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Bible As Literature  

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Bible As Literature


The Bible is one of the central books in the Western tradition, exerting a profound and lasting influence on all areas of life and culture.  The textual history and the construction of the canonical Bible is a long and complex story.  This brief guide provides a basic orientation for locating information on the study of the Bible as literature and related subjects.  Be sure to consult detailed notes in catalog records and also the references and bibliographies in books, articles, and reference works for access to additional readings. 

 Library of Congress Classification
Mapped to Holland & Terrell Library

Click on any of the links below to see where these subjects are physically located in Holland & Terrell Library.  The reference books in these classifications are located in the reference area on the first floor of Holland & Terrell Library just off the Atrium.  (The first floor level is the main entrance to the library.)  

A - General Works J - Political Science R - Medicine
B - Philosophy, Psychology, Religion K - Law S - Agriculture
C - Auxiliary Sciences of History L - Education T- Technology
D - World History M - Music and Books on Music U - Military Science
E - History of the Americas N - Fine Arts W - WSU
G - Geography, Anthropology, Recreation P - Language and Literature Z - Bibliography
H - Social Sciences Q - Science

Holland and Terrell Stack Chart

Stack Chart

Selected Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research Databases

These research databases and eBooks are made available by subscription or purchase through the WSU Libraries.

  • ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials (1908 - current)
    Includes more than 570,000 article citations from 1,677 journals (546 currently indexed), more than 237,000 essay citations from over 16,800 multi-author works, more than 525,000 book review citations, and a growing number of multimedia citations. Full text is provided for more than 285,300 electronic articles and book reviews from 150 journals selected by leading religious scholars. Search Tips
  • Philosopher's Index (1940 - current)
    Bibliography of scholarly works in journals, books, anthologies, contributions to anthologies and book reviews (1960s- ). Indexes aesthetics, axiology, epistemology, ethics, logic, metaphilosophy, metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of education, philosophy of history, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, political philosophy, and social philosophy. Search Tips
  • Historical Abstracts
    Contains citations and abstracts to publications covering the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Publications indexed were published from 1954 to the present. Search Tips
  • Academic Search Complete (EBSCO)
    A comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. In addition to full text, this database offers indexing and abstracts for more than 12,500 journals and a total of more than 13,200 publications including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. Search Tips
  • Oxford Reference Online Library Collection
    Provides access to dictionary, language reference, and subject reference works along with topical companions and a dictionary of quotations, offering full-spectrum subject coverage. The Oxford Reference Library combines over 2 million entries and some 300,000 pages (many of which are illustrated) into a single cross-searchable resource consisting of 180 core academic titles. Search Tips.
  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I
    This database is the world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world, spanning from 1861 to the present day. About ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database Also provides access to full text of WSU authored dissertations. Some WSU full text may have an embargo period. Search Tips
  • MLA International Bibliography (1926 - current)
    Comprehensive coverage of modern languages and literature, including folklore. Linguistics and language materials range from history and theory of linguistics, comparative linguistics, semantics, stylistics, and syntax to translation. Other topics include literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts (film, radio, television, theater), and book history. Search Tips
  • Sociological Abstracts (1963 - current)
    Offers access to the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, with abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,809 serial publications. Also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Updated 6 times a year. Search Tips
  • America: History & Life
    Historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Contains citations and abstracts to journal aritcles, books reviews and dissertations published from 1954-present. Search Tips
    JSTOR offers high-quality, interdisciplinary full-text content from over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. Journals are always included from volume 1, issue 1 and include previous and unrelated titles. Search Tips
  • Project Muse
    Provides full-text access to several hundred titles from 60 university and society presses in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Topical areas include literature, history, politics and policy studies, economics, education, film, religion, and women’s studies as well as book reviews. Search Tips
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research, including research in the arts and humanities. Some full-text content available. Search Tips
  • Iter (Medieval and Renaissance)
    Specialized bibliography comprised of secondary source material pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700). Citations for books and journal material (articles, reviews, review articles, bibliographies, catalogues, abstracts and discographies) are included, as are citations for dissertation abstracts and essays in books (including entries in conference proceedings, festschriften, encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues).
  • Web of Science
    Includes Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences and Science Citation indexes. This multidisciplinary database has searchable author abstract covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities, sciences and social sciences. Updated weekly. Search Tips


