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Reference Works in Religion & Theology

Here is a guide to the common types of reference works you will use to start your research in religion & theology. It is by no means an exhaustive list. Most reference works in the Dulaney-Browne Library are found in the Reference Collection on the 1st Floor and are for use in the library only.


Atlas A collection of tables, charts, or maps about a specific topic.

Atlas of global Christianity 1910-2010
Atlas of the world's religions
New historical atlas of religion in America
HarperCollins atlas of Bible history
Macmillan Bible atlas
Oxford Bible atlas


Bibliography A list of resources for a particular topic.

A bibliography of the periodical literature on the Acts of the Apostles, 1962-1984
The Howard University bibliography of African and Afro-American religious studies

Commentary A digest of information about a particular book of the Bible or other text that can include textual criticism, historical and archaeological data, issues involved in interpretation, etc. Commentaries range from single volumes covering the entire Bible to multiple volumes covering a single book.

One-volume commentaries:
The HarperCollins Bible commentary
The New Interpreter's Bible one volume commentary
The New Jerome Biblical commentary
The Oxford Bible commentary

Commentary sets:
The Anchor Bible
Interpretation
Berit Olam
New Interpreters Bible
Sacra Pagina
Word biblical commentary

Concordance An alphabetical index of the principal words of a book or a writer, and a reference to the passage in which each mention of a word occurs together with some indication of context.

The exhaustive concordance of the Bible (Strong's)
Analytical concordance to the Bible (Young's)
The NRSV concordance unabridged
The Greek-English concordance to the New Testament
A concordance to the Septuagint


Dictionary A collection of definitions or identifications of key terms, places, or people. Subject dictionaries cover broadly a given subject, biographical dictionaries a group of people, etc. Most articles include bibliographies.

Bible dictionaries:
Anchor Bible dictionary
The Eerdmans Bible dictionary
The HarperCollins Bible dictionary
The New Interpreter's dictionary of the Bible.
Theological dictionary of the Old Testament
Theological dictionary of the New Testament

Subject dictionaries:
Dictionary of ethics, theology, and society
Global dictionary of theology
Historical dictionary of Buddhism
The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church
The Oxford dictionary of the Jewish religion
The Oxford dictionary of world religions

Encyclopedia A collection of articles written by experts giving essential information about a specific field of knowledge or area of interest.

American Indian religious traditions : an encyclopedia
Encyclopaedia Judaica
The encyclopedia of Christianity
Encyclopedia of religion
The Oxford encyclopedia of the Islamic world
Religion past & present : encyclopedia of theology and religion


Lexicon A wordbook or dictionary of a specific language, or the vocabulary of a particular people or body of literature.

The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English lexicon
A Greek-English lexicon
A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament (Thayer's)
A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature
A Patristic Greek lexicon

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