Posts Tagged ‘reference resource’

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Resource Reviews: Philosophy Bibliographies

April 11, 2011

Jenkins lists four notable general bibliographic works on classical philosophy; several of these are also described in Hans Bynagle, Philosophy: A Guide to the Reference Literature (Libraries Unlimited, 3rd ed., 2006) which we have at UGA (currently at the Repository, I hope soon to move to Main Reference), which is a useful volume in general but its coverage of ancient philosophy is much more limited than Jenkins’.

  • Bell and Allis, Resources in Ancient Philosophy: An Annotated Bibliography of Scholarship in English, 1965-1989 (1991), Main Library 6th Floor B171 .B46 1991.  This is a true annotated bibliography, with short introductions to each section and then a listing of sources with annotations.  Jenkins (no. 855) calls it “an excellent single source” that is “aimed primarily at college students” and notes its focus on recent works in English. Bynagle notes the limitations of the index.
  • Gill, Greek Thought (1995), Main Library 3rd Floor PA25 .G7 no. 25.  This book consists of four essays, on the topics of psychology, ethics, politics, and nature in ancient philosophy, making it a useful resource for those interested in the range of ancient thought on these topics.  Jenkins (no. 857) notes that coverage is from the mid-20th century onwards and there are “extensive bibliographical notes.”
  • Navia, Philosophy of Cynicism: An Annotated Bibliography (1995), Main Library 6th Floor B508 .N38 1995. This is a selective bibliography that contaisn popular as well as scholarly works and cover from the mid-19th century on.  Jenkins (no. 858) is critical of this work, suggesting that it “mingles the introductory, the advanced, and the banal”.
  • Donlan, ed., Classical World Bibliography of Philosophy, Religion, and Rhetoric (1978); we don’t have this at UGA – link is to WorldCat record. This is one in the series of bibliographies that compile essays that originally appeared in Classical World, so its coverage is not comprehensive.  Jenkins (no. 856) gives a useful summary of the topics covered and almost no critique, except to note the lack of an index.

Note I am beginning to collect online open-access scholarly bibliographies on topics in ancient philosophy at the Ancient World Open Bibliographies Wiki.

Previous post in my series on Philosophy resources:

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Resource Reviews: Ancient Philosophy

March 30, 2011

The UGA Classics department does not specialize in ancient philosophy; the philosophy department does have a 3000-level class on ancient philosophy. But philosophy comes up all the time in my work with classics students. For example, last semester I worked with an undergraduate who was looking at a relief sculpture and wanted to tie in Plato’s allegory of the cave, so we tried to get a sense of what contemporary attitudes towards and knowledge of Plato would have been (in the later Hellenistic period.)

We have relatively few works in the Reference department in the Main Library at UGA, but we do have the big ones:

  • Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy (1962-1981, 6 volumes), Main Reference B171 .G984h (with another copy on the 6th floor available for checkout.) Jenkins discusses this as no. 867, calling it “long established as the standard work in the field.” The six volumes cover the Presocratic philosophers through Aristotle, and focus on discussion of the philosophical works themselves. While Jenkins calls Guthrie “accessible to the lay reader” it is probably for more sophisticated undergraduates or graduate students, not entry-level students.
  • Armstrong,The Cambridge history of later Greek and early medieval philosophy (1967), Main Reference B171 .A79 (also with a circulating copy on the 6th floor.)  This edited volume covers the period from the 4th century BCE to the 12th century CE, giving  “a good general survey of later Greek philosophy and its influence.” (Jenkins no. 863)
  • Zeyl, et al., Encyclopedia of classical philosophy (Greenwood Press, 1997) Main Reference B163 .E53 1997. Jenkins (no. 883) calls this work “an excellent encyclopedia,” and it is where I would send most entry-level students.  It has signed articles with scholarly bibliographies, and covers philosophers and philosophic schools from the 6th century BCE to the 6th century CE.

We also have:

  • Preus, Historical Dictionary of Ancient Greek Philosophy (Scarecrow Press, 2007), Main Reference B111 .P74 2007.  This came out too late to be reviewed by Jenkins.  It is a dictionary, with short entries of a paragraph or two. It is definitely aimed at undergraduates, and might be most useful for those looking for definitions of common philosophical terms and concepts, though it does have thumbnail sketches of specific philosophers and movements.
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Resource Reviews: Roman Religion

January 28, 2011

Following up on the Mediterranean and Greek Religion post of last week, this week we treat reference resources in Roman Religion (an area, I confess, fairly mysterious to me, even before we get to the fad for mystery cults).  Note previous posts in the “Mythology and Religion series” are:

Roman Religion:

Adkins & Adkins, Dictionary of Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL798 .A35 1996) This volume is in the Facts on File series, which librarians will recognize as providing entry-level reference works on subjects, with fairly short entries and a relatively limited scholarly bibliography.  Jenkins discusses this as no. 892, and notes that it “includes numerous illustrations and plans” and covers “Judaism and early Christianity as well as the pagan religions and ancient Rome.”

