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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 2004

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 2004

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Subject:

Re: "Old" Catholic Encyclopedia

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Sep 2004 03:06:16 -0500

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Dear Marjorie,

Just as an old church that receives a new facade and some fresh decor is still an old building, so an encyclopedia whose choice of entries has not changed in over a century and whose articles routinely reflect the intellectual, political, and other contexts in which they were originally written remains an old encyclopedia, touch-ups here and there notwithstanding.

In my experience, which is obviously different from yours, the articles in the online version of the _Catholic Encyclopedia_ are unaltered from their early twentieth-century form except perhaps as a result of their retranscription into electronic format, which process will of course have introduced its share of typos and scannos.

The article on Naples, for example, informs the sedulous reader that that city "contains an arsenal of the Royal Navy" and that "the Castle of the Egg ... is at present a barrack and a fort, as are also Castel del Carmine and Castelnuovo", none of which is now true and most of which has been false for at least sixty years.  Numerous statements about the location of works of art and other treasures in various churches and museums are woefully out of date, as is also the list of suffragan dioceses.  The present parish church of Santa Anna dei Lombardi, until sometime in the eighteenth century the monastery church of Santa Maria dell'Oliveto, is referred to as "the church of St. Anna of the Lombards of Mt. Olivet", a misleading and inaccurate designation that cries out for revision but has not received it.  The population of the archdiocese is given as "600,600 inhabitants"; according to the more reliable www.Catholic-Hierarchy.org, in 2002 its population was 1,580,000 Catholic
s out of a total population of 1,600,000.  The "History" section speaks quaintly of "Mussulmans".  The latest work cited in the bibliography is dated 1909.

Since a statement of copyright covering new material says nothing about the proportion of original matter to fresh or even about the presence of any new material in articles to which it is appended, I am at a loss to understand the probative value of your reference to the online version's formulaic repetition of the notice "*Online Edition Copyright  2003 by K. Knight*".  More telling in this regard is the statement by Mark Dittman and Tim Drake on the New Advent site of how this online version has been and is being created:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/00002a.htm
There's considerable reference here to the transcribing of articles but nary a peep about their updating.  I don't doubt that some updating has occurred in some articles, but I do very much doubt that this has happened often enough to warrant describing the online version in its entirety as "rather 'new'".

Best,
John Dillon    

----- Original Message -----
From: Marjorie Greene <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, September 27, 2004 1:01 am
Subject: "Old" Catholic Encyclopedia

> medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and 
> culture
> "and of course now dated article on them in the old _Catholic 
> Encyclopedia_ "
> True that the basis for the CE at NewAdvent is the old one, but 
> the revisions made to the text are quite recent and I believe the 
> info contained therein is generally reliable. Otherwise there 
> wouldn't be much point in having it on line (or trying to sell it 
> on CD). Mother Theresa is mentioned in the article on the 
> archdiocese of Calcutta and there are numerous other references 
> indicating that the 1907 text has been updated. And each entry 
> ends with a variant of: "The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
> Copyright  1907 by Robert Appleton Company
> *Online Edition Copyright  2003 by K. Knight*
> Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York"
> I'd say the Online Edition is rather "new."
> MG

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