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Reference Sources


When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Religious Studies. To find additional reference materials, check UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • The Encyclopedia of religion [HIL-REF BL31 .E46 1987 vols. 1-16]

    Includes bibliographies and index.

  • The Brill dictionary of religion [HIL-REF BL31 .M4813 2007 vols. 1-4]

    The Brill Dictionary of Religion describes and analyses the multi-faceted roles of religions, both historically and in contemporary societies. This well-illustrated, comprehensive reference work engages religion as an important element of daily life and public communication.

  • Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online
    Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
  • Oxford Reference
    Multi-part database of the online versions of Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published dictionaries and encyclopedias. Additionally, information about Oxford University Press is provided. Online texts will be updated after new editions of the print monographs are published.Covers the humanities and social sciences.
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • The Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity
    This title is part of the Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online e-book collection available through the Wiley Online Library.
    Permitted Use | Purchased multi-user unlimited access
  • The Blackwell Companion to the Study of Religion
    This title is part of the Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online e-book collection available through the Wiley Online Library.
    Permitted Use | Purchased multi-user unlimited access
  • The Routledge companion to the study of religion
    see also [HIL-REF BL41 .R685 2005]

    The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion is a major resource for everyone taking courses in religious studies. It begins by explaining the most important methodological approaches to religion - including psychology, philosophy, anthropology and comparative study - before moving on to explore a wide variety of critical issues such as gender, science, fundamentalism, ritual and new religious movements. Written by renowned international specialists, and using clear and accessible language throughout, it is an excellent guide to the problems and questions found in exams and on courses. Book jacket. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The Oxford handbook of philosophy of religion [HIL-REF BL51 .O94 2005]

    The philosophy of religion as a distinct discipline is an innovation of the last two hundred years, but its central topics--the existence and nature of the divine, humankind's relation to it, the nature of religion and its place in human life--have been with us since the inception of philosophy. Philosophers have long critically examined the truth of (and rational justification for) religious claims, and have explored such philosophically interesting phenomena as faith, religious experience and the distinctive features of religious discourse. The second half of the twentieth-century has been an especially fruitful period, with philosophers using new developments in logic and epistemology to mount both sophisticated defenses of, and attacks on, religious claims.The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion contains newly commissioned chapters by 21 prominent experts who cover the field in a comprehensive but accessible manner. Each chapter is expository, critical, and representative of a distinctive viewpoint. The Handbook is divided into two sections. The first, "Problems," covers the most frequently discussed topics, among them arguments for God's existence, the problem of evil, and religious epistemology. The second is called "Approaches" and contains four essays assessing the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of practicing philosophy of religion.The Handbook offers contributors of high stature who present substantive and in-depth treatment of the most central topics. It is a must-have reference for anyone with an interest in philosophy and religion. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • A history of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim perspectives on war and peace [HIL-REF BL65 .W2 F76 2004 vols. 1-2]

    Frost (Swarthmore College) has written widely about peace and Quakers. Here he compiles perspectives from the major world religions on war and peace for general readers who are not specialists in the history of religions, the evolution of wars, the relationship between the two, but are interested in how faith communities in the past dealt with issues similar to those in effect now. In addition, he says particular chapters could be used in undergraduate courses and seminars. This first volume covers the origins of the ideas in the five religions, and Euro-American traditions through the 19th century. The two volumes are paged together, and the index and bibliography for both are contained in each. Annotation #169;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Routledge handbook of religious naturalism [HIL-REF BL183 .R68 2018]

    Ecological crisis is being widely discussed in society today and therefore, the subject of religious naturalism has emerged as a major topic in religion. The Routledge Handbook of Religious Naturalism is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising thirty-four chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into seven parts: Varieties of religious naturalism and its relations to other outlooks; Some earlier religious naturalists; Pantheism, materialism, and the value-ladenness of nature; Ecology, humans, and politics in naturalistic perspective; Religious naturalism and traditional religions; Putting religious naturalism into practice; Critical discussions of religious naturalism. Within these sections central issues, debates, and problems are examined, including: defining religious naturalism; religious underpinnings of ecology; natural piety; the religious-aesthetic; ecstatic naturalism as deep pantheism; spiritual ecology; African-American religious naturalism; Christian religious naturalism; Dao and water; Confucianism; environmental action; and practices in religious naturalism. The Routledge Handbook of Religious Naturalism is essential reading for students and researchers in religious studies, theology, and philosophy. The Handbook will also be useful for those in related fields, such as environmental ethics and ecology.

