An ‘encyclopedia’ is defined as ‘A comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field, usually arranged alphabetically‘ (thefreedictionary.com). If this definition holds, then this book should not be called an ‘encyclopedia’; the reason being that this book does not contain exhaustive ‘articles’ on any topic, rather it contains short ‘definitions’ of words. It would be more appropriate to call it a ‘dictionary of repertory’!
This book is an alphabetical dictionary of medical and non-medical/homeopathic terms found in our repertories. After each word a standard dictionary definition is provided. After the definition, comes a short explanation of terms in homeopathic/repertory perspective. This is followed by the rubrics from various repertories which contain that word. A large number of rubrics are associated with relevant photographs, which make this work very useful.
Here is an example from this book-
The biggest benefit of this work is the explanation and the rubrics given. That is what makes it an encyclopedia (?) of ‘Repertory’. But the strength of this work is also its biggest weakness. There is lot of inconsistency in listing rubrics. In some places, effort has been made to list rubrics properly, while in other places no rubrics are given. For example, under the word ‘Keratitis’, it says ‘This is given as rubric under EYE chapter‘. But this is not entirely correct. The relevant rubric in Murphy is ‘Inflammation, Cornea’, in Complete Repertory the rubric is ‘Inflammation; Cornea, Keratitis’, in Boericke it is ‘Cornea; Inflammation; Keratitis’, in Phatak it is ‘Cornea, Inflamed’. So what a student will find if he looks for ‘Eye; Keratitis’ in these repertories – nothing!
Again for ‘Dipsomania’, it says ‘This is given as rubric under Mind chapter…”. True! But what rubric? In Kent, it is given as ‘Dipsomania’ but in Complete it is given as ‘Ailments from, Alcoholism, Dipsomania’. In Murphy, it is given as ‘Mind; Alcoholism, Dipsomania’ and ‘Toxicity; Alcoholism, general, dipsomania’. For Diphtheria there are no rubrics given. For ‘Miasm’, it only says ‘A supposed predisposition to a particular disease, which a person either inherits or acquires.’ Now is that all that you expect from an ‘encyclopedia'(!)? Shouldn’t there be more information about historical aspects, controversies, post Hahnemann concepts of Tubercular, Cancer, Leprosy, Ringworm, Acute and Half-acute miasms? Plus there are no relevant rubrics given. In fact lot of words have many irrelevant rubrics listed. For example, in ‘Miasm’ itself, the only two rubrics given are – ‘Fever, Miasmatic Fever’ and ‘Diseases, Cancer’. Is that all we have in our repertories??? For ‘Metrorrhagia’ it lists –
CR – Generals – Anemia blood, from loss of menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, menstrual derangements, from
The first rubric is not directly related to Metrorrhagia. It is a rubric for ‘Anemia’ and the next two list concomitants. The next question that arises is why concomitants are listed in some rubrics while not for most others? If you have to do it, do it consistently!
Such inconsistency in material and effort make it an average work in spite of it being a novel effort. It appears to me that the authors were either in a hurry to get the work published or asked their students to get the rubrics part done. I think this book could have become a better reference source if the authors had given it another 6 months.
The book has been endorsed by the likes of Prafull Vijayakar, Rajan Sankaran, David Witko, Miranda Castro and Dr. C. Nayak. I hope these stalwarts have noted the deficiencies in this work before recommending it.
Having said all this, I still find this work useful – especially for students. This can prove to be a good reference resource and can help students better understand our repertory in many ways. The book has excellent print quality with beautiful layout, fine quality gloss paper, multi-colored pages but I really wish that the effort put into making this work cosmetically beautiful could have gone into making the book a true and complete reference resource. I hope the authors will improve the work with the next edition.