Encyclopedia of World Scriptures

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About the Book

From the time of human beginnings, holy words, chants, liturgy and narratives have enabled individuals to communicate the mysteries of the universe. Bodies of liturgical composition had to survive oral transmission for centuries until calligraphers could inscribe them in pictograph, symbol, or coded cipher or write them in words on stone, mural, scroll, parchment, or paper. Through repetitions of sacred speech and writing, couples enter holy wedlock, infants receive consecration and blessing, youths advance to adulthood, rulers dedicate temporal powers to God, cities pledge themselves to peace, and the dead pass from an earthly existence to the afterlife.
The most sacred and influential writings the world has recorded are covered A–Z in this compendium. The entries convey works from the cities of Mecca, Jerusalem, Rome, Delphi, and Salt Lake City; from caves in Qumran and mountains in Japan; from the Indus Valley and the American West; from classical China, Egypt and Greece; and from the Hebrew communities of Iberia and of the German states. Although all of the scriptures speak to a human need, there are many differences in style, purpose, and tone. The entries include holy law (The White Roots of Peace), funeral prescriptions (the Tibetan Book of the Dead), ceremonies (the Lakota Black Elk Speaks), literature (Homeric hymns), hero stories (the Japanese Kojiki), word puzzles (the koans of Zen), Christ lore (the Apocrypha and the New Testament), matrices (I Ching and Tantra), and numerology (the Jewish Kabbala). Writing styles include both the rapture of Rumi’s Mathnawi and the spare aphorism of Confucius’s Analects. The information given in the texts range from Muhammad’s revelations in the Koran, to the everyday advice of Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science writings.
A map locates the germ of sacred revelation and writing in sites all over the globe. A timeline of dateable events from the history of world scripture names events in chronological order, from the beginnings of the I Ching in 2800 B.C.E. to the publication of a child’s version of the Popul Vuh in 1999 C.E.. The encyclopedia is comprehensively indexed with ample cross-referencing to assist researchers toward further study of print and electronic sources.

About the Author(s)

Mary Ellen Snodgrass is an award-winning author of English and Latin textbooks and reference works for 35 years. She taught at Hickory High School and Lenoir Rhyne University for 23 years. She focuses on women’s and world literature and history and general research topics, including epidemics, the history of money, clothing, food, and dance.

Bibliographic Details

Mary Ellen Snodgrass
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 312
Bibliographic Info: photos, map, glossary, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2001]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6627-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5085-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii

Preface     1

Introduction     3

The Encyclopedia     5

Glossary     267

Time Line of World Scriptures     271

Bibliography     281

Index<     291

Book Reviews & Awards

“an excellent supplement…clearly written text”—Library Journal; “a laudable, even pioneering effort…fills a gap in the existing literature…useful…a faithful and thorough recounting of facts…recommended”—Reference & User Services Quarterly; “useful”—ARBA; “a quick and easy way to compare the holy writings of numerous religious traditions…fascinating”—Against the Grain; “detailed subject index…recommend[ed]”—AJL Newsletter; “sacred and influential writings”—Shofar.