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LIBRARY GUIDE TO Religion Pathfinder

General Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia of World Faiths. (Ref. BL 80.2 .E495 1988) This is a great place to explore world religions as the writing style is aimed at the general reader. A typical profile surveys the beliefs, worship and origin of a religion or denomination. There is an introductory chapter on "The Nature of Religion."

Encyclopedia of Global Religion (Ref. BL 80.3 .E52 2012) Covers people, countries, topics and people.  Two volumes.

Encyclopedia of Religion. (Ref. BL 31 .E46 2005) This 15-volume set provides a comprehensive treatment of all religions. It is the best work of its kind. Entries are long and include bibliographies.

A Reader's Guide to the Great Religions. (Ref. BL 80.2 .A1 A35 1977) Substantial essays for the general reader on world religions including "Primitive Religion," "The Ancient World."

Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. (Ref. BL 31 .E4) Similar in scope and arrangement to the above but a bit dated.

New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. (Ref. BL 31 .S34) Includes entries on all religions and religious leaders, biblical theology, sects, denominations and churches. This title is said to be one of the most important reference books of its kind in English.

World Religions. (BL 82 .B68 1997) Not exactly an encyclopedia, but still a great introduction for the general reader. Information is not comprehensive nor is it scholarly. See also Religions of the World (Ref. BL 80.2 .B744 1997). Of the two, the latter is better.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practice. (Ref. BL 80.3 .W67 2006) Three vols.

Religion: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia. (Ref. BL 80.2 .L463 1996) Describes world religions with an emphasis on the beliefs and practice of each religion. Also includes 43 entries on indigenous religions.

A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. (BL 51 .C634 1997) Chapters on philosophical issues in religion, starting with the world religions, and then on concepts such as "Sabbath," "Being," "Incarnation" and so on.

Longman Guide to Living Religions. (Ref. BL 80.2 .L66 1994b) Despite the title this book is more of an encyclopedia or even a dictionary-encyclopedia. This is good for general reference but not comprehensive treatment. Content is not limited to formal religions but also considers cults and "human potential movements."

Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. (Ref. BL 60 .E53 1998) Provides "state-of-the-art summary of the insights gained by the principal social sciences of religion: anthropology, psychology and sociology." Entries are short but the bibliographies lead to other reading.

Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion. (Ref. BL 458 .E53 1999) 2 vols. Provides scholarly and comprehensive entries on the relationship between women and religion from the beginning of time to the present and with respect to geography.

Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. (Ref. BL 65 .P7 E53 2007) 2 vols. Contains 300 articles of varying length on the relationship between politics and religion.

Encyclopedia of Angels. (Print, Ref. BL 477 .G87 1996) Alphabetical listing of angels across religions. Also includes entries on people or events, such as dreams, associated with angels. Extensive bibliography at end. Related to this work is A Dictionary of Angels (Ref. BL 477 .D3.)

Encyclopedia of Heaven. (Ref. BL 540 .V36 1999)

Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls.   (Ref. BM 487 .E53 2000)   2 volumes.   Contains scholarly essays which encompass not just the Qu'ran scrolls but all the collections of the Judean Desert texts.

Witchcraft Today: An Encylopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions.   (Ref. BF 1571 .L49 1999)   This books gives an A-Z explanation of concepts, holidays, rituals, etc.

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'a¯n.   (Ref. BP 133. E53 2001)   This is a multi-volume set of which A-D exists. Contains articles of varying length on important people, concepts, places, values and events.

Encyclopedia of Monasticism.   (Ref. BL 631 .E63 2000)   Two volumes, covers all religious monasticism. The entries are scholarly and comprehensive. There is an alphabetical list of entries and a thematic one in volume 1.

The Malcolm X Encyclopedia.   (Ref. BP 223 .Z8 L57 M35 2002)   Composed of theme essays on topics such as Nation of Islam or Elijah Muhammed and entries on people and events related to Malcolm X.

Encyclopedia of Religious Rites, Rituals, and Festivals. (Ref. BL 31 .E47 2004) Contains 130 articles and 60 sidebars on rituals in different cultures.

Religions of the World. (Ref BL 80.3 .R45 2002) This 4-volume set contains 1200 entries. Most entries are several pages and contain references.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. (Ref BL 80.3 W67 2006) Three volumes. Vol. 1 arranged by religion and vols. 2-3 by countries.

Encyclopedia of Religion and War(Ref. BL 80.3 .E53 2004) Scope includes the major religions, and cultures such as the Aztecs, and their stands on war. Articles are written by scholars.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices. (Ref. BL 80.3 .W67 2006) Three vols. Vol. 1 covers religions and practices and vols. 2 and 3 cover countries.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature. (Ref BL 31 .E465 2005) This two-volume set explores the relationship among humans, religions and living things.

Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. (Ref BL 458 .E52 2006)

The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena. (Ref. BL 31 .E467 2008) Here you will find entries, with references,on such topics as The Shroud of Turin, Feng Shui, etc.

Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. (Ref. BL 2525 .M449 2009). This book is arranged by families, i.e., Lutheran, Holiness and provides background on each family.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. (print copy: Ref. H 40 .A2 I5 2008) Three volumes. Contains lengthy essays on the role of women in various denominations.

Note: Kresge Library also owns several general dictionaries on religion, including: Abingdon Dictionary of Living Religions (Ref. BL 31 .A24); Continuum Dictionary of Religion (Ref. BL 31 .C67 1994); New Dictionary of Religions (Ref. BL 31 .P48 1995); Critical Terms for Religious Studies. Others in BL 31 area.


The Coptic Encyclopedia. (Ref. BX 130.5 .C66 1991 8 vols.) The Copts are both a denomination, one of the earliest Christian churches, and a people, the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. This set contains 2800 signed articles on the culture and church figures of the Coptic Church.

World Christian Encyclopedia. (Ref. BR 157 .W67 2001)  In two volumes, this book does what its subtitle suggests:  "a comparative survey of churches and religions in the modern world."  It is alphabetically arranged by state and contains both statistical and narrative information on the country and the conditions and varieties of Christians within the country.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. (Ref. BR 302.8 .O93 1996) This 4-volume set provides comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the Reformation.

Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. (Ref. BR 162.2 .E53 1990) Includes 9757 entries on people, doctrines, places and heresies from the time of Jesus to 600 CE.

Sacramentum Mundi. (Ref. BR 95 .S23 1969) Written with a Catholic focus. Includes signed articles of substantial length on theological investigations of present problems.

New Catholic Encyclopedia. (Ref. BX 841 .N44 2003) Contains 12,000 signed articles on institutions, religions, philosophies and scientific and cultural developments related to the Catholic Church. Volume 15 is an index.

The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History. (Ref. BX 1406.2 .E53 1997)  No aspect of American Catholicism is left untouched. Most of the entries are about a page or so although there is extended treatment  for big topics like immigration. Includes bibliographies.

The Encyclopedia of American Religious History. (Ref. BL 2525 .Q44 2001) Not limited to Christianity, this book "attempts to cover the immense diversity of religious life in America." Includes Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and alternative religions. Entries are on people, events and organizations.

Encyclopedia of African American Religions. (Ref. BR 563 .N4 E53 1993) Includes 1200 entries, mostly biographical, on people, churches, schools and organizations relating to Black American religious life.

Encyclopedia of Religion in the South. (Ref. BR 535 .E52 2005) Covers all aspects of religion in the south including biographies, doctrines and theological movements and several other areas.

Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. (Ref. BL 2525 .M449 2009) Contains essays on religious families, i.e., Lutherans, and a directory providing information on 2300 groups within those families. The creeds of various religions and specific groups in the U.S. and Canada are delineated in The Encyclopedia of American Religions, Religious Creeds (Ref. BT 990 .E58 1988).

Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience. (Ref. BL 2525 .E53 1988) Includes 65 lengthy essays by leading scholars grouped under 9 broad subjects, including Jewish and Christian Tradition; Movements in American Religion; The Dissemination of American Religion and so on.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. (Ref. BR 95 .O8 2005) Presents scholarly concepts and people related to Christianity with less emphasis on the Bible. Entries tend to be short except for important people or ideas.

The Encyclopedia of Christianity. (Ref. BR 95 .E8913 1999)  Five volume set. Contains essay type articles written by the top people in the field. Also bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of Religion in American Politics. (Ref. BL 2525 .E52 1999)  Contains 700 alphabetically arranged entries covering people, events, court cases, concepts and denominations. Also contains speeches, documents and organizations.

Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion. (Ref. BL 2525 .B45 1998)  First, religion is defined broadly to include ecofeminists and wiccans. Still, the emphasis is on Christianity and particularly on women who influenced American  religion. The scope includes individuals, organizations and groups.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Society.   (Ref. BL 60 .E53 1998)   This volume examines the influence that anthropology, psychology, and sociology have had on various religious topics.

Oxford Companion to Christian Thought.   (Ref. BR 95 .O94 2000)   While the title does not suggest that this is an encyclopedia, it functions as an encyclopedia.  Here the reader will find authoritative essays on ideas and the people behind these ideas.

Contemporary American Religion.   (Ref. BL 2525 .C65 2000)   This two-volume work contains 500 essays on topics like beliefs, practices, symbols, movement, trends.

