AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Brian Bocking: A Popular Dictionary of Shinto

by Michael Pye

Institution: Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg
Year: 2015
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2098400
Full text PDF: 10.17192/mjr.1996.1.3782;


This book is more than a popular dictionary of Shinto. The title arises, one may suppose, because the publisher would like it to reach a wide range of general and educational readers. There are indeed others in an untitled series by the same publisher dealing with Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. As a specialist in Japanese religions, on the other hand, Brian Bocking (Bath College of Higher Education, Bath UK) is aware of the need for an academic dictionary of Shinto. Thus the book is a compromise, but a successful compromise. For example, there is no extensive bibliography appended, but the introduction skilfully refers to a number of useful works for further reference. The author himself says in the Acknowledgements that he found it difficult to write a book with no footnotes. This seems extreme. How many dictionaries have footnotes? What this means is that academic writers cannot endlessly cover themselves against misunderstanding when compiling dictionaries. They have to take decisions. But Brian Bocking's decisions are good decisions. The picture of Shinto which emerges from these pages is clear, correct and valuable.