Additional Resources

  • The Oxford handbook of global religions [HIL-REF BL74 .O94 2006]

    Juergensmeyer and his fellow essayists have produced a volume whose purpose is to examine religious communities within a framework of global diversity. After Juergensmeyer's introductory essay considering religious communities as local but also transnational and in diasporas, the focus shifts to six cultural regions--Indic, Buddhist/Confucian, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, African--and local religious societies. Contributors treat these areas with essays that concisely analyze the religions historically and socially; provide information about the organization, size, leaders, and political concerns of the various communities; show how religions provide cultural identity for adherents; and discuss attitudes toward modernity. A final section is devoted to the ways that thinking about religion globally is crucial in an age of globalization (and anti-globalization). The contributors are established scholars who offer information and interpretations that shed light on the role of religions in current events and political dilemmas. This sourcebook will quickly become a standard reference work for scholars and general readers alike. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above; general readers. General Readers; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. Reviewed by L. J. Alderink. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Religions of the world : a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices [HIL-REF BL80.3 .R45 2002 vols. 1-4]

    An extraordinary survey, in four volumes, of the religious belief and practice in all 276 of the world's nations and territories.

  • Worldmark encyclopedia of religious practices [HIL-REF BL80.3 .W67 2006 vols. 1-3]

    With editing and writing by an international group of leading scholars in religion, comparative religion, history, anthropology, and other topics, the essays and entries in this three-volume reference are of high quality and are also accessible to the undergraduate student and general reader. Volume 1 contains 13 essays on the world's major religions, with discussion of their history, practice, and their largest offshoots. Volumes 2 and 3 contain 193 entries on individual countries, arranged alphabetically. Each country entry includes a general historical and geographical introduction followed by systematic discussion of the major religion or religions. Issues connected to religious tolerance are discussed in each entry as are those religions practiced by less than one quarter of the population. The entries conclude with a bibliography. A glossary and an overview of practices and populations are included in the first volume. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of Science and Religion [HIL-REF BL240.3 .E53 2003 vols. 1-2]

    How do the latest medical developments affect belief in faith's healing powers? Can artificial intelligence compare with human consciousness? Are genetic engineers interfering with nature's work? This reference deals with these questions and others, examining the issues and the history associated with the complex relationship between science and religion in more than 400 scholarly articles. Distributed by Syndetic

  • A popular dictionary of Hinduism
    see also [HIL-REF BL2003 .W47 1997]

    A multi-purpose reference work which should become an indispensable companion for anybody who comes into touch with Hinduism. Includes a dictionary of Sanskrit and vernacular terms; a glossary of terms and concepts; and a survey of the historical development of Hinduism.

  • Encyclopedia of politics and religion [HIL-REF BL65 .P7 E53 2007 vols. 1-2]

    From biographical discussion of Muhammad `Abduh (1849-1905), the Egyptian reformer and pioneer of Islamic modernism and nationalism, to the historical development of Zionism, the 281 alphabetical articles in this two-volume encyclopedia are presented by editor Wuthnow (sociology of religion and cultural sociology, Princeton U.) with the intent of showing interconnections between politics and religion and how they "have combined to shape public discourse, affect social attitudes, spark and sustain collective action, and influence policy, especially during the past two centuries." The entries, which range in length from a few hundred to eight thousand words, examine broad themes such as millennialism and pluralism, as well as specific religions, individuals, geographical regions, institutions, and events. Approximately half of the entries have been revised in this second edition, and 25 are either brand new or completely revised. In addition to the alphabetical entries a number of documentary sources are presented, including Martin Luther's Theses, Thomas Jefferson's thought on religious freedom, Federalist Paper no. 10 (on guarding against "factions"), the Balfour Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1998 Irish Peace Accord. Also, reference materials are presented on religious affiliation in countries and regions of the world, constitutions of the world, and politics and religion on the Internet. Annotation #169;2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The encyclopedia of American religious history [HIL-REF BL2525 .Q44 1996 vols. 1-2]

    A comprehensive reference on American religion and religious life, past and present. It covers many forms of religion such as Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, African-American religion, alternative religious movements and sects, trends such as Scientology and the Jesus Movement, and Native American religions. Some 700 alphabetical entries address important people, denominations, organizations, controversial issues (e.g., abortion, evolution, homosexuality), events and themes, and movements. All entries include bibliographic citations and cross-references. With 120 bandw illustrations as well as synoptic and general indexes. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The Oxford handbook of Jewish studies [HIL-REF BM70 .O95 2002]

    The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies reflects the current state of scholarship in the field as analyzed by an international team of experts in the different and varied areas represented within contemporary Jewish Studies. Unlike recent attempts to encapsulate the current state of Jewish Studies, the Oxford Handbook is more than a mere compendium of agreed facts; rather, it is an exhaustive survey of current interests and directions in the field. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The Cambridge companion to the Talmud and rabbinic literature [HIL-REF BM504 .C36 2007]

    This volume guides beginning students of rabbinic literature through the range of historical-interpretive and culture-critical issues that contemporary scholars use when studying rabbinic texts. The editors, themselves well-known interpreters of rabbinic literature, have gathered an international collection of scholars to support students' initial steps in confronting the enormous and complex rabbinic corpus. Unlike other introductions to rabbinic writings, the present volume includes approaches shaped by anthropology, gender studies, oral-traditional studies, classics, and folklore studies. Book jacket. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Encyclopedia of Islamic civilisation and religion [HIL-REF BP40 .E526 2008]

    The non-Muslim world's perceptions of Islam have often tended to be dominated by unrepresentative radical extremist movements. At the same time, many who have had a formal training in Islamic studies have tended to concentrate on the traditional. This book covers the full range of Islamic thought, and also provides coverage of contemporary trends.

