Author(s): Arthur Goldwag
From chauvinism to chiliasm, from epicureanism to existentialism, and from nationalism to nominalism, we live in a wilderness of dogmas and doctrines, creeds and credos. But what in heaven's name do all these -isms mean? Just what was it that made heresies such as Arianism and Pelagianism so heretical? What's the difference between an anarchist and an anarcho-syndicalist, a Platonist and a Neo-Platonist? And how modern can Modernism really be if all the famous modernists are dead? Some everyday -isms - the likes of materialism, naturism and surrealism - present few problems. Others are more troublesome. There are some concepts (irredentism? ontology?) whose meanings - even when checked in a dictionary - somehow fail to adhere. And it gets tougher. In the darkest depths of the forest of ideas lurk -isms which even the most cutting-edge of metropolitan intellectuals might struggle to define snappily. Muggletonianism, anyone? Henotheism - your starter for twenty, Hampstead!Help is now at hand in the small but perfectly formed shape of "Isms and Ologies".