Basic Bibliographies for Theological Research

I’ve been working on some bibliographic resources for the upcoming Fall semester at GCTS, and I thought I’d pass this along. Below is a list of basic bibliographic resources for theological studies.* These books and resources serve as “gateways” to more resources. I’ve also included a few guides to writing theology and research in general. For each entry I’ve provided the Library of Congress call number to the text in the Goddard Library (where I work). I’ve also provided links to to Amazon.com for purchase and Worldcat.org for local library holdings. If you have any further suggestions for research guides in theology, pass them along in the comments.

Theological Research in General

  • Barber, Cyril J., and Robert M. Kraus, Jr. Introduction to Theological Research: A Guide for College and Seminary Students. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2000. First choice for purchase (after Turabian). The paragraph style has more explanation than Stewart. Ref. BR118.B28 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Kepple, Robert J., and John R. Muether. Reference Works for Theological Research: An Annotated Selective Bibliographical Guide. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1992. Ref. Z7751.K46 1991 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Stewart, David R. Literature of Theology. Rev. ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003. Especially recommended for more recent material. Evangelicals are well represented. Second choice for purchase (ca. $14) after Barber (and Turabian). Ref. Z7751.B67 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Tucker, Dennis C. Research Techniques for Scholars and Students in Religion and Theology. Medford, N.J: Information Today, 2000. Very helpful, especially for undergrads, despite its simplicity and curious old fashionedness at points. Circ. BL41.T83 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat

Church History

  • Bradley, James E. and Richard A. Muller, Church History: An Introduction to the Research, Reference Works, and Methods. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. Electronic resources mentioned should be supplemented with Stewart (above). Ref. BR138.B69 1995 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Note also patrologies for the literature of the Early Church (most notably, Johannes Quasten’s Patrology. Ref. BR67.Q2 1983).

Biblical Studies

  • Bauer, David R. Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources for Ministry. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003. Especially recommended as a comprehensive listing for biblical studies (327 p.). First choice for use in the library. Ref. Z7770.B38 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Evans, Craig A. Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005. Highly recommended for Interp. students. Provides introduction and bibliography for background material. Ref. BS2530 .E93 2005 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Sparks, Kenton L. Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2005. Ref. BS 1184 .S63 2005 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Pay close attention to multiple bibliographies in Ref. Z7770-Z7772; Z7806; Z8455-Z8685

Bible Commentary Evaluation

  • Carson, D. A. New Testament Commentary Survey. 6th ed. Grand Rapids, Baker: 2007. Ref. BS2341.2.C33 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Glynn, John. Commentary and Reference Survey. 10th ed. Grand Rapids, Kregel: 2007. Ref. BS511.3 .G59 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Longman, Tremper, III. Old Testament Commentary Survey. 4th ed. Grand Rapids, Baker: 2007. Ref. Z7772.A1 L64 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Stuart, Douglas K. Guide to Selecting and Using Bible Commentaries. Dallas: Word, 1990. Out of date but still valuable. Ref. Z7770.S88 1990 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *The Denver Journal. Excellent reviews and commentary lists. Before you buy, check these lists! http://www.denverseminary.edu/resources/the-denver-journal/

Style Manuals

  • *Alexander, Patrick, et al. SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies. 1st ed. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999. Ref. PN147.S26 1999 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2003. Parenthetic documentation. Ref. LB2369.G53 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • LeMon, Joel M. (ed.) Student Supplement for The SBL Handbook of Style. Accomplishes what the title implies, providing guidelines for writing term papers and theses, and clearing up some ambiguities in the SBL Handbook. Available at http://www.sbl-site.org/assets/pdfs/sblhs_ss92804_revised_ed.pdf.
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2001. Ref. BF76.7.P83 2001 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • *Turabian, Kate L. Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. 7th ed. Rev. by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2007. Basic style guide, based on the Chicago manual of style. A must have. Ref. LB2369.T8 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat

Guides to Theological Writing / Writing Well

  • *Booth, Wayne C., Joseph M. Williams, and Gregory G. Colomb. The Craft of Research. 3rd ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2008. Library has 2nd ed. Circ. Q180.55.M4 B66 2003 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Core, Deborah. The Seminary Student Writes. St. Louis: Chalice, 2000. Circ. BR117.C67 2000 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Vyhmeister, Nancy J. Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Ref. BL41 .V94 2007 | Amazon | Worldcat
  • Yaghjian, Lucretia B. Writing Theology Well: A Rhetoric for Theological and Biblical Writers. New York & London: Continuum, 2006. Circ BR44.Y34 2006 | Amazon | Worldcat

*This list was originally put together by the former Director of the Goddard Library, Dr. Freeman Barton. I’ve been updating it over the last few years.

3 thoughts on “Basic Bibliographies for Theological Research”

  1. Hi Jim,

    The resources for bibliographic resources are practically endless, so the possibilities for expanding this list are great. I'm not clear if your list is meant to focus on resources for a more narrow or broad definition of theological studies.

    Beale & Carson's Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

    How about Norman Elliott Anderson's Tools for Bibliographical Research on the New Testament?

    Also, the bibliographical entries for certain dictionary resources are very useful. For example, the black dictionary series by IVP. Or, the bibliographies included for every section in the Word Biblical Commentary Series. The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls that's on sale right now for something like 75% off.

    And then there's BestCommentaries.com for Bible Commentary evaluation. Of course, we'll have to wait and see how useful it ends up becoming.

    Just some ideas, but I don't know if these really fit the niche of the list you're keeping.

  2. Norm Anderson’s TBBRNT is a great resource, but it is need of a major updating. I think it’s currently usurped by Craig Evans’ work (though there’s a lot of good stuff in the TBBRNT). I heartily concur with your suggestion about the WBC. I often point students to the their bibliographies. Beale & Carson's commentary makes me drool, and the IVP dictionaries are superb.

    As far as general bibliography goes, nothing replaces the ATLA Religion Database or New Testament Abstracts/Old Testament Abstracts!

    The main purpose of this list is to guide people to other guides. It’s kind of a ‘meta guide’ for theological research.

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