Subject Research Guides


Getting Started: Selected Reference Works

Begin your research with reference works to find background information, locate statistics and facts, and build a bibliography.


Encyclopedia of Religion
BL31 .E46 2005
This fifteen-volume encyclopedia features articles on all aspects of religion from prehistory to the present. A bibliography accompanies each entry. Updates the first edition (1987) with substantial new content.

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions
Ref BL31 .O84 1997
8,200 entries cover world religions, sacred texts and sites, important people, customs, and ethics. Cross-references and a 13,000-item topical index facilitate access to the articles.

Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion
Ref BL458 .E53 1999
This two-volume encyclopedia features 600 scholarly articles exploring the roles, perspectives, and contributions of women in world religions.

Eastern Religions

The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen
Ref BL1005 .L4813 1989
This illustrated encyclopedia contains more than four thousand entries on the major religious traditions of Asia. Articles cover terminology, important individuals, texts, schools of thought, and mythologies.

A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism
Ref BL1105 .K56 1998
This encyclopedia covers the major systems of Hindu thought, important individuals and locations, and the theoretical and practical aspects of Hinduism.

Encyclopaedia of Buddhism
Ref BQ2 .E5
This in-progress encyclopedia covers all aspects of Buddhist thought, history, and civilization with articles contributed by scholars in the field. The alphabetically-arranged entries currently include A through Dvesa.

Digital Dictionary of Buddhism

Important resource in Buddhist studies.  Includes terms, texts, temple, schools, persons, found in  canonical sources. To access entries, login as a "guest. " This will allow you ten searches in a 24 hour period.  


Encyclopaedia Judaica
DS102.8 .E52 2007
Twenty-two volume set updates the first edition, considered to be a classic work. Covers all aspects of Jewish life and knowledge. Lengthy bibliographies accompany most of the articles.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion
Ref BM50 .O94 1997
This comprehensive dictionary covers all areas in the field of Judaism in great detail. The articles are written by scholarly authors and contain cross-references and short bibliographies.

The Talmud - The Steinsaltz Edition
Ref BM499.5 .E4 1989
Twenty-two volumes comprise the complete Talmud. The Hebrew text and Rashi's Commentary are accompanied by an English commentary and both literal and expanded translations. Notes in the margins provide additional background information.


The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought
Ref BR95 .O7 2000
More than 600 entries cover the full spectrum of Christian thought throughout history, with emphasis on the current period. Entries are signed and include cross-references and bibliographies.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
Ref BR95 .O8 1997
This dictionary contains biographies, definitions of Christian terms and customs, and coverage of historical and doctrinal developments. Entries include cross-references and bibliographies of primary and secondary sources.

The Anchor Bible Dictionary
Ref BS440 .A54 1992
This six-volume illustrated dictionary contains articles on all aspects of biblical scholarship, including the Hebrew Bible. Entries include cross-references and bibliographies.

The New Interpreter's Bible
Ref BS491.2 .N484 1994
This twelve-volume set provides general articles and introduction, commentary, and reflections for each book of the Bible.

New Catholic Encyclopedia
Ref BX841 .N44 2003
This fifteen-volume illustrated encyclopedia covers all aspects of Catholicism. Entries are signed and include cross-references and bibliographies.


Oxford Islamic Studies Online
Rich reference collection contains more than 3,000 reference articles and chapters, two Oxford World's Classics translations of the Qur'an, other primary sources, chronologies, and images.

Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam
Ref BP40 .S465 1991
This encyclopedia covers the religion, law, and history of Islam. A bibliography accompanies each article and a "register of subjects" indexes the Arabic-language entries under English-language headings.

The Holy Qur'an with English Translation and Commentary
Ref BP130.4 .A36 1988
This five-volume set presents the Qur'an in both Arabic and English and includes a detailed subject index.

Encyclopaedia of Islam. New Edition
Ref DS37 .E523
This in-progress encyclopedia is a more comprehensive, in-depth version of the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam.

Religion in America

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience: Studies of Traditions and Movements
Ref BL2525 .E53 1987
More than 100 cross-referenced essays explore the traditions, movements, and cultures of American religions. Each entry includes a bibliography.