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Arts and Humanities through the Eras - Edward Bleiberg, ed.
Call Number: NX440 .A787 2005 (Electronic resource)
Offers a multidimensional picture of primarily Western civilization, covering Ancient Egypt (2675-332 B.C.E.), Ancient Greece and Rome (1200 B.C.E.-476 C.E.), Medieval Europe (814-1450 C.E.), Renaissance Europe (1300-1600 C.E.), and The Age of the Baroque and Enlightenment (1600-1800 C.E.). Provides access to each historical period through the study of nine different arts and humanities topics: "Architecture and Design," "Dance," "Fashion," "Literature," "Music," "Philosophy," "Religion," "Theater," and "Visual Arts."

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Encyclopedia of Religion - Lindsay Jones, editor in chief
Call Number: Hol Ref BL31 .E46 2005 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0028657330
The second edition of a resource that is considered a standard reference in the field. Presents a cross-cultural approach that emphasizes religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture. The original 2,750 entries have been retained, many heavily updated, and approximately 600 entirely new articles have been added by an international team of scholars and contributors.

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Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World - John Roberts, ed.
Call Number: DE5 .O92 2007 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0192801465
From the first Olympic Games in 776 BC to the death of Marcus Aurelius in AD 180, this accessible and wide-ranging reference work draws on the groundbreaking Oxford Classical Dictionary to present more than 2,500 entries on the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. The dictionary covers key aspects of ancient Greek and Roman life and literature, such as science, social structure, philosophy, and religion, and contains comprehensive articles on central....

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Who's Who in the Classical World - Simon Hornblower and Tony Spawforth, eds.
Call Number: DE7 .W48 2003 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0192801074
Holds biographical entries on nearly 500 individuals of central importance from the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, including writers, thinkers, artists, scientists, statesmen, kings, queens, and other historical figures.

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Dictionary of Untranslatables: A Philosophical Lexicon (eBook) - Barbara Cassin, ed.
This is an encyclopedic dictionary of close to 400 important philosophical, literary, and political terms and concepts that defy easy--or any--translation from one language and culture to another. Drawn from more than a dozen languages spanning the classical, medieval, early modern, modern, and contemporary periods, these are terms that influence thinking across the humanities. The entries, written by more than 150 distinguished scholars, describe the origins and meanings of each term, the history and context of its usage, its translations into other languages, and its use in notable texts.

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Oxford Classical Dictionary - Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds.
Call Number: Hol Ref DE5 .O9 2005 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0198606419
In over 6,200 entries, provides both scholars and non-specialists with a comprehensive source of reference which aims to answer all their questions about the classical world. Written by the very best of classical scholars from all over the world, the Dictionary provides coverage of Greek and Roman history, literature, myth, religion, linguistics, philosophy, law, science, art and archaeology, and topics in near eastern studies and late antiquity.

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Oxford English Dictionary - Oxford University Press.
Call Number: Hol Ref PE1625 .O87 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0198611862
Provides etymologies and examples of usage for English words. Especially useful for determining what possible meanings an author may have intended in a given work written at a given time. The online OED is updated on a quarterly basis. The OED is the premier historical dictionary of the English language.

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Oxford Dictionary of National Biography - H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, eds.
Call Number: Hol Ref DA28 .O95 2004- (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 019861411X
Biographies of noteworthy people, no longer living, who inhabited or were connected with the British Isles. Portraits included for more than 10,000 entries.

