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Religious Studies Department, SCU
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Table of Contents
  Texts & Versions   Synopses
  Concordances   Commentaries
  Dictionaries   Encyclopedias
  Indexes & Databases   Abstracts
  Handbooks for Exegesis   Original Language Resources
  Pronunciation Guides for Lectors    

Scripture Texts

The Jewish, Christian and Moslem scriptures were originally copied by hand in their original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Arabic) and translated into other languages. Scribal errors and regional differences led to several different versions of each of these books, and also to different lists of books to be included in a given community's "sacred scriptures." This variety of versions and the consequent variety of interpretations caused problems for religious communities. They responded by determining at some point in time which form of each individual book would be official, and which books could be included in their "canon" of sacred scripture.

Major Versions of Jewish, Christian & Moslem Scriptures
  • Jewish Scripture: Tanakh
    Tanakh is an acronym for the Jewish Bible. The term is formed from three consonants, each of which stands for a portion of Jewish scripture (the Hebrew alphabet is consonantal; it does not include vowels). The "T" represents the Torah, or instruction, and includes the first five books of the Bible. The "N" stands for "Nevi'im" or prophets, and includes the early historical books (Joshua-Kings) and the classical prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets). The "K" represents "Ketuvim" or writings, and includes the wisdom literature (e.g., Psalms, Proverbs) and some later historical works (Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles).
    Earliest Texts of Tanakh
    Rollover the scrolls to the left of each title to learn about the text and to view bibliographic references of a single text, or use the arrows in the pop-up windows to view the descriptions in sequence.
    scroll link Biblical Manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls (Q) scroll link The Masoretic Text (MT)
    scroll link The Samaritan Pentateuch () scroll link The Septuagint (LXX)
    Modern Versions of Tanakh
    scroll link Tanakh    
    Online Resources
    • Hebrew-English Tanakh - presents the Masoretic text and the JPS 1917 translation; hosted by Mechon Mamre, a small group of observant Jewish Torah scholars living in Israel.

    • Olive Tree Bible Software - English, Greek, Hebrew and other versions of the Bible for cell phones and pda's.

  • Christian Scripture: The Old and New Testaments

    Earliest Texts of the Christian Scriptures
    scroll link Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament scroll link Greek manuscripts of the New Testament
    scroll link The Vulgate scroll link Other Versions
    Important Tranlsations of the Medieval and Reformation Periods
    scroll link Wycliffite Bible scroll link Tyndale's Bible
    scroll link Coverdale Bible scroll link Matthew's Bible
    scroll link Taverner's Bible scroll link Great Bible
    scroll link Geneva Bible scroll link Bishops' Bible
    scroll link Rheims-Douay scroll link King James Versions (KJV)
    Modern Versions of the Christian Scriptures
    scroll link American Standard Version (ASV) scroll link Contemporary English Version
    scroll link Jerusalem Bible scroll link Living Bible
    scroll link New American Bible (NAB) scroll link New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    scroll link New English Bible scroll link New International Version (NIV)
    scroll link New Jerusalem Bible scroll link New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
    scroll link Revised English Bible scroll link Revised Standard Version (RSV)
    scroll link Textus Receptus scroll link Today's English Version (TEV), or the Good News Bible
    Online Resources
    For searchable Bibles (= electronic concordances), see the Concordances section below.
    Electronic Bibles

  • Islam: The Qur'an and the Hadith
    scroll link The Qur'an scroll link The Hadith
    Online Resources
Books that Didn't Make It into the Bible
There are all manner of books considered sacred in some early Jewish and Christian circles that were not accepted into everyone's canons of the Bible in the end.  They are listed here in rough chronological order.  Rollover the scrolls to the left of each title to learn about the text and to view bibliographic references of a single text, or use the arrows in the pop-up windows to view the descriptions in sequence.


A synopsis aligns parallel versions of a text with each other so that the reader may more easily compare and contrast them.

Aland, Kurt, ed.  Synopsis of the Four Gospels, English edition.  New York: United Bible Societies, 1982.
Funk, Robert W.  New Gospel Parallels.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1985.
Miller, Robert J.  The Complete Gospels.  Sonoma, California: Polebridge, 1994.
Online Texts & Tools
  • Gospel, and Gospel-Paul Parallels - hosted at the University of Toronto.