Beard, North, and Price, Religions of Rome: A history (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL802 .B43 1998) For the serious scholar, including a serious undergraduate, this serves as an excellent introduction.  Jenkins discusses this two volume set in two parts (nos. 325 and 896), composed as it is of a one-volume narrative covering major topics on Roman religion, with “extensive references to both primary sources and the secondary literature,” and a second volume comprising many of those primary sources, including both texts and material objects such as inscriptions and coins.

North, Roman Religion (Main Library Third Floor, PA25 .G7 no. 30).  This book is shelved with the PAs (and not BL for religion) because it’s part of the Greece and Rome, New Surveys in the Classics series (like the Greek Religion volume by Bremmer discussed last week), a series of bibliographic works on various subjects.  Jenkins (no. 916) notes that this volume goes beyond bibliography and serves as a “readable and reliable” “compact survey of Roman religion itself.”  The bibliography itself is “excellent and selective” and Jenkins also notes the very useful tables and charts.
There are several quite recent “Introductions” to Roman Religion available, too new to be included in Jenkins.  They include:

Warrior, Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .W37 2006).  Celia Schultz in BMCR provides a nice overview of several newer works on roman religion, noting its popularity,  but that this work is, while comprehensive and valuable for students, “not the definitive, comprehensive introduction to Roman religion that the scholars in the field and publishers are seeking.”

Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .R58 2007)  This is checked out, so I haven’t looked at it – though being checked out is a sign of someone’s endorsement, right?  It’s from a series on Ancient Religions by Blackwell.  Benedetta Bessi at BMCR calls it “an agile and stimulating overview,” designed for the entry level.

Rupke, Religion of the Romans (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .R8513 2007) Jan Nelis at BMCR calls it a “solid treatment” suitable for scholars and students, and emphasizes the reliance on primary sources.  We also have the Rukpe-edited volume for Blackwell, A Companion to Roman Religion (Main Library Sixth Floor, BL803 .C66 2007).  This is a collection of essays, meant to add up to a comprehensive overview.

Augustus Caesar as pontifexHere’s a link to all 306 works in the UGA Libraries’ catalog under the subject heading Rome – Religion.

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Crowdsource Pleiades, Online Classical Atlas

January 24, 2011

Pleiades, the online classical atlas, is inviting the (scholarly) public to “adopt” a classical place for Valentine’s Day.  Tom Elliot at Horothesia writes:

Here are some examples of things you could do (many of them quickly) to enhance the content in Pleiades:

Here are some ways you could use links to Pleiades to enrich content elsewhere on the web

I’m trying to decide what place to adopt; since Pleiades only covers the Greek and Roman world, my favorite Bronze Age sites are not included.  (Ooh, I just thought of one for me – I’ll do Halieis!)  Surely you have a favorite, too?

I’m also writing to a couple of the faculty members I work with to suggest this as an assignment for their classes – even as an optional, extra-credit sort of assignment.  In Classics this semester there’s a 2000-level class in Classical Archaeology and a 4000-level class in Roman Cities, where the major semester assignment is to report on a specific place – this would fit right in to either, and since we lost a week at the start of the semester, syllabi are still in flux for many faculty.

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Resource Reviews: Mediterranean and Greek Religion

January 20, 2011

Jenkins treats mythology and religion in the same chapter, but the works I will discuss below are rather different from the mythology dictionaries I have highlighted thus far, in several posts (LIMC, mythology web sites, basic print mythology dictionaries, and specialized mythology dictionaries).  They take a more wide-ranging view of ancient religion, encompassing cult, belief, ritual, and more.  Today I’ll cover a general work and then some basic resources on Greek religion.

Mediterranean:

Johnston, Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (2004).  Main Library 6th floor, BL687 .R47 2004
This is categorized as a reference work – I’d call it an encyclopedia – but it could also be used as a textbook for a general class on religion in the ancient world (where that is defined as the Near East and Mediterranean).  It’s listed at only $40 at Amazon, so it’s affordable enough to use for a textbook, too.  The books falls in three parts: the first on big topics like “what is ancient religion,” mythology, and cosmology; the second on the religions of specific cultures (Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Etruria, etc.); and the third on cross-cultural takes on topics like divination, sacrifice, and sacred time and space.  Each essay has a short bibliography.  Jenkins (no. 912) notes that the “approach to the whole Mediterranean as a region of interrelated cultures that were constantly interacting is a great strength.”

Greek:

Burkert, Greek Religion (1985). Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .B8313 1985b
You’ve probably read it, if you read this blog.   It’s not really a reference work, but like a good reference work provides an excellent overview of all sorts of sub-topics and includes a bibliography; it’s frequently used as a textbook. Jenkins (no. 900) rightly calls it “the standard work in English on ancient Greek religion.”

