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Religious Studies: Welcome and Background Information

This is a guide of librarian-recommended resources for research in religious studies.


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 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.

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Online encyclopedias

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.

Biblical Studies

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. 


These are both 1-volume commentaries. There are more in-depth commentaries available, but these are a good start.

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). 

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