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Theology: Background Info.

Online Guide to best Theology resources

Core Background Resources for Theology

New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed.
All subjects in the Catholic faith and religion, including Theology.  This is the 2003 / 2nd edition (update of the 1967 / 1st edition) and can be found online via Gale, or in print in the Reference collection at Ref. BX841 .N44 2003

The Catholic Encyclopedia 
[The "Old, Original" Catholic Encyclopedia] : an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline, and history of the Catholic Church / edited by Charles G. Herbermann, Edward A. Pace, Condé B. Pallen, Thomas J. Shahan, John J. Wynne ; assisted by numerous collaborators.  New York : Robert Appleton Co., c1907-1912.  Free online, and in print at Lower Level Theology BX841 .C25

The Religion and Philosophy resources of the Oxford Reference Online 
Includes Oxford theology-subject dictionaries (including Bible, Buddhism, Byzantium, Saints) and broad dictionaries covering Christian Church and World Religions; also offers Encyclopedias and a "Companion Series" to people/places of the bible

Encyclopedia of Religion
This online version of a seminal 15-volume reference work includes over 3,000 lengthy articles about religious and theological topics. The encyclopedia encompasses theoretical, practical, and sociological perspectives on religion, including cross-cultural looks at different religious traditions. This second edition includes 600 new articles plus updates to many of the original entries.  (Print version in 16 vols:  Lower Level Reference BL31 .E46 1987)

Encyclopedia of Science and Religion
This encyclopedia explores a variety of scientific, philosophical, and theological issues from the perspectives of major religious traditions and the scientific community. Entries are available on topics like chaos theory, free will, natural selection, and stem cell research.

Additional Background Resources

Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy

Encyclopedia of Buddhism
     From Gale Virtual Reference Library

Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World
     From Gale Virtual Reference Library

Encyclopaedia Judaica
     From Gale Virtual Reference Library

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy
More than 2,000 articles from the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy are now available online, making this an excellent source of background information for research in philosophy and related fields. The editors periodically add new entries written by leading scholars and also provide links to other sites and resources on the web, as well as updates of key entries.

Rule of St. Benedict Library
Presents the Rule in Latin and English, together with the full text of many of its key sources, and commentaries by Terrence Kardong and Esther de Waal.
Available in the library only.

Past Masters  
The complete works of Saint Anselm (in Latin) and Saint Augustine (in Latin and