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2013 Oxford University Press Spring Sale

June 28, 2013


Oxford University Press is having its 2013 Spring Sale through July 11– and has an absolutely terrible website presentation of it.

I’ve received two sets through this sale – both at 65% off and I am delighted with both of them (reviews to follow in due course):

Today I placed an order for 18 individual volumes – more on that in a future post.  (But, as readers of this blog might suspect, I did not hesitate at the chance to pick up Aristotle as Poet:  Song for Hermias and Its Contexts [Andrew L. Ford, hardcover, sale price $23].)

I usually hate thesauruses (they are far too imprecise to be useful, and seem to lead readers into making serious mistakes), but I love the Historical Thesaurus.  It really should be on the desk of every translator.  The first volume is thematically organized with synonymous words (the Historical Thesaurus takes a much stricter view of what a synonym is than a typical thesaurus) grouped; and within each group, the words are listed in order of introduction to English.  This allows translators such as  Andrew Hurley to ensure that words are not anachronistic in use.  It also would be a great aid to any writer of historical fiction, to ensure that characters do not speak words that were not yet invented.  But most of all, it is simply fascinating to scan through – to watch a summary of the the English language’s evolution of vocabulary.  (It is also quite easy to use as a thesaurus, if one wishes – the second volume contains a listing of the words in OED indexed into the first volume.)  Oxford claims that this is the first (only?) historical thesaurus in any language – and I am unaware of any similar volume for English, at least.

The History of Western Philosophy of Religion appears to be a great narrative history (I cannot claim to have read all 1600 pages yet).  It is modeled after Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy (which I can strongly recommend) but is multi-authored – each chapter being written by a separate author.  This type of historical presentation is more pedagogically sound, I believe, than a more traditional thematic introduction (although it is inferior to reading the actual original writings.) 

Note:  By the way, Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy is due out as an unabridged audiobook from Naxos later this year.

Here are some other volumes on religion that looked interesting:

Greco-Roman religion:






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