Encyclopedia of American Religious History
Ref BL2525 .Q44 1996
More than 500 scholarly articles cover the religions, people, events, and other topics that make up the history of religion in America. Entries are cross-referenced and include bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of African American Religions
Ref BR563 .N4 E53 1993
This encyclopedia covers African American churches, religious institutions, and leaders. Each entry concludes with a brief bibliography. A chronology of African American religion and a directory are also included.

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Finding Books

Two kinds of books, monographs and essay collections, compose the majority of Gould library's collection. A monograph offers an extended analysis of a given subject by a single author, while an essay collection bring together articles, often by different authors, on related topics.


In BRIDGE, the shared library catalog for the libraries of Carleton and St. Olaf Libraries:

  • Begin with a keyword search and enter words that describe your topic (names, places, events, etc.).
    • When you find a book on your topic, examine its subject headings for relevance to your topic.
    • Click on a hyperlinked subject heading to perform subject heading search and retrieve related books.
  • Perform a subject heading search in BRIDGE only if you know a valid Library of Congress subject heading.
    • For example, the term Genesis is not a complete subject heading. By using the proper subject heading (Bible. O.T. Genesis) you avoid getting results like American Genesis: Pre-colonial Writing in the North.
    • Note that many books relevant to religious studies are located throughout the collection and with varied subject headings.

When searching in BRIDGE, it is important to understand that BRIDGE can look for the titles of journals, but not for the articles within those journals.

Browsing the Stack

The following call number ranges contain works relevant to the study of religion:

BL1-50 - Religion (general works)
BL70-71 - Sacred books
BL74-99 - Religions of the world
BL175-265 - Natural theology
BL410 - Religions in relation to one another
BL550-619 - Worship, cultus
BL660-2680 - History and principles of religions
BL1100-1295 - Hinduism
BM - Judaism
BP - Islam, Bahaism, Theosophy, etc.
BQ - Buddhism
BR - Christianity
BS - The Bible
BT - Doctrinal theology
BV - Practical theology
BX - Christian denominations

Search WorldCat, an online catalog for libraries throughout the world, to take your search beyond Northfield.

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Finding Articles

Use databases and indexes to locate articles and book chapters on your topic. Gould Library does not subscribe to all of the titles listed in these resources. If we don't have what you're looking for, take advantage of our InterLibrary Loan Services

Databases & Indexes

ATLA Religion Database (1949- present)
The American Theological Library Association maintains this database of more than 1,060,000 books, book reviews, essays, and journal articles. Indexed journals focus mostly on Christian traditions, but also cover Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism, and other religious traditions.

ProQuest Religion (1986- present)
This database covers more than 90 leading journals in the field of religion from 1986 to the present. Full text articles date from 1992 forward, full image articles from 1988, and articles with text and graphics from 1996.

Index Islamicus (1906-present)
Index of literature on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world.

RAMBI: Index of Articles on Jewish Studies (1966-current)
Provides selective indexing of thousands of journals and essay collections in Hebrew, Yiddish, and European languages. International in focus.

Sociological Abstracts (1952 to present)
This is the main index to literature in the field of sociology. Includes journals concerned with the sociology of religion.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) (1975- present)
A&HCI indexes 1,144 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, many of which focus on religion. It features current and retrospective bibliographic information, author abstracts, and cited references.

Journals to Browse--General

History of Religions
In Print and Online
Quarterly journal for the study of religious phenomena from prehistory to the present, both within particular traditions and across cultural boundaries.

Journal of Dharma
In Print (1975-present)
Quarterly publication featuring scholarly research on world religions, philosophy, and theology.

Journal of Religion
In Print, On Microfilm, and Online
Quarterly publication dedicated to the study of all areas of religion and theology from a wide variety of ideological perspectives.

Journal of Religion and Society
Online from 1999
This cross-disciplinary, annual electronic journal publishes research articles, discussions and critical notes, and book reviews related to religion and its diverse social dimensions.

Journal of Religious Ethics
In Print and Online
The Journal of Religious Ethics features scholarly articles on ethics within the context of specific religious traditions and communities. JRE is published three times per year.

