Worldwide in scope and dating from biblical times, though its thrust is by no means exclusively religious, this encyclopedia ranges widely in its A-to-Z listing of entries. Among them are "apocalypse," "Edgar Cayce," "end of the world," "Napoleon," "premonitions," "sphinx," and "Wandering Jew." The eminently readable text can be perused at leisure or easily used to locate points of interest; the more than 100 entries generally include cross references and a list of further reading. A well-known authority on British legend and a pioneer of Arthurian studies (e.g., The Discovery of King Arthur, 1987), Ashe handles the material expertly, giving historical context where necessary. Even if the predictions themselves are obsolete, their placement here prompts the reader to appreciate the influence of a given prophecy. The global perspective makes this a timely and lasting title for public libraries.
Leroy Hommerding, Fort Myers Beach P.L., FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
According to this volume's preface, the term prophecy has two meanings. One is "inspired utterances"--an unseen being, usually a god or goddess, speaking through a mortal. The other meaning refers to predicting future events. In light of the interest in New Age phenomena such as crystals and astrology, an encyclopedic study of prophecy is timely. This work brings together information on prophets, psychics, symbols, methods, and even a study of theories of prophecy.
Some 134 entries are arranged alphabetically and cover people (Cassandra; Cayce, Edgar; Elijah; Nostradamus), places (Delphi, Glastonbury ), techniques, and symbols of prophecy. Many of the articles are accompanied by an illustration, portrait, or photograph. Most entries end with see references to other articles and a list of titles for further reading. Well-known prophecies such as the sinking of the Titanic are covered in several articles as well as in an individual entry under Titanic . The volume concludes with a bibliography of approximately 130 sources and an index.
Some individuals are included (Saint Augustine, for example), not necessarily because they made prophetic statements but because of their views on prophecy. Although the volume does not specifically cover science fiction, some writers who present a compelling view of the future, such as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, were selected for inclusion. One obvious omission is the psychic the Amazing Criswell, who was a popular figure on late-night television and noted for his outlandish predictions.
Much of the information included in this work can be found in other reference works dealing with the paranormal, psychic phenomena, astrology, and even religion, but no work pulls together all the different facets of prophecy in one volume. Recommended for public, school, and academic libraries with collections in these areas or where patron demand is anticipated.
The Encyclopedia of Prophecy is your entertaining yet dispassionate guide to this phenomenon, a guide that presents its findings neither too credulously nor too critically. More than 100 entries--enhanced by illustrations, bibliography, and a general index--range over the entire subject with a critical intelligence. The volume covers the role of prophecy in world history, religion, folklore, and literature. Whether discussing ancient oracles or modern astrological journalism, doomsday sects or 'psychic' predictions about film stars, Geoffrey Ashe presents serious and much-discussed topics from a fresh viewpoint. For example, he refutes the far-fetched claims that are made about the famous Nostradamus yet highlights prophecies that do foreshadow events after his lifetime.