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New Dictionary of the History of Ideas - Maryanne Cline Horowitz, editor in chief
Call Number: CB9 .N49 2005 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0684314525
A six-volume survey of the history of Western thought and culture, presented through 700 alphabetically arranged entries. Each entry explores the origin, cultural interpretations, and historical themes of such subjects as beauty, love, feminism, diversity, and social capital, among many others.

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American National Biography - General editors, John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes
Call Number: Hol Ref CT213 .A68 1999 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0195206355
Short Biographical sketches of over 18,300 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the United States. Contains thousands of illustrations, 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references, and links to select web sites. Updated quarterly.

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Encyclopedia Britannica Online - Academic ed. - Encyclopædia Britannica
Call Number: AE5 .E363 (Electronic resource)
EBO provides access to over 75,000 articles from the Encyclopædia Britannica; headlines from the New York Times, the BBC, the SBS Australian News Service, and full-text articles from more than 700 magazines and periodicals provided by EBSCO and Proquest; World data; Gateway to the classics; 166,000 Web sites selected by Britannica editors; over 27,000 images and maps, plus 3,300 animations, videos, and audio files; and world atlas. Includes Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary and thesaurus.


The Bible as / and Literature: A Short Reading List

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A History of the English Bible as Literature - David Norton
Call Number: BS585 .N67 2000
ISBN: 0521771404

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A Textual History of the King James Bible - David Norton
Call Number: BS186 .N67 2005
ISBN: 0521771005

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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611 - 2011 - Gordon Campbell
Call Number: BS 186.C35 2011
ISBN: 0199693013
Link is to eBook version. Print copy is also available in stacks.

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Biblical Archaeology: A Very Short Introduction - Eric H. Cline
Call Number: BS621 .C55 2009
ISBN: 0195342631

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Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God - Jack Miles
Call Number: BT220 .M55 2001
ISBN: 0375400141

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Dialogues of the Word: The Bible as Literature According to Bakhtin - Walter L. Reed
Call Number: BS535 .R39 1993
ISBN: 0195079973
eBook version also available.

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God: A Biography - Jack Miles
Call Number: BS1192.6 .M6 1995
ISBN: 0679418334

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How to Read the Bible - James L. Kugel
Call Number: BS1171.3 .K84 2007
ISBN: 074323586X

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Literature and the Bible - David Bevan, ed.
Call Number: PN56.B5 L57x 1993
ISBN: 9051834977

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Reading the Bible as Literature: An Introduction - Jeanie C Crain
Call Number: BS535 .C73 2010
ISBN: 0745635083

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The Art of Biblical Narrative, rev. ed. - Robert Alter
Call Number: BS1171.3 .A45 2011
ISBN: 0465022553
eBook version also available.

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The Bible as it Was - James L. Kugel
Call Number: BS1225.2 .K84 1997
ISBN: 0674069404

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The Bible as Literature: An Introduction - John B Gabel, et al
Call Number: BS535 .G25 2006
ISBN: 0195179072

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The Bible in English: Its History and Influence - David Daniell
Call Number: BS455 .D27 2003
ISBN: 0300099304

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The Bible: A Biography - Karen Armstrong
Call Number: BS450 .A76 2007
ISBN: 0871139693

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The Bible: A Literary Study - John H Gottcent
Call Number: BS535 .G67 1986
ISBN: 0805779515

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The Bible: A Very Short Introduction - John Kenneth Riches
Call Number: BS445 .R53 2000
ISBN: 0192853430

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The Gnostic Gospels - Elaine H. Pagels
Call Number: BT1390 .P3
ISBN: 0394502787

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The Great Code: The Bible and Literature - Northrop Frye
Call Number: PN56.B5 F7
ISBN: 015136902X

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The Literary Guide to the Bible - Robert Alter and Frank Kermode
Call Number: BS511.2 .L58 1987
ISBN: 0674875303

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The World of Biblical Literature - Robert Alter
Call Number: BS535 .A57 1992
ISBN: 0465092551


Indexes & Book Reviews

Print and electronic information about scholarly journals, book review citations, and retrospective periodicals indexing.