In Print (1973-2006)

Religion is a quarterly journal with broad coverage of the history, structure, and theory of the religions of the world. The journal examines religion from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including archaeology, psychology, and economics.

Religious Studies and Theology
Online (1997-present)
This semiannual, refereed journal publishes over 1,200 articles and book reviews in the fields of religion, religious studies, and theology every year.

Other Important Journals

Japanese Journal of Religious Studies
In Print and Online
This semi-annual journal presents academic research and book reviews in the field of Japanese religions. Issues from 1960 to 1970 are available under the title Contemporary Religions in Japan

Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Online (1994- present)
This annual electronic journal publishes research articles, discussions and critical notes, bulletins, and reviews related to the study of Buddhist ethics. Their web site also features links to many other resources.

Journal of Chinese Religions
In Print
This annual journal publishes articles and reviews in the field of Chinese religion.

Journal of Early Christian Studies
Project Muse (1996- present)
This quarterly journal focuses on Christianity during the period from 100 to 700 CE. Each issue contains an extensive book review section.

Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
In Print (1978- present)
This semi-annual journal covers all aspects of Buddhist studies.

Journal of Islamic Studies
In Print and Online
This multi-disciplinary, semiannual journal covers all aspects of Islam and of the Islamic world, including history, political science, law, literature, religion, and many other areas.

The Journal of Jewish Studies
In Print
This semiannual journal publishes new research and discussions of Jewish history, literature, and religion. There is also a section for reviews of recent publications.

The North Star: A Journal of African-American Religious History
The North Star features articles, reviews, information about new books, research queries, and links to web resources.

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Web Sites


Finding God in Cyberspace: A Guide to Religious Studies Resources on the Internet
This guide organizes links to a wide variety of religious information online.

Virtual Religion Index
Another good gateway.  It describes and organizes links to evaluated web resources in all areas of religion. Religious traditions are examined from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, including anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and psychology.

Eastern Religions

Buddhist Studies WWW Virtual Library
Scholarly editors maintain this portal with over 610 links to web resources on Buddhism, all of which have been chosen for their quality.

The Hindu Universe
The Hindu Students Council maintains this portal of Hindu resources on the web, including scriptures and devotional chants, information on festivals and worship rituals, biographies of important Hindus, and an introduction to Hindu philosophy.

Resources for the Study of Buddhism
This site organizes links to texts, articles, and other web sites dealing with Buddhism.


Judaic Studies
Rutgers University maintains this comprehensive, annotated list of approved web resources for Judaic studies. - The Judaism Site hosts Project Genesis, an outreach program seeking to promote education about Jewish identity and Judaism.


Christian Classics Ethereal Library
This is a fully searchable collection of Christian texts from the beginnings of Christianity to the present, all full-text and in English. Included are Hitchcock's Bible Names Dictionary, the World Wide Encyclopedia of Christianity, and The Early Church Fathers, a 38-volume collection of writings from Christianity's first 800 years.

The Unbound Bible
This is an online collection of searchable Bibles, including ten English translations, several Greek and Hebrew versions, 4 ancient versions, and 42 translations in other languages.


According to their web site, "Al-Khazina is an interactive database for the study of Islamic Culture, particularly in the early centuries."

Islam and Islamic Studies
Prof. Alan Godlas at the University of Georgia maintains this site with links to resources on Islam; the Qur'an; Sunnah, Shi'ism, and Sufism; Muslim women; the Arabic language; and Islamic art, architecture, music, and history.

Islamic Studies
Rutgers University maintains this comprehensive, annotated list of approved web resources for Islamic studies.

Religion in America

NativeWeb: Religion & Spirituality
NativeWeb, an educational nonprofit organization, maintains this annotated list of approved web resources in the field of Native American religion and spirituality.

The Pluralism Project
The mission of the Pluralism Project is "to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States, with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities." Resources include statistics, a directory of religious centers, a calendar of religious events, and a state-by-state map of resources.

Religious Movements HomePage
This is an archived site from the University of Virginia profiling over two hundred different religious groups and movements.

Women and Theology

WSSLinks: Women and Theology

Links to online bibliographies, journals, discussion groups, and texts about theology from several religious traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Goddess Spirituality. 

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