Today in History: April 29

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Photograph by Ernest Edwards in 1867

 

1852:

Under the sign of the zodiac, Taurus,

Was published for reference

Roget’s* Thesaurus.

*English lexicographer Peter Mark Roget.  Roget was a physician as well.  And a ‘natural theologian’—someone whose understanding of God derived from the light reason and the study of nature, and not from Divine Revelation. The original edition has 15,000 words and is on display at the Karpeles Library Museum in California.  The poet Sylvia Plath said if she were marooned on a desert isle with only one book to read, she would choose Roget’s Thesaurus over the Bible.

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Comments

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  • It's not mine originally, but I love a little comment I found online: What's another word for thesaurus?

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    I like the synonym 'treasury'.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thank you! I figured you'd be the proper person to ask.

  • This brings up one of the big debates of the 1960s. It was asserted that Roget's and those following it were somehow superior because they were organized by concepts instead of alphabetically. I never got that,and since thesauri, like most things, are now electronically searchable, that question is undoubtedly moot.

    On Roget's over the Bible, there is a point, as one would need to have a thesaurus to know what was meant by such phrases as "Elkanah knew Hannah his wife."

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