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Humanities International Index - Whitston Publishing
Call Number: Electronic resource
Covers journals, books, and other important reference sources in the humanities, with indexing and abstracts for more than 2,300 journals encompassing millions of cumulative records. International in scope, contains citations to articles, essays and reviews, and original creative works including poetry, fiction, photographs, paintings, and illustrations. Search Tips

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Humanties and Social Sciences Index Retrospective (1907 - 1984) - H.W. Wilson
Call Number: Electronic resource
Offers a wide range of important journals in the humanities and social sciences, including comprehensive indexing of nearly 1,200 periodical as well as citations to more than 1,300,000 articles, over 240,000 book reviews, many of which are peer-reviewed. Specific topical areas include art, classical studies, dance, film, folklore, literary & social criticism, literature, music, performing arts, philosophy, and religion & theology. Full-text content available. Indexes reviews. Search Tips

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Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (1900/1904 - 2005) - H.W. Wilson Co.
Call Number: Holland/Terrell Libraries Compact-Storage D856
ISBN: 00340464
Standard reference index to popular publications from a variety of fields and disciplines. Check "availability and request options" in the catalog record for all locations of this title.

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Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982) - H.W. Wilson Company
Call Number: Electronic resource
Comprehensive indexing of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States, reflecting the history of 20th century America. Access to over 3 million articles from approximately 375 leading magazines; many of the articles are peer reviewed. Search Tips

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Ulrich's Periodicals Directory - ProQuest / Serials Solutions
Call Number: Z6941 .U51 (Electronic resource)
Standard library directory and comprehensive information database on popular magazines, academic journals, and other serial publications like business and trade magazines. Includes ISSNs, title variants and other publishing information, formats, and whether titles are peer-reviewed or available on open access. Multiple access points, including title, subject, and ISSN searching. Continuously updated.

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Book Review Digest Retrospective: 1903-1982 - H.W. Wilson Company
Call Number: Electronic resource
Virtually every major idea that shaped the 20th century found expression in books. The reactions to those ideas are reflected in the reviews of those books, and this new database makes it easy to search this vast record of information. Reflecting nearly eight decades of H.W. Wilson’s Book Review Digest, this database provides excerpts from and citations to reviews of adult and juvenile fiction and non-fiction. Reviews of 300,000 books. Search Tips

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Book Review Digest Plus (1983- ) - H.W. Wilson Company
Call Number: Electronic resource
Provides access to book reviews on a wide range of topics and from a variety of sources on academic works, fiction and non-fiction, the humanities and social sciences, foreign language reviews, and narrow and specialized subjects. Updated daily. Search Tips

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Book Review Digest (1905 - 2004) - H.W. Wilson Co.
Call Number: Holland/Terrell Libraries Compact-Storage D869
ISBN: 00067326
Cites and provides excerpts of reviews of current English-language fiction and nonfiction books for children and adults. An abstract of each book is also provided. Periodical coverage includes leading magazines from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.

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Book Review Index (1965-2003) - Gale Cengage Learning
Call Number: Hol Ref Z1035.A1 B6
ISBN: 05240581
Provides quick access to reviews of books, periodicals, books on tape and electronic media representing a wide range of popular, academic and professional interests. Coverage and citations for both newly published and older materials


Searching the Audiobooks Collection in the Libraries


Go to the Advanced Search screen of Search It and select in subject from the drop-down menu. Type audiobooks in the search box.  Your search should look like the sample image above.


Selected Resources in the Holland & Terrell Reference Collection

Companions / Encyclopedias / Handbook

The Holland and Terrell Library print reference collection is located on the 1st floor of Terrell (main library entrance) behind the reference desk.

