History of Repertories
Repertories have helped conscientious homeopaths in their struggle for the right remedy as long as homeopathy has existed. Hahnemann himself made some first steps in structuring his information into some kind of repertory.
However, it was his immediate disciple and collaborator of the first hour, Clemens von Boenninghausen, who can be credited with creating the first usable Repertory in 1832. Different authors expanded on previous versions of this repertory, e.g. Allen, Jahr, von Lippe, etc. Some created completely new structures as did Gentry and Knerr.
It was Kent, however, who published different parts of a Repertory from 1897 to 1899 with a structure and a hierarchical logic that would stand the test of time. Kent released different versions of his repertory himself (the second edition in 1908, and a third manuscript edition at his death in 1916, only printed in 1924). Later editions never reached the quality of Kent's manuscript of the third edition and can be considered as only slightly changed and updated versions edited by his followers and his wife Clara-Louise.
Nevertheless, for a few decades no other Repertory succeeded taking up the challenge of progress. In 1973 Barthel and Klunker started the publication of a first version of their "Synthetic Repertory", adding information from 14, later from 16 authors to the 5 main chapters of the Repertory (mind, generals, sleep and dreams, male and female sexuality). Although Barthel and Klunker did not expand their work to more authors or to more chapters, their Repertory was considered a new reference by many. Other articles report in detail on the evolution of Repertories, so here we turn our attention to Synthesis, the newcomer.
History of Synthesis
Synthesis is the Repertory linked to the RADAR project. It is based on the Sixth American Edition of Kent's Repertory, and contains all its rubrics and remedies. Since 1987, Synthesis has been used as a database for the RADAR program in the daily practice of leading homeopaths. It has been commented upon and thereby improved over and over again, which gives it an outstanding label of quality. Indeed, not only additions of an increasing number of authors have been added to all chapters, but also corrections of the existing data, including Kent's work, have been integrated. This book didn't just fall out of the air; it is a fruit that has been maturing for a long time.
Version 2 was released in April 1988 and occupied 10.5 Mb of hard disk space. Synthesis 3 followed in September 1990 with 11.5 Mb: it contained mostly corrections on the previous version and offered 136,000 additions from about 130 authors compared to Kent's original Repertory.
Chart 1: Stepwise additions:
This chart shows how the addition of information in successive versions of Synthesis has been stepwise. The lower (dark blue) part of each column indicates the number of new additions compared to the previous version. In December 1992 the fourth version of Synthesis was released and is now being used by nearly 2000 RADAR users over the world as a software program. It contains 178,000 additions from about 200 authors. Many additions are confirmed by different authors and thereby become more reliable.
We believe that the best policy is to increase the number of additions stepwise. There has been a 24 % increase in new information from Synthesis 2 to Synthesis 3. There is approximately a 30 % increase in new information from Synthesis 3 to Synthesis 4. Every edition of Synthesis has been used in hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide. When these steps are taken too quickly, the expanded rubrics bring out differences in too many cases that ultimately lead to confusion. Hastily introduced new information might be incorrect or irrelevant.
In other Repertories, new rubrics are often positioned illogically. A stepwise increase in information is the only means to avoid chaos. Quality increases faster than quantity. At each step the quality has been improved, especially in the creation of version 5. Compared to version 4, only a few thousand additions have been added, because we focused on increasing the quality, which is the main topic of this report.
Chart 2: Increase in quality:
The maroon line, indicating the increase of quality, shows that there was a real breakthrough at the creation of version 5. Although errors had been corrected on each subsequent version of Synthesis, the decision to print Synthesis caused some extra reflections. If this Repertory was to be printed, it should be done only if we could offer a dramatic increase in the quality of the Repertory, its structure, its language and the consistency of its information. We have worked towards this achievement since the beginning of 1992.
In July 1992 the homeopathic part of the job for Synthesis 4 was finished and we focused exclusively on quality. Although it is more difficult to indicate this with objective numbers, we estimate, based on various criteria, (such as number of corrections made, symptoms edited, words modified, synonyms and cross-references added, etc.) that the increase in quality can be graphically represented by the graph on the previous page. This has been a worldwide project.
All aspects of Synthesis will be discussed under the different headings following this introduction. One aspect, however, still needs special attention: our wish that this Repertory stands for worldwide collaboration between homeopaths. Since the beginning, non-RADAR users have been collaborating with us. We expect that the printed version will further increase this input. Our computer technology is only the means to create this unique totality of information. With the printing of the book, it will be available to even more colleagues. The other feature that is making Synthesis a unique meeting point is the existence of editions in national languages. Homeopathy, despite its German origins, has become very dependent upon the English language.
For the level of communication and understanding needed in our profession, it appears that still very many homeopaths have major difficulties with this world language. Consequently, for three years we have been preparing to present Synthesis in different national languages. At this moment the German edition, containing the same vast amount of corrections and additions, is a fact. Translations into Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese* are ongoing and will soon be released. The number of homeopaths who will be able to use Synthesis will thereby be multiplied several times. We trust that the feedback will increase accordingly. We are ready to process all remarks made in different languages centrally and all editions will be updated with the sum of all new corrections and additions.
*All of these translations have been completed.