Review of Biblical Literature Online

The Society of Biblical Literature Website

The American Academy of Religion Website

Renfro Library Research Guides

Renfro Library Religion and Philosophy Links

Using the Best Sources

A responsible paper will make use of the best available sources of information.

This guide provides a handy reference list of those sources and databases of sources that I consider as the standard sources or one might say usual suspects in the areas of research that I do and that I require students to do.

While a number of these resources are aimed at any scholarly discipline, a few of them are specific to Biblical and religious studies.

Gale Virtual Reference Library

The chief weakness of many student papers is their failure do basic research in reliable encyclopedias before setting out into the secondary and primary literature.

Gale Virtual Reference Library (this link functions for ACA and Mars Hill College students only) is a an online database containing a huge selection of very authoritative academic encyclopedias. The encyclopedias offer authoritative introductory and basic information in thousands of sujects. Most encyclopedia articles are signed by their authors, making them easy to write about in your papers and cite in your footnote and in your bibliography.

Oxford Reference Online

Oxford Reference Online (this link is for ACA and MHC students only) contains a searchable database of a large number of encyclopedias, dictionaries, companions, and other reference works all published by the very reputable Oxford University Press. Most of the best, longer articles are signed. This site is a priceless resource for quick and dirty information. It is authoritative and reliable. Use this instead of Wikipedia whenever you are looking for dates and basic factual information about a topic.


JSTOR (this link is for ACA and MHC students only) is by far the coolest of the places to find secondary, peer-reviewed literature. The huge database at JSTOR contains the full text of hundreds of thousands of articles found in all the leading academic journals. An outstanding collection of religious, philosophical, classical, Biblical, and theological studies journals is archived at JSTOR. The articles in this database are diverse, and span almost 200 years of scholarship: from the early 19th to the early 21st century. The main drawback to JSTOR is that the full text articles are all at least 5 years old. But scholarship moves slowly. You can't go wrong with doing research in JSTOR.


WorldCat is truly awesome. The database contains entries on full catalogs of thousands of libraries. There is a Public WorldCat and a Subscription WorldCat (the latter link is for NCLIVE customers only). Use WorldCat to invesitage the publication history of books, to verify publication information, and otherwise make your bibliography sound. The best part about WorldCat is, if you log in through your school library, it knows what your library is and will tell you if it has the book you just discovered!

Google Books

Google Book Search not only indexes many of the latest books published by thousands of publishers, allowing you to search in book content to find the latest scholarly references to topics that interest you, but it also houses the full text of hundreds of thousands of books that are in the public domain (usually, this means works or translations that are about 80 years of age and older). In most cases, public domain books can be read on line or downloaded. To find books in the public domain, set your search results pull-down bar to "Full Text Only." is a lot like Google books, except not quite as extensive in its collection. They have an amazing collection of public domain books. If you can't find an old book on Google books, check the Archive.

Online Libraries of Ancient Primary Sources

Many different collections of primary sources can be found online. This is a partial list of some of the best such collections.

• For students of world religion and mythology, the collection of public domain texts at can prove incredibly useful.
• For students of Christianity, the collection at Christian Classics Ethereal Library is a wonderful aid.

• For students of early Christian literature, a great library can be found at

• The library of Ancient Near Eastern texts found at (Electroic Tools and Ancient Near Eastern Archives) is absolutely fabulous.

• The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature from the Oxford Oriental Institute is very good on ancient Akkadian and other Mesopotamian texts.

• For ancient texts in general, one can use The Ancient History Sourcebook at Fordham and The Perseus Digital Library at Tufts.

• For Greco-Roman texts you can use Lacus Curtius at University of Chicago.

•The Internet Classics Archive at MIT contains many important works.

• The abriged online version of the Thesaurus Linguae Grecae contains the full Greek text of a number of important authors.

Basically every ancient text which was translated and published in a printed edition prior to 1929 is available for free somewhere online. You just have to figure out how to search for it. The Latin titles used for ancient works in the early 19th century are sometimes the key to finding these antique editions. Be savvy in your searching, and you will be amazed at what you turn up.