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Getting Started

If you are getting started with research or are not clear about your topic, there are many handbooks, dictionaries, and encyclopedias that provide definitions and introductory information. You can also browse them to brainstorm for more ideas or for definitive information about topics in Religion.

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Handbooks, and Bibliographies


Biblical Studies

Oxford Dictionary of the Bible (2nd ed.)

Oxford Companion to the Bible Print: Stacks BS440 .M434 1993

Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies


Acta Sanctorum (1643 - 1940)

A collection of documents (primarily in Latin, some in Greek) on the lives of Christian saints. The database contains the text of the sixty-eight printed volumes of Acta Sanctorum published from 1643 to 1940 by the Société des Bollandistes. Can be cross searched with the Patrologia Latina database.

Encyclopedia of Christianity  Reed Library Reference (BR95 .E8913 1999)

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Reed Library Reference (BR162.2 E53 1997)

Encyclopedia of Protestantism Reed Library Reference (BX4811.3 .E53 2004)

Encyclopedia of Saints Oversize BX4655.8 .G85 2001

New Catholic Encyclopedia Reed Library Reference (Ref BX841 .N44 2003)

Patrologia Latina

An electronic version of the Patrologia Latina published between 1844 and 1865. Includes the works of the Church Fathers from Tertullian (200 AD) to the death of Pope Innocent III in 1216.

A Dictionary of Buddhism (Keown, 2004)

"This dictionary features broad-ranging entries on the history and doctrines of the major Buddhist schools, information on the spread of Buddhism in Asia and the West, and coverage of issues of contemporary concern such as human rights, abortion, euthanasia, ‘engaged Buddhism’, and the role of women in Buddhist teachings."

The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2014)

"With more than 5,000 entries totaling over a million words, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative dictionary of Buddhism ever produced in English. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism bridges the major Buddhist traditions to provide encyclopedic coverage of the most important terms, concepts, texts, authors, deities, schools, monasteries, and geographical sites from across the history of Buddhism."

Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Buswell, 2004)

"This encyclopedia describes the Buddhist world view, basic teachings and practices of Buddhism, as well as its different schools and sects. In addition to containing entries on Buddhist scriptures, art, architecture, divinities, monastic orders, festivals, rites and ceremonies, this work explores the history of Buddhism, the different forms it has taken in different parts of the world, and how Buddhism has blended with other religions."

Encyclopedia of Buddhist Deities, Demigods, Godlings, Saints & Demons Reed Library Reference (BQ130 .B88 1994)

"With about 8,000 articles, this Encyclopaedia presents a panorama of Buddhist deities, demigods, godlings, demons the whole range of good and evil forces with the spotlight on the concretized, recognizable forms and their subtle symbolism."

Encyclopedia of Buddhism Reed Library Stacks (BQ128 .E53 2007 )(Keown, Prebish)

"Reflects the state of scholarship in Buddhist Studies, its entries being written by specialists in many areas, presenting an overview of Buddhist history, thought and practices, most entries having cross-referencing to others and bibliographical references. This work contains around 1000 pages and 500,000 words, totalling around 1200 entries."

A Dictionary of Hinduism (W. J. Johnson)
Covering all the major Hindu practices, festivals, beliefs, gods, sacred sites, languages, and religious texts, this is the most comprehensive Hinduism dictionary of its kind
An ideal resource for courses on Hinduism or world religions, this accessible volume spans the entire field of Hindu studies. It provides a forum for the best scholars in the world to make their views and research available to a wider audience.
This Encyclopedia covers all aspects of Hinduism in the conventional sense and includes more ethnographic and contemporary material in contrast to the exclusively textual and historical approach of earlier works.

SARAI, South Asia Resource Access on the Internet, Columbia University. The most selectively monitored academic resource site on South Asia in English; see in particular the links to “Culture and South Asia” and “Religion and Philosophy.”

The Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago. An excellent site with links to reference resources, maps, statistics, bibliography, and journals

Atlas of the Islamic World Since 1500 Reed Library Reference (DS35.6 .R6 1982)

Encyclopedia of Islam

2nd edition: Reed Library Reference (DS37 .E56 1960).The Encyclopaedia of Islam (Second Edition) Online sets out the present state of our knowledge of the Islamic World. It is a unique and invaluable reference tool, an essential key to understanding the world of Islam.

3rd edition: Reed Library Reference (DS37 .E523 ). The Third Edition of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam online is an entirely new work, with new articles reflecting the great diversity of current scholarship. The new scope includes comprehensive coverage of Islam in the twentieth century and of Muslim minorities all over the world.

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World Online  Reed Library Reference (BP40 .E525 2004)

Encyclopedia of the Qur'an Reed Library Reference (BP133 .E53 2001)

Encyclopedia of women & Islamic cultures Reed Library Reference (HQ1170 .E53 2003 )

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam Online

Oxford Bibliographies - Islamic Studies Online

Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period  Reed Library Reference (BM50 .D525 1996)

"Defines concepts, religious practices, theological terms, persons, places, and essential vocabulary from the writings of Judaism, ranging from the time of the Pentateuch's final formation until the close of the Babylonian Talmud. Over 3,300 entries by seventy international scholars offer historical literary, religious, and archaeological background for understanding the canonical form of the Bible, the texts of the Second Temple period, and the classical writings of rabbinic Judaism."

Encyclopaedia Judaica (Berenbaum and Skolnik, eds. 2nd ed, 2007)

"Provides an exhaustive and organized overview of Jewish life and knowledge from the Second Temple period to the contemporary State of Israel, from Rabbinic to modern Yiddish literature, from Kabbalah to "Americana" and from Zionism to the contribution of Jews to world cultures, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition is important to scholars, general readers and students."

Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion (Jacobs, 1999)

"This illuminating and authoritative guide contains a wealth of information on every aspect of Jewish belief and practice, both ancient and modern. From Maimonides to Methuselah, Kabbalah to Kibbutz, Louis Jacobs provides an invaluable source of information for anyone wanting to learn more about the rich and diverse heritage of the Jewish religion."

New Encyclopedia of Judaism

"Includes hundreds of special articles covering subjects in analytical depth, as well as short biographies of the major figures in the story of Judaism."

Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions Reed Library Reference (BL2462.5 .E53 2001)

Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion Stacks BL2525 .B45 1998

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience  Reed Library Reference (BL2525 .E53 1987)

Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements Reed Library Reference (BP601 .C47 2001)