Bremmer, Greek Religion (1994). Main Library 3rd floor, PA25 .G7 no. 24
This is a bibliographic survey of the topic, with a focus on (then-current) work. Jenkins (no. 886) praises the index especially.

Motte, Mentor: Guide bibliographique de la religion grecque Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .M46 1992 and Mentor 2, Main Library 6th floor, BL782 .M46 1998
These are annotated bibliographies; Jenkins (no. 887-888) calls them “substantial” and notes that they both “summarize and evaluate.”  The first volume covers work published through 1985; the second, 1986-1990; between them, some 3370 scholarly works are listed.  Unfortunately “access by subject is generally inadequate” although this is a more extensive work than Bremmer’s.

All of the 337 works classified by the UGA Libraries under the subject heading Greece — Religion can be perused in the catalog.

GR06 1353 Twins of Argos - Delphi

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Reference Resources: Mythology

November 5, 2010

There are a lot of reference works on classical mythology published, with new ones out every single year, it seems.  Mythology is probably the classics topic with the most widespread appeal, from 2nd graders to 300-seat college lectures to Learning in Retirement programs, so many of the available mythological dictionaries and encyclopedias are targeted very broadly, and marketed to public and school libraries as well as (or instead of) universities.  What I would like in a classical mythology encyclopedia for college students is:

  • clear summary of the various myths associated with a figure
  • accurate and full citations to the primary sources for those myths (it is shocking how often these are not included)
  • examples and discussions of depictions of those myths in classical art
  • discussion of places, temples, rituals associated with the myths

So, obviously my favorite reference resource on mythology is Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC).  I first used it as an undergraduate, and when I was in graduate school the final volumes were not yet published, so we’d all scramble to choose mythological figures whose names began with the letters A-H.  Woe bedtide you if you got Zeus – no LIMC to do your legwork for you!  Now all the volumes are available (8 sets of 1 print and 1 plates volumes, for a total of 16 books).  At UGA our copy is at Main Reference (1st floor) NX650 .M9 L40Jenkins (no. 913) describes it as “by far the best source for locating and studying myths as they appear in ancient art” but does not seem as overwhelmingly fond of it for general purposes as I am.

Unfortunately, LIMC is a challenge for many undergraduates, especially those at the entry level – the level most likely to be studying classical mythology.  They are intimidated by foreign languages which they mostly do not read, and the terse (i.e. professional-level) citation style for primary sources in LIMC can be confusing.  I do show LIMC to many classes; many honors undergraduates and upper-level majors are happy to tackle it, and my goal is to make every grad student love and cherish it as I do.  But for the average 1000-level mythology student, it’s too much.  I will tackle some of the alternatives they turn to in forthcoming posts.

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Resource Review: Handbook for Classical Research

October 19, 2010

The Classics Department recently purchased David M. Schaps, Handbook for Classical Research (Routledge, 2010) for the Alexander Room collection.

Illustration of book coverThis book serves as an introduction to Classical Studies research and  its various subfields.  It seems designed to accompany a proseminar for beginning graduate students, the sort of once-a-week, one credit hour seminar that many departments (UGA included) hold for new graduate students in their first semester.  As such it is useful – oftentimes graduate proseminars are a mixture of broad and narrow topics, more dictated by the research interests of departmental faculty than guided by a comprehensive approach to introducing the various sub-disciplines of Classics and the quirks of their research methods and research resources (topics include such diverse things as approaching research questions and understanding the notations used to describe coins).  This useful content  is organized well.  There are 30 chapters, divided into 4 sections (a table of contents is available at the Worldcat page, linked above under the title), so one could cover 2-3 topics a week in a 15-week proseminar.

The book has an unusually personal and chatty ‘voice’ that did not work very well for this reader.  It is not the sort of book many would want to sit down and read straight through, but neither is it really designed as a reference work to be kept on the shelf and consulted at need.  (Although each chapter has a section on “Major Resources”, the author explicitly notes that his coverage of bibliography will not be comprehensive, and recommends Fred W. Jenkins, Classical Studies: A Guide to the Reference Literature (Libraries Unlimited, 2006) as a bibliographic resource, as do I.)  This erstwhile classical archaeologist did a bit of eye-rolling at the sub-head beginning Chapter 10, “Classics Is Almost Entirely Literature,” although archaeology is covered reasonably well (one can always quibble the most about one’s own topic of expertise!)

The book is listed at $130 in hardcover, and $37.95 in paperback.  I would recommend it more for someone organizing a graduate proseminar in Classics than attending one; libraries with graduate Classics departments will rightly purchase it.  If you are a Classics grad student short on funds, I would purchase Jenkins (citation above, listed at $60 but available used for under $20, make sure you get the 2006 edition, not the 1996) over this volume.  (If you are a Classics grad student with too much money, please take your classmates out to dinner.)

I have not found any reviews of this work yet, although there was some discussion of the book on the list-serv Classics-L (search the archives for “schaps handbook” and you’ll find a few comments).  If you know of reviews, please link or cite in comments.