  • Encyclopedia of Buddhism [HIL-REF BQ128 .E62 2004 vols. 1-2]

    Such an ambitious undertaking requires clear editorial direction, and this two-volume work was shaped with the aim of better integrating Buddhist studies into the broader areas of research on religion and culture in the West. To this end, contributions address themes such as conversion, evil, hermeneutics, pilgrimage, ritual, sacred space, and worship, as well as Buddhist perspectives on topics in contemporary humanities such as the body, colonialism, gender, modernity, nationalism, among others. Rather than discussing the particularities of the various Buddhist traditions, the entries are in-depth survey articles; they include references to the many traditions, but have a broad focus. Maps, a timeline of Buddhist history, and a synoptic outline of entries support the content. Editor Buswell is affiliated with the U. of California, Los Angeles; he heads an international roster of contributors. Annotation #160;2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The HarperCollins Bible dictionary [HIL-REF BS440 .H235 1996]

    "The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition," is the most complete, up-to-date, and accessible guide for the study of the "Bible" available today. With more than 3,700 lively, informative and easy-to-use entries, this essential reference book provides all the information you need to fully understand the "Bible." Whether you're a member of the clergy or a student of Scripture, you'll find all the important names, places and subjects that make "Bible" study come to life. From Aaron to Zurishaddai, here are all the people, events and ideas of biblical times whether its the ages of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets or the world of the New Testament and the early church. Other significant topics include the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Library, the archaeology of the biblical world and the history of the English "Bible," as well as new sections on African-Americans and the "Bible," feminist interpretations of Scripture and a completely updated pronunciation guide. More than a quarter of the articles in this book are new or totally revised from the first edition of the "Bible Dictionary." Each of the 193 contributors to "The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary"; Protestant, Catholic and Jewish affiliates of the Society of Biblical Literature, is a leading authority in his or her field. Each entry presents the nonsectarian, consensus view of those most knowledgeable in the area. Filled with explanations of biblical beliefs and language and insights into the culture and customs of the people who lived in biblical times, "The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary" will help anyone interested in Scripture more fully appreciate the meaning and message of the "Bible." Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • The New dictionary of Catholic spirituality [HIL-REF BX2350.65 .N49 1993]

    'The New Dictionary of Theology' has been followed by 'The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship, ' edited by Peter Fink, S.J., published by the Liturgical Press: Michael Glazier Books. 'The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality' is intended to be a companion volume to both of these, with a parallel aim and purpose, namely, a collaborative attempt in English to take stock of the remarkable developments in Church and world since the council, but with specific focus on the reform and renewal of Catholic spirituality that the council set in motion. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • American Indian Religious Traditions: An Encyclopedia [HIL-REF E98 .R3 C755 2005 vols. 1-3]

    This three-volume encyclopedia is designed to define the academic study of American Indian religious traditions and to provide a reference that is sensitive to the political and ethical concerns of Native communities. Unlike much previous scholarship, this work attempts to present Native spiritual traditions as the practitioners themselves understand them; contributors are both Native and non-Native. While the complex subject matter is presented in more depth than is typical of dictionary-type references, the entries provide only brief introductions to the subject material. Atypical features include the use of first person narratives, the citation of individual Native elders as authoritative reference sources, and the deliberate omission of subjects that are considered private by Native communities. Entries are listed alphabetically, and the index is located in the third volume. The set includes some maps and black #38; white photographic images. Annotation #169;2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • A Dictionary of Asian Mythology
    "This dictionary features stories of revered deities, sacred places, key events and epics, with many recurring themes and traditions. Entries address the key mythologies of the regions we now call India, China, Tibet, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and Japan, and broad overviews of specific cultures and their mythic traditions round out the coverage."
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences (2nd Ed.)
    Fully revised and updated, the second edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001, offers a source of social and behavioral sciences reference material that is broader and deeper than any other. Available in both print and online editions, it comprises over 3,900 articles, commissioned by 71 Section Editors, and includes 90,000 bibliographic references as well as comprehensive name and subject indexes.