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The Bible: A Historcial and Literary Introduction - Bart D. Ehrman
Call Number: Hol Ref BS475.3 E37 2014
ISBN: 9780195308167

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The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture - John F A Sawyer
Call Number: Hol Ref BS538.7 .B62 2006
ISBN: 1405101369

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Cambridge Companion to the Bible - Bruce Chilton; Howard Clark Kee; et al
Call Number: Hol Ref BS475.2 .C36 2008
ISBN: 0521691400

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The Oxford Companion to the Bible - Bruce Manning Metzger; Michael David Coogan; Oxford University Press
Call Number: Hol Ref BS440 .M434 1993
ISBN: 0195046455
eBook version also available.

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Encyclopedia of Religion (multi-volume) - Lindsay Jones, editor in chief
Call Number: Hol Ref BL31 .E46 2005
ISBN: 0028657330
eBook version is also available.

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Religion Past and Present (multi-volume) - Hans Dieter Betz et al, eds.
Call Number: Hol Ref BL31 .R4213 2007
ISBN: 900413980X


Anchor Yale Bible Series

The Anchor Yale Bible series is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.

The Anchor Yale Bible is committed to producing commentaries in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the series, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist. Its approach is grounded in exact translation of the ancient languages and an appreciation of the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written supplemented by insights from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism.



Very Short Introductions

Concise introductory monographs on a wide range of topics, including the arts and humanities.


List of full-text religion periodicals currently indexed in JSTOR.

Research Services - Arts & Humanities

Profile Image
Bob Matuozzi
Contact Info
Holland and Terrell Libraries Terrell 120-J
Office Phone: 509-335-7587

Specialized and advanced research consultations by appointment.
Send Email
Library Liaison to:
Department of English • Department of Fine Arts (including Photography) • Philosophy Department (including Religion) • School of Music

Citation & Research Tools

  • Why We Cite
    A brief tutorial on the role of citation in scholarly and academic writing. (Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • How We Cite
    A brief tutorial on how to integrate outside sources to your paper. (Writing Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Purdue University - Research and Citation Resources
  • WSU Libraries Quick Ciatation Guides
  • Primary vs. Secondary Sources
    Offers definitions and examples from different scholarly disciplines. (Produced by The Borough of Manhattan Community College.)
  • Scholarly Journals vs. Magazines
    A chart which defines and contrasts scholarly journals and articles with other types of periodical literature. (Produced by the University of Central Florida Libraries)
  • Annotated Bibliographies
    "This handout will explain why annotated bibliographies are useful for researchers, provide an explanation of what constitutes an annotation, describe various types of annotations and styles for writing them, and offer multiple examples of annotated bibliographies in the MLA, APA, and CBE/CSE styles of citation." (Writing Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Literature Reviews
    "This handout will explain what a literature review is and offer insights into the form and construction of a literature review in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences." (Writing Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • Writing about religion.
    This handout explains several common writing assignments in religious studies and discusses what is unique about writing in this discipline. (Writing Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Helpful Links

  • WSU Religious Studies Program
  • Google Scholar Citations Help
    Google Scholar Citations provides a simple way for authors to keep track of citations to their articles. You can check who is citing your publications, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name, e.g., richard feynman.
  • WorldCat Genres
    "WorldCat Genres allows you to browse dozens of fiction genres for hundreds of titles, authors, subjects, characters, locations and more, ranked by popularity in the world's libraries." (from site)

Research Guides

Cover Art
The Oxford Guide to Library Research, 3rd ed. - Thomas Mann
Call Number: Z710 .M23 2005
ISBN: 0195189981

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The Modern Researcher, 6th ed. - Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff
Call Number: LB2369 .B28 2004
ISBN: 9780495318705

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The Craft of Research, 3rd ed. - Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams
Call Number: Q180.55.M4 B66 2008 (Electronic resource)
ISBN: 0226065669
Print also available.

Collection Development Policy


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