Encyclopedia of Saints.   (Ref. BX 4655.8 .G85 2001)   Mostly western saints or those who were canonized before the schism of 1054.  The classic in this genre is Butler's Lives of the Saints (Ref. BX 4654 .B8 1991). Another new book in this genre is The Book of Saints (Ref. BX 4655.3 .B66 2002). It has short entries--not scholarly.

The Papacy:  An Encyclopedia.   (Ref. BX 955.2 .D53 2002)    Covers all the popes and anti-popes A-Z and topics related to the papacy, like encyclicals, religious orders and the arts.

Great Popes through History. (Ref. BX 955.3 .G74 2002)

Prime-Time Religion: An Encyclopedia of Religious Broadcasting. (BV 656 .M45 1997; 3rd floor)

Encyclopedia of Monasticism. (Ref. BL 631 .E63 2000)

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. (Ref. BX 4811.3 .E53 2004; 4 vols.)

Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism.  (Ref. BR 1640 .B35 2004) This one-volume title by an eminent scholar covers important people and events in evangelism. Includes references.

Catholic Encyclopedia Online version of the 1913 edition.

World Christian Database
Good for statistical information.

Key Words in Christianity (Ref. BR 95 .G43 2006)

The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. (Ref. BR 1644 .D53 2003) Arranged first by country and then by topic.


Kresge Library has several atlases, among them the New Atlas of the Bible (Ref. BS 621 .N4413 1969b); the Rand McNally Bible Atlas (Ref. BS 630 .K7 1966); The Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible (Ref. BS 630 .W7); The Atlas of Holy Places & Sacred Sites (Ref. BL 580 .W55 1996); Atlas of the World's  Religions (Ref.BL 80.2 .A85 1999); Historical Atlas of Religions (Ref. BL 80.2 .F27 2002); and Historical Atlas of Christianity (Ref. BR 98 .L58 2001). Also available, Atlas of the Bible, Andromeda.


The Anchor Bible Dictionary. (Ref. BS 440 .A54 1992) Contains 6200 entries on every proper name and major word from each book of the Bible and other biblical texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. We have several other Bible dictionaries in the BS 440 area, all of which are single volume works of varying vintage. See also The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Ref. BS 491.2 .I553), a 4-volume work which identifies all proper nouns, significant terms and subjects in the Bible. Available electronically is the Macmillan Dictionary of the Bible.

The Interpreter's Bible. (Ref. BS 491.2 .I55) Contains expositions and exegesis of every verse in the Bible. Includes original text. Volume 1 contains several long essays on "The Literature and Religion of the Apocrypha," "The Old Testament World" and so on. Kresge Library has several one-volume commentaries on the Bible including the Jerome Biblical Commentary (Ref. BS 491.2 .B7 1968). Written by Catholic scholars, it contains commentary on all of the books of the Bible. See also the Concise Bible Commentary (Ref. BS 491 .C625). Almost one-third of it contains lengthy essays on such topics as "Hebrew Laws," "The Life of Jesus," "Gentile Background of the New Testament" and many more.


American Religious Leaders. (Ref. BL 72 .H33 2003) Religion is widely interpreted to include spiritualism and native religions.

Who's Who in Christianity.

Who's Who in the Old Testament

Who's Who in the New Testament

A concordance will locate a specific word in a text. Kresge Library has several Bible concordances; they are located in the BS 425 area. There is also a Modern Concordance to the New Testament (Ref. BS 2305 .M6 1976b).
Historical Dictionary of Sikhism (Ref. BL 2017.3 .M35 2005) Paragraph entries for key ideas in Sikhism.

Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. (Ref. BQ 128 .E5) Six volumes to date, published in parts. This set attempts to provide a "comprehensive account of the origins of this world religion, and the developments that have taken place." It covers all aspects of Buddhist thought, history, civilization, and personal and place names, etc. Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Ref. BQ 128 .E62 2004), a two-volume set, is the latest addition to this subject and the best place to start exploring a research paper. Articles are signed and sometimes include bibliographies. We also own A Popular Dictionary of Buddhism (Ref. BQ 130 .H8 1963) and A Dictionary of Buddhism (Ref. BQ 130 .L45 1981). Key Words in Buddhism (Ref. BQ 130 .G43 2006) gives short definitions. Available electronically is Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism.
Literati Accesses reference books published by Credo


The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion. (Ref. BM 50 .W45 1966) Provides "concise, accurate and non-technical information on Jewish beliefs and practices, religious movements and doctrines. . . ." Two other encyclopedias include: The Book of Jewish Knowledge (Ref. BM 50 .A8), a single volume encyclopedia of the Jews and Judaism from ancient times to the present; A Book of Jewish Concepts (Ref. BM 50 .B55) provides the essential teachings of Judaism. Use the index in the back. The reader is also advised to consult The Encyclopaedia Judaica (Ref. DS 102.8 .E65), a 22-volume work that provides thousands of articles, most of which have bibliographies. Better yet check out the Encyclopedia Judaica, 2nd ed. Also available are the New Encyclopedia of Judaism and Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend.

