critical ("enlightened") articles instead of uncritical compilations of quotations. Its influence is reflected in a number of translations, among them the German version of J. C. Gottsched (Historisches und Critisches W...

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This section contains 2,923 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Encyclopedias Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Religion
Encyclopedias from Encyclopedia of Religion. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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