  • Gospel Parallels - a handy chart-format of parallels, based on Aland's 13th edition; choose a portion of the gospel account to open the chart, then click on the link next to each parallel to open synoptic ASV versions of the passages from

  • PC-Shareware Gospel Parallels - a low-cost program that allows you to compare the gospels in the KJV, RSV or NIV versions.

A concordance is a list of every word that occurs in a given corpus (e.g., the Bible), along with citations for every place in that corpus that the word occurs. When selecting a concordance, be sure to choose the version that corresponds to the particular version or translation of scripture that you are working with. If you are using the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of scripture, be sure to choose the NRSV concordance; if you are using the New American Bible (NAB; the Catholic Study Bible version), be sure to find the NAB concordance.
Darton, Michael, ed.  Modern Concordance to the New Testament, ed. Michael Darton.  Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976.
Hartdegen, Stephen J., ed.  Nelson's Complete Concordance of the New American Bible.  Nashville: T. Nelson, 1977. [recommended for the NAB or Catholic Study Bible]
Kassis, Hanna E.  A Concordance of the Quran.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
Kohlenberger, John R., III.  The NRSV Concordance Unabridged.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1991. [recommended for the NRSV edition]
Metzger, Bruce M. and Isobel M. Metzger.  The Oxford Concise Concordance to the Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1962.
Strong, James.  The Exhaustive Concordance, student edition.  Nashville, Tennessee: T. Nelson, 1984.
Young, Robert.  Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible.  Nashville: T. Nelson, 1982.
Online Texts & Tools

  • All-in-One Biblical Resources Search - an excellent resource hosted by Dr. Mark Goodacre of the University of Birmingham.

  • ARTFL Project Multi-lingual Bibles - searchable versions including the Vulgate and Martin Luther's German translation. From The Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL), a cooperative enterprise of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the University of Chicago.

  • Bible Database Advanced Bible Search - searchable Bibles and Bible downloads from born-again Christians Christopher Fraley and Brent Maurer.

  • - includes a wide range of translations and versions; a ministry of Gospel Communications.

  • Blue Letter Bible - currently indexes the KJV of 1769, but plans to include others soon; a Christian evangelical resource.

  • - features various translations including the NRSV and the Vulgate, with supplementary resources favoring materials from ministries like Focus on the Family.

  • HTML Bible - John Hurt's downloadable and searchable resources (KJV, Parallel New Testament and Nestle's Greek New Testament).

  • NIV Bible - the searchable New International Version, hosted by the International Bible Society.

  • Old Testament Gateway - hosted at Tabor College, Victoria, Australia.

  • The Unbound Bible - search the Bible by chapter/verse or by word, hosted at Biola University, and evangelical Christian institution.

  • Also, see the various versions of scriptural texts in the pop-up windows above for their respective online concordances.

Scriptural Commentaries

A scriptural commentary is a discussion of a biblical book or of the Bible as a whole. If its focus is one book, it usually includes an introduction to the book and a verse-by-verse analysis of the book. If its focus is all of scripture (e.g., The New Jerome Biblical Commentary or The Women's Bible Commentary), it will focus on the most salient features of the book. Commentaries are usually published in series, and can emphasize the beliefs of particular religious denominations.
Ali, Maulana Muhammad.  The Holy Quran: Arabic Text, English Translation and Commentary.  Columbus, Ohio: Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore, Inc., 1995.
Anchor Bible Commentaries [separate volumes on each biblical book; recommended].
Barton, John and John Muddiman, eds.  The Oxford Bible Commentary.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Black, Matthew, ed.  Peake's Commentary on the Bible.  New York: I. Nelson, 1962.
Brown, Raymond E., S. S.  The Birth of the Messiah: A Commentary on the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke.  Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1977. [recommended for the infancy narratives]
Brown, Raymond E., S. S.  The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave.  New York: Doubleday, 1994. [recommended for the passion narratives]
Brown, Raymond E., et al., eds.  The Jerome Biblical Commentary.  Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1968.
Brown, Raymond E., et al., eds.  The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.  Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1990.
Eiselen, Frederick Carl et al., eds.  The Abingdon Bible Commentary.  New York: Abingdon Press, 1929.
Hermeneia Commentaries [separate volumes on each biblical book; recommended, particularly for graduate students]
Laymon, Charles M., ed.  The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971.
Neil, William.  Harper's Bible Commentary.  New York: Harper & Row, 1962.
Newsom, Carol A. and Sharon H. Ringe, eds.  The Women's Bible Commentary.  Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1992.
Strack, Hermann L. and Paul Billerbeck.  Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch, 6 vols.  Munich: C. H. Beck'sche, 1978-1982; original 1926-1961.

