Historical Dictionary of Shinto) presents Calvinism as a strain of Christianity that has influenced society, civil government, and areas such as finance and continues to change and thrive. Thus, entries deal with aspects of Calvinistic thought before, during, and after its founder’s lifetime. As a former Church of Scotland minister who taught in Japan, Picken includes possibly more entries on Scottish theologians and Calvinism in Japan than another writer would, but the entries are interesting nonetheless. The volume features a chronology, a substantial bibliography, and cross-references. VERDICT Many Protestant denominations carry the philosophical genes of Calvinism, and there is no other related dictionary currently available, making this a worthy resource. Highly recommended for public library and academic collections with focuses on religion or European history.
)For all of its existence, Scarecrow’s Historical Dictionary series has provided a place for information on remarkably narrow and specific topics to find a home. Each of the volumes, with the standard features of a chronology, introductory essay, alphabetical entries, bibliography, and index, offers the individual authors the format and space to fully cover the topic while remaining within the template, which lets researchers know what they can expect. The three new additions to the Religions, Philosophies, and Movements subset cover Calvinism, new religious movements, and the Friends (Quakers). As reference books, the volumes on Calvinism and the Friends have a similar style and purpose. Each is intended to provide information on an established religion. The biographical entries cover church leaders and historical figures. The entries on philosophical and doctrinal matters serve to define the basic tenets of the faith and in some cases can be used as comparative points. For example, comparing the entries on Baptism and Sin in these two volumes can show basic differences between the two churches....The three books have authors, rather than editors, and all of them have has appropriate credentials for their subjects. The bibliographies are thematically arranged. These volumes are essential purchases for theological libraries and should be strongly considered by academic and public libraries where there is a subject interest.
)Like all introductory dictionaries on aspects of intellectual history, Picken’s volume compresses a great deal of information about Calvinism into a handy space and is necessarily selective in its choice of topics. But for general readers, students, and those new to Calvinism, this book is a good start....Scholars will most appreciate the very well-organized 43-page concluding bibliography, an excellent springboard for further study.
(American Reference Books Annual
About the Author
Stuart D.B. Picken
taught at the International Christian University in Tokyo, served as director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at the University of Stirling, and then concluded his career as Graduate School Dean at the Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Administration. He is currently Chair of the Japan Society of Scotland. He is a recipient of the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government for pioneering research on Japan and for services to Japan-Scotland and Japan-U.K. relations for over three decades.