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Encyclopedia of Gods: Over 2500 Deities of the World Paperback – August 30, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Every culture has its gods involved with such concerns as weather, fertility, and safety. Although this reference represents the most comprehensive listing available of the deities of principal religions, it is not exhaustive. The gods of Haiti, for example, are described as being in excess of 10,000, and there are at least as many Japanese and Chinese gods. Many primitive societies are reluctant to speak the names of deities to outsiders for fear of divine punishment. As a result, this book has geographical gaps and other lapses that can be accounted for by cultural differences. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order, without being broken down into ethnic or cultural groups, and each entry is listed under the name by which the deity is most commonly known. Entries give a deity's culture, role, and principal characteristics. A subject index lists deities by religion and function, and a civilization index organizes them by region. A worthwhile addition to academic libraries.
- Ravonne A. Green, Emmanuel Coll. Lib., Franklin Springs, Ga.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Coverage in this book is worldwide but not comprehensive. The compiler's aim is to include deities that someone with a serious interest in mythology would be most likely to want to identify. Since "gods are iconic figures whose `pedigree' belongs exclusively in the heavens," demons, demigods, and heroes are omitted. A preface discusses the evolution of the concepts of gods and goddesses and traces major civilizations (later portrayed on a time line) in relation to their myths.

The dictionary-length entries generally note the culture source (e.g., West Africa, Jain), role (e.g., earth creator, river goddess), genealogy (parents, siblings), and attributes (conch, arrow). Occasionally, entries note art or literature references, period of worship, synonyms, and/or cult center(s). No pronunciations are given, apart from some generalities in the preface.

Cross-references are intentionally limited, so there is no reference from Artemis to Diana. The first index lists gods by civilization and, for those cultures with many gods, by role. The subject index lists deities by role; some lists are broken down by culture (e.g., "guardian or tutelary--Arabic--Allat").

There are several dictionaries of gods, most recently the far more inclusive and expensive Guide to the Gods: A Dictionary of the Functions and Aspects of Deities [RBB Mr 15 92]. Libraries needing a dictionary on this topic will find Encyclopedia of Gods more scholarly in coverage and style than most. It can be recommended for academic and public libraries, although the presence of a bibliography would have strengthened its credibility and usefulness. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Cathie (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856266362
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856266369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,265,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edwardson Tan on May 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
I seriously doubt if Jordan the NBA star wrote this book. Trivia aside, this 'encyclopedia' does cover a good number of gods of the world, not just those of Greek and Roman mythology.
Not much by way of details. It can't possibly cram any significant amount of information on any entry given the fact that it tries to cover so many world deities in so little space (less than 350 pages). I expected more but reading any entry one gets a feeling of just never getting enough, not even enough for an intro. Quite telegraphic in its 'discussion' too. As a random example, under the entry "Ellel" the description goes: "Creator god. Hittite and Hurrian. Derived from Babylonian-Akkadian god Ellil." Rather than encyclopedia it should have been labeled a dictionary, and a very abridged one at that.
One error I've discovered is that Salus is mistakenly referred to as a god when in fact she's a goddess! Other references I've come across all refer to Salus as feminine so I guess Jordan had a lapse there, unless Salus is a hermaphrodite.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a handy book to have around because of the quantity of deities which it lists, and for getting a basic idea of the deities(pantheon/general theme as in associated with wealth, prosperity, sensuality, ect.) The quantity is what got this book three, rather than two stars for my vote.
However, I would not reccomend this book for any sort of in-depth study. Simply going on the information contained about the norse deities(the pantheon I follow) there were too many mistakes and too little information. It seems to even say Freya and Frigga are the same goddess.
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By A Customer on June 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book has 2,500 deities listed! Seems like a lot. It certainly is fun to flip through. Encyclopaedias, however, are intended as resource material for when we have specific questions. Many many times I have not been able to find a deity of interest. Many many times I have found the entries to be far too brief and bereft of significant information. Furthermore, there is no index!!! Cross referencing is impossible with this book. To date, I have found my copy to be virtually useless.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is good for quick reference, but if you are looking for more indepth reading, look some where else. It seems like he picks his favorite deities and writes about them. others he skips over. he'll mention one deity when writing about another, then you go to look up the one mentioned, and he/she isnt even in his book! Dont even get me started on the index!!! what a mess!
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Format: Hardcover
Well formatted and informative. Lists gods alphabetically and cross references them with names used by other ancient civilizations. Also tells who other members of their family were. A great reference if you are reading the Earth Chronicles series by Zecharia Sitchin. One of my best library additions. A must have!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased multiple copies of this book over the years because when I lend it out, it never returns.

2,500 gods is a good start. It covers most of the major players in the Western Mythos. A full listing of the various and sundry gods in the Levant alone would fill five volumes. Add Mesopotamia and India and you could fill ten more! To include the gods of the European tribes and the Norse would ass a few more and the Africans and Pacific Islanders would almost fill ten volumes of their own.

But these gods are the essential collection and should be familiar to any scholar. A MUST HAVE!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been a greatly informative book as to Deities of old . It is something that I refer to at least once a week and find it to be a treasure in my collection . The shop that sent it was very helpful after the sale as to answering questions and forthcoming with additional info . Thanks again
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the most complete referance book on Gods and Goddesses I have ever seen. it list' Gods and Goddesses from every time period, civilization, and atrabute you could think of. It list' Gods and Goddesses minor and major from A-a to Zurvan and even has a wonderful civilization and subject index. If you want information on Gods and Goddesses this is the book to buy.
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