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Religion & Philosophy Research Guide: Reference Materials

This research guide features resources and strategies for finding information and conducting research related to Religion and Philosophy.

Reference Materials for Religion

Special Reference Collections and Series


Many publishers offer a series or collection of reference books that are ideal for academic projects. These materials are generally identified by the publisher's name, and then terms like companion, handbook, or guide, in their title. They offer in-depth essays on special subjects, with contributions by leading scholars in that field.

Try searching the main JFL page for these types of reference books, using some of the following search strings. For this example, we are searching for Hermeneutics as our topic of interest. We could also search for Interpretation or another similar subject term. 

Start with a new Book search on the main page. Simply copy the model and then insert your new search term in place of hermeneutics. Note that these series or collections tend to overlap between religion and philosophy titles. 

title:(Blackwell AND (companion OR handbook OR guide)) hermeneutics

title:(Cambridge AND (companion OR guide OR history OR encyclopedia OR dictionary)) hermeneutics

title:(Oxford AND (companion OR handbook OR guide OR encyclopedia OR dictionary)) hermeneutics

title:(Routledge AND (companion OR handbook OR guide OR guidebook OR dictionary)) hermeneutics

title:(T & T Clark AND (companion OR handbook)) hermeneutics     [and try without spaces between T&T]

Another way to find this kind of material is to use the ATLA Religion database (by EBSCO). Enter in your search terms as usual, but then select the Essays option on the left side, under the Source Types limiter. This database will find scholarly essays (i.e., chapters) within the major handbooks and companions. From here, track down the book or e-book, or request a scan of the chapter through the library's inter-library loan services. 

Not every resource will have the publisher in the title (e.g., some Companions do not). Also try a search for Anthology, Readers/Readings, Elements, or Very Short Introductions, along with your search terms.  

Examples of Companions and Handbooks

Academic Series

Within the field of Biblical Studies, there are several well-known series that offer exceptional scholarly treatment on various topics. These items will appear on normal book searches, based on their relevance to your subject terms. They can also be searched for directly, by adding the series title to the general search. When citing from these in a paper, be sure to consult chapter 8 of the SBL Handbook for the standardized abbreviations for the various series, and also consult section 6.2.24 (on p. 90) for the accepted formatting guides when referencing in a footnote or bibliography. 

The following is just a sampling of several very helpful academic series that provide advanced research material and demonstrate a depth of bibliographic coverage in your writing projects.


Library of New Testament Studies (LNTS)

The Library of Second Temple Studies (LSTS)

NAC Studies in Bible and Theology

New Studies in Biblical Theology (NSBT)

Biblical Interpretation Series (BibInt)

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament (WUNT)

Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series (SNTSMS)

Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (BZNW)

The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies (LHBOTS)

Supplements to Novum Testamentum (NovTSup)

New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents (NTTSD)

Studies of the Bible and Its Reception (SBR)

Studies in Biblical Literature (StBibLit)

Linguistic Biblical Studies (LBS)

Old Testament Studies (OTS)

Online Reference - Religion & Philosophy

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