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Welcome to the Religious Studies subject research guide! This guide contains relevant research resources for the Religious Studies discipline here at UW, including articles, databases, citation information, and more. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about this guide or if you need further assistance with your research!
Using background information
You get background information from reference sources, like encyclopedias. They are ideal for learning more about a topic or getting a good overview--you use them just like you use Wikipedia. Because they summarize information you generally can't use them in a research paper, but always check with your professor to be sure.
Many of the entries in these background sources are written by experts, such as religious studies professors, and they can be quite lengthy. Remember to check for recommended / related sources at the end of the entries, as these will often be prominent articles or books that will cover the topic in more detail.
These encyclopedias cover religious studies and related fields broadly and have long entries. They are the best place to start learning more about topics in RS.
Religion: Gale Virtual Reference Library
Search several encyclopedias at once or search/browse one at a time. Includes the Encyclopedia of Religion, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World, Encyclopedia of American Religions, the New Catholic Encyclopedia, and more!
Religion: Oxford Reference Online
Another group of online religion encyclopedias and dictionaries, including the Encyclopedia of Dead Sea Scrolls, the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies, the Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, and more.
There are many tools to help you read or write a paper on the Old or New Testament. In addition to the encyclopedias in the box above, below are some useful print books and online sources specifically aimed at biblical studies.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary
Call Number: BS440 .A54 1992 (Level 1)
A great place to look up books of the Bible, people, or places. Manages to be both accessible and scholarly at the same time.
The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
Call Number: BS440 .N443 2006 (Level 1)
"A diverse group of 900 scholars from 40 countries have contributed 7100 fresh new articles with 8400 entries including persons, places, things, theological concepts, and much more. Special care was taken to select authors who could provide a variety of perspectives from different theological traditions (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish), diverse theological trajectory (conservative and liberal), and from the social locations of gender, ethnicity, and race." --from the publisher
Harpercollins Bible Dictionary
Call Number: BS440 .H235 2011 (Level 1)
"Filled with explanations of biblical beliefs, language, and insights into the culture and customs of the people who lived in biblical times, this resource will help anyone interested in scripture to more fully appreciate the meaning and message of the Bible." --from the publisher
These are both 1-volume commentaries. There are more in-depth commentaries available, but these are a good start.
Harpercollins Bible Commentary
Call Number: BS491.2 .H37 2000 (Level 1)
Covers the books of the Bible in three ways: general essays setting the literary, cultural, and historical context for the entire Bible; articles introducing major sections of the Bible; commentaries on the individual books themselves by the finest contemporary biblical scholars.
Oxford Bible Commentary
Online! Includes a general introduction, extensive introductions to both testaments and the Apocrypha, and briefer introductions to the particular books, plus an essay with commentary on important post-biblical Jewish and Christian literature.
A concordance is an "alphabetical list of the words (especially the important ones) present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned" (Oxford Dictionary).