    UNB has online access to the 2001 edition as well as owning print volumes of the earlier edition.
  • Smithsonian Global Sound® for Libraries (Music Online)
    Smithsonian Global Sound provides over 35,000 tracks of music, natural sounds and spoken words, delivered via streaming audio. It includes performances of traditional musics from around the world, poetry readings, environmental sounds, and recordings by legendary folk, jazz and blues performers. Liner notes for many recordings are also available.
  • Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP)
    An authoritative online encyclopedia of philosophy. SEP is a dynamic reference work with in-depth articles written (and kept up-to-date) by experts in the field. All entries are peer-reviewed by a distinguished editorial board.
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, The
    "Abridged from the acclaimed Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, this Concise version is written by an expert team of 80 international and multi-faith contributors. It contains entries on all the major and many minor religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Taoism. Over 500 entries cover movements, sects, and cults, from Cargo Cults and the New Age movement to Rastafarians and Soka Gakkai. Over 1,000 entries explore the sacred writings of religions worldwide, and short biographies of founders, leaders, gurus, philosophers, mystics, and heretics are given. There are details of sacred sites, customs, religious practices, dogmas, beliefs, traditions, festivals and fasts, and artefacts such as altars, rosaries, icons, and torah ornaments. There are also entries on worldwide religious teachings on abortion, animals, birth control, war, homosexuality, and suicide."
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • A Dictionary of Buddhism
    "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."
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • The encyclopedia of women and religion in North America [HIL-REF BL458 .E52 2006 vols. 1-3]

    A comprehensive and up-to-date descriptive and analytical reference on women and religion in North America.

  • The history of science and religion in the western tradition : an encyclopedia [HIL-STACKS BL245 .H57 2000]

    Spanning 5th Century Greece to today, this volume describes the relationship of science and religion throughout history. From ancient cosmology to modern physics, every major intellectual movement and discipline is covered.

  • International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions in Education

    This International Handbook presents the research and professional practice of scholars who are daily engaged in the consideration of these dimensions in education. The result is a collection of essays which reflects the discipline, in all of its internationality, as it is today. Embedded within the chapters is also an agenda for the future, where the religious, moral and spiritual dimensions in education are proposed as an exciting and challenging way forward for educators at all levels in society.

  • The modern Catholic encyclopedia [HIL-REF BX841 .M63 2004]

    "A succinct and contemporary view of the beliefs, practices, and history of Roman Catholics"

  • Oxford Guide to People and Places of the Bible, The
    "This essential guide offers 325 articles that describe the people and places that appear in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible. From prophets, apostles, and groups (such as Hebrews and Angels) to kingdoms and countries, cities and mountains where Biblical events took place."
    Collection limited to subscribed 5-user access
  • Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy (REP) [HIL-REF B51 .R68 1998 vols. 1-10]

    "The unique feature of this dictionary is that it is organized by handshape rather than by alphabetical order. An American Sign Language learner can look up an unfamiliar sign by looking for the handshape rather than by looking up the word in an alphabetical English glossary. At the same time, an English speaker can look up a sign for a specific word by looking at the Index of English Glossaries located at the end of the dictionary. The introduction includes a history of sign language in the United States. Detailed instructions explain the organization of the handshape sections and the ordering of signs. The illustrations are clear and are described in terms of configuration, location, movement, orientation, and nonmanual markers".--"Outstanding Reference Sources: the 1999 Selection of New Titles", American Libraries, May 1999. Comp. by the Reference Sources Committee, RUSA, ALA. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Companion to philosophy of religion

    In 78 newly commissioned essays, this outstanding volume provides a comprehensive and authoritative guide to contemporary philosophy of religion. Written by many of today's leading figures in the field, the volume surveys philosophical thought about religion in Western history, and important currents in twentieth-century philosophy of religion. Theism is treated systematically in discussions of religius language, the concept of God, arguments for and against theistic belief, and its relations to other aspects of culture, such as science and values. A final section on new directions in philosophy of religion explores feminism, religious pluralism, and comparative philosophy of religion. Taken together, the volume is an unparalleled work of reference, and will stand for many years to come as the standard reference resource for students and specialists alike.

  • Undata
    The UNdata database (formerly the United Nations Common Database (UNCDB)) provides access to selected statistical sources from a wide range of UN organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF, UNESCO, and the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, the UNCDB features databases from other international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • Encyclopedia of violence, peace & conflict [HIL-REF HM886 .E53 1999 vols. 1-3]

    This outstanding three-volume set seeks to answer basic questions about modern warfare, conflict, violence, and peace, but also covers current topics such as police brutality, aggression in sports, television violence, and animal aggression. The greatest value of this multivolume work is its interdisciplinary coverage. The set is broken down into 15 subject areas covering approximately 200 different issues. Each article is about 9,000 words, including a definition of the subject, illustrations, glossaries, and bibliographies. It is an excellent source written by scholars from around the world.


Last modified on June 30, 2023 12:31