The Encyclopaedia of Religion and EthicsEncyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. Vol. X, Picts: Sacraments. James Hastings , John A. Selbie , Louis H. Gray

Gerald Birney Smith
1919 The American Journal of Theology  
The general character of this monumental work is so well established by the volumes that have already appeared that a review of the latest publication can do little more than to reiterate what has already been said. The undertaking is so stupendous that the matter of selecting topics and discovering the proper writers requires almost superhuman powers. Moreover, while the time is ripe for such a work as this, which should represent a historical as contrasted with a dogmatic way of discussing
more » ... ay of discussing religion, comparatively few scholars in the field of the Christian religion are able to think of their own religion in historical terms, The reader who consults the encyclopedia will often be struck by the contrast between articles dealing with non-Christian religions and those dealing with Christian beliefs or customs. Thus in the midst of a series of historical articles setting forth the ideas and the customs of prayer in various religions there is a theological discussion distinctly apologetic in content, dealing with Christian prayer. In connection with several articles, e.g., Possession, Prayer, and Purification, there is an introductory section, setting forth the important data found in connection with the subject under discussion in every religion. Such a general orientation is an admirable preparation for the study of the detailed accounts of the various religions which constitute the bulk of the longer articles. It could have been employed more frequently with advantage. The article on Psychology is purely technical and the reader is left to formulate his own conception of the bearings of it on either religion or ethics. An article on Psychology of Religion would have been more to the point; but no such article appears. The bulk of the encyclopedia is already so great that it seems a pity to give space to an article which might just as well have found a place in a purely non-religious work.
doi:10.1086/480059 fatcat:vss2cnz5cja7jnfe7rk27nhzt4