The Jewish Encyclopedia. (Ref. DS 102.8 .J65) This 12-volume set is out-of-date (1916) but considered useful for its biographies. Since the Jewish people and Judaism are so related, browse the area of DS 102.8.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion (Ref. BM 50 .O94 1997) contains entries on the Jewish religion not the Jewish people. Similar in scope and outline is The Jewish Religion: A Companion (Ref. BM 50 .J28 1995).

Key Words in Judaism. (Ref. BM 50 .G43 2006)

Literati Accesses referencve books published by Credo
The Hindu World (Ref. BL 1105 .W34 1968) is "derived from standard works of religious authorities." We also have a Popular Dictionary of Hinduism (Ref. BL 1105 .W47 1994); Harper's Dictionary of Hinduism (Ref. BL 1105 .S88 1977), A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion (Ref. BL 1105 .D6) and Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (also in print, Ref. BL 1105 .D35 2002).

Note: The reader is also directed to The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion (Ref. BL 1005 .L4813 1989). Contains about 4000 unsigned definitions and short biographies on Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen and Taoism.

Key Words in Hinduism (Ref. BL 1105 .G43 2006)

Accesses reference books publised by Credo


The Encyclopaedia of Islam. (Ref. DS 37 .E523) Twelve volumes. A work of high scholarship. Covers biography, geography, religion, tribes, science and more. Important topics are comprehensive. A new edition is in progress. Another title to look at is The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (Ref. DS 35.53 .O96 2009) which attempts to complement the Encyclopaedia of Islam. It focuses on the modern period (end of the eighteenth century) and it relies heavily on the social sciences.

The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World (Print, Ref. BP 40 .E525 2004) is a 2 vol. set. Entries are scholarly but not long.

A Popular Dictionary of Islam. (Ref. BP 40 .N48 1992) Surveys diverse terms on Islam's religion, theology, philosophical law; art and architecture.

The Muslim Almanac. (Ref. BP 40 .M83 1996) Emphasis is on the regional development of Islam throughout the world. Heavy emphasis on Islamic culture.

The Malcolm X Encyclopedia. (Ref. BP 223 .Z8 L57 M35 2002)

Key Words In Islam. (Ref. BP 40 .G396 2006)

Islamism: A Documentary and Reference Guide. (Ref. BP 161.3 .C35 2008) Arranged by broad topic such as women, social and economic justice, democracy with documents.

The New Encyclopedia of Islam (Ref. BP 40 .G42 2002)

The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia. (Ref. BP 133 .Q73 2006)

The Qur'an.

Literati accesses refeence books published by Credo

The Encyclopedia of Taoism. (Ref. BL 1923 .E63 2007)
Specific Religions

Facets of Religion is a gateway to most of the world's religions. The sites below were not taken from this site.


The Hindu Universe.
Links to 17,000 sites covering scriptures, worship, philosophy and customs.



Buddhist Studies on the WWW Virtual Library.
Links to various forms of Buddhism including Zen and Tibetan, also art and texts.

Open the drop downs for Buddha studies and magazines.


Islam and Islamic Studies Resources.
Scroll down to the bottom and you will see how this site is organized into 12 basic categories.

Islam and Islamic History in Arabia and the Middle East
Covers time and worship, organization, glossary, etc.

Islam - There are hundreds of sites here.

Covers other webguides, texts, academic organizations, periodicals, music and videos.

Islamic Studies
Many sites on Islamic faith.


Jainism:  Jain Principles, Tradition and Practices.
Organized around ten categories such as texts, images, pilgrimages, history, directories, etc.

Judaism and Jewish Sources
This is allegedly the best Jewish site on the web.  It uses a "directory" format that provides links to learning, communities, Israel, the Holocaust. 

Jewish Studies Resources


Gateway to Sikhism.
This site is organized around Sikh subjects such as prayer, scriptures, ethics, women and martyrs.

This site has audio and realtime videos that are instructional and devotional in nature.



Center for Daoist Studies


Traditional Zoroastrianism: Tenets of the Religion.


Christian Resources on the Internet
There are three sections, 6, 7, and 8, that will be most useful.  They use an alphabetical or subject guide to web sources.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Collects a theological library of 1000 public domain sites.

Bible Gateway.
This is a source for reading and researching the Bible. The reader may choose from 81 Bibles, 16 translations and from 29 languages.


Dan Ring
Dan Ring The content of this guide was originally curated by Dan Ring.


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