Dictionaries of Scripture
Dictionaries of scripture define terms that occur in scripture. The entries can be quite extensive, and the longest include bibliographic references. Dictionaries can therefore be a useful place to begin your research.
General Dictionaries
Achtemeier, Paul J., ed.  The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary.  San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.
Crim, Keith.  The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.  Nashville: Abingdon, 1976.
Hastings, James, ed.  Dictionary of the Bible.  New York: Scribner, 1963.
Freedman, David Noel et al., eds.  The Anchor Bible Dictionary.  New York : Doubleday, 1992. [recommended]
McKenzie, John L.  Dictionary of the Bible.  Milwaukee: Bruce, 1965.
van der Toorn, Karel, Bob Becking and Pieter W. van der Horst, eds.  Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD).  Leiden/New York: E. J. Brill, 1995. [recommended]
Theological Dictionaries
Botterweck, G. Johannes and Helmer Ringgren, eds.  Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, rev. ed., trans. John T. Willis.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1974-1980; German original.
Brown, Colin, ed.  The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology.  Exeter, Devon: Paternoster, 1975-1978; German original.
Kittel, Gerhard, ed.  Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1964; German original.
Léon-Dufour, X., ed.  Dictionary of Biblical Theology , 2d ed.  New York: Descile, 1967; French original.
Richardson, Alan.  A Theological Word Book of the Bible.  New York: Macmillan, 1951.
Ancillary Dictionaries
Hammond, N. G. L. and H. H. Scullard.  The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 2d ed.  Oxford: Clarendon, 1970.

Scripture Encyclopedias

Scriptural encyclopedias provide background information related to the politics, geography, socio-economic circumstances and terminology associated with scriptural books. Entries include bibliographic references, and therefore provide a useful place to begin your research.

Scriptural Encyclopedias

Bimson, John J., ed.  Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Places: Towns and Cities, Countries and States, Archaeology and Topography.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1995.
Collins, John J., Bernard McGinn and Stephen J. Stein, eds.  The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, 3 vols.  New York: Continuum, 1998.
Pauly, August Freidrich von.  Paulys RealEncyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. G. Wissowa.  Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 1894-1972.
Zielger, Konrat and Walther Sontheimer.  Der Kleine Pauly, 5 vols.   Stuttgart: A. Druckenmüller, 1962-1975.
Ancillary Encyclopedias
Avi-Yonah, Michael, ed.  Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land.  Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1975-1978.
Bauer, Johannes B., ed.  Encyclopedia of Biblical Theology: The Complete Sacramentum Verbi.  New York: Crossroad, 1981; original 1970.
Beit-Hallahmi, Benjamin.  The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Active New Religions, Sects, and Cults.  New York: Rosen, 1998.
Bunson, Margaret.  The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.  New York: Facts on File Publications, 1991.
Cotterell, Arthur, ed.  The Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations.   New York: Mayflower, 1980.
Harrison, R. K., ed.  Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics.   Nashville: T. Nelson, 1992.
Lewis, James R.  The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions.  Amherst, New York: Prometheus, 1998.
Melton, J. Gordon.  The Encyclopedia of American Religions.   Wilmington, North Carolina: McGrath, 1978.
Meyers, Eric M., ed.  The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, Prepared Under the Auspices of the American Schools of Oriental Research.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Newby, Gordon D.   A Concise Encyclopedia of Islam.  Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2002.
Schiffman, Lawrence H. and James C. VanderKam, eds.   Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 2 vols.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
van Lent, J. and H.-U. Qureshi, comps.  The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition, ed. P. J. Bearman.  New York: E. J. Brill, 1995-.
Wigoder, Geoffrey, ed.  The Encyclopaedia of Judaism.  New York: Macmillan, 1989.
Zeyl, Donald J., ed.  Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy.  Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1997.

