Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Time for a new Encyclopaedia Judaica

Anyone have any info on the forthcoming new edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica? It is supposed to be published in 2006.

In 2003 Thomson Gale announced that it had acquired a "cultural treasure", the rights to publish the second edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica.
The first edition was published by Keter Publishing House, a leading publisher in Israel. With the 2nd Edition, Gale will be working hand-in-glove with Keter to create an equally rich yet more robust version. Gale's revision - to be published under its Macmillan imprint - will be the first completely updated print edition in 30 years, said Allen Paschal, president of Gale. "Jewish studies have transformed significantly since the original edition. We are working with Keter to line up an editorial board of Israeli, U.S., and European Judaica scholars that reflects the state of Jewish studies today."

In addition to giving due attention to important Judaica subjects of recent decades, the Gale edition will introduce a key improvement: seamless integration of the base set, supplements, updates from the CD-ROM, and new content.

The Encyclopaedia Judaica is considered a cultural icon in Israel and throughout the world and is universally acclaimed as the definitive reference source on Jewish life, culture, religion and history. "The reverence for this book is apparent when watching political coverage on Israeli television where it's common to see the first edition of The Encyclopaedia Judaica located near officials' desks," Paschal said. "It's a symbol of learning and culture."

Marketplace conversations with librarians have indicated that a single, synthesized version of The Encyclopaedia Judaicawould be a valuable improvement over the current formats. Subject areas likely to be targeted in the new edition include events of the last 30 years; the State of Israel today; bibliographies; archaeological discoveries; new areas of scholarship; and the Holocaust studies. As great as the EJ is, it was published in 1972 so the prospect of a new one excites me inordinately.
Here is the entry on the late Nahum Sarna that will be in the new edition.

As great as the EJ is, it was published in 1972 so the prospect of a new one excites me inordinately. The new edition has big shoes to fill. Here's wishing it won't be a lemon.

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