Indexes & Databases

Periodical indexes and databases provide fast access to bibliographic references on topics you may be studying. The computerized databases in particular can speed your initial research dramatically: you enter your subject, and the database searches for all articles and books published in a given time frame. You can then print your references and determine whether our library has the resources.
  • ATLA Religion Index, available as one of many online databases organized by discipline on the Oscar site. Open the database, enter your search criteria and find dozens of articles related to your topic in the major religious studies and biblical periodicals. The other databases may also be useful, depending upon your topic.

  • Academic Search Elite (Ebsco Host) - Provides the full text of articles from over 1,260 journals covering the social sciences, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, education, and much more. Available directly here or in the Oscar list of electronic databases.

  • Expanded Academic Index - Available from the main Oscar menu, this database covers a wider range of journals than the WinSPIRS Religion Index.

  • Academic Info, Religion: Subject Index - an annotated directory of internet resources for the academic study of religion.

  • American Religion Data Archive (ARDA) - maintained by the Purdue University Department of Sociology and Anthropology, this database provides results of nationwide surveys of the general population, of religious groups, and of religious professionals on questions regarding religion.

  • North American Jewish Data Bank - established by the City University of New York's Center for Jewish Studies and the United Jewish Communities to serve as a repository for computer-based population and survey data on Jewish communities in the United States and Canada.

  • Orradre Library Government Documents Department Electronic Internet Resources - a comprehensive list of online resources for research involving legislation, the branches of government, elections, etc.


One of the best shortcuts for finding and comprehending relevant sources is a journal of abstracts in the field. These journals survey all recently published articles in the discipline, providing not only complete bibliographic records but also summaries or abstracts of the articles.There are two resources of this kind for biblical studies:
  • New Testament Abstracts - This journal, published three times a year, provides abstracts or summaries of articles and books published in New Testament Studies. These abstracts are much more useful than the mere bibliographic record provided in the WebSPIRS Religion Index, in that they alert you to the thesis and conclusions of a given work.

  • Old Testament Abstracts - Like New Testament Abstracts, except for the range of biblical books it covers.

Handbooks for Exegesis

A variety of handbooks are available to help one learn how to analyze and study scripture.
Conzelmann, H. and A. Lindemann.  Interpreting the New Testament: An Introduction to the Principles and Methods of New Testament Exegesis.  Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1988; German original, Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1985.
Fitzmyer, Joseph A.  An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture, 3d ed.  Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1990.
Harrington, Daniel J.  Interpreting the New Testament: A Practical Guide.  Wilmington, Delaware: M. Glazier, 1979.
Hayes, John H. and Carl R. Holladay.  Biblical Exegesis, A Beginner's Handbook, rev. ed.  Atlanta: Knox, 1987.
Kaiser, Otto and Werner G. K├╝mmel.  Exegetical Method: A Student's Handbook, trans. E. V. N. Goetschius and M. J. O'Connell.   New York: Seabury Press, 1981.
Marrow, Stanley B.  Basic Tools of Biblical Exegesis: A Student's Manual, Subsidia Biblica 2.  Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1978.
Soulen, Richard N. and R. Kendall Soulen.  Handbook of Biblical Criticism, 3d rev. ed.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.

Original Language Resources

The standard tools for research in the original languages include some of the same types of resources listed above, plus grammars and grammatical analyses. The resources are arranged below by language; rolling over the scroll reveals the sources in a pop-up window.
  scroll link Akkadian scroll link Arabic scroll link Aramaic
  scroll link Armenian scroll link Assyrian scroll link Coptic
  scroll link Ethiopic scroll link French scroll link German
  scroll link Greek, Classical scroll link Greek, Septuagint scroll link Greek, New Testament
  scroll link Greek, Patristic scroll link Hebrew, Biblical scroll link Hebrew, Rabbinic
  scroll link Hebrew, Modern scroll link Latin, Classical scroll link Latin, Patristic
  scroll link Sumerian scroll link Syriac scroll link Ugaritic

Pronunciation Guides for Lectors

Biblical names for places and people were originally Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Persian, Egyptian and Latin, and sometimes can be hard to pronounce for people who haven't studied those languages. The following pocketbooks and online tools are helpful for lectors who have to read these names on a regular basis:
Online Tools & Apps
These alphabetically organized lists embed audio files so you can hear how to pronounce biblical names and foreign terms.
Staudacher, Joseph M.  Lector's Guide to Biblical Pronunciations, Updated.  Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
Scott-Craig, T. S. K.  A Guide to Pronouncing Biblical Names.   Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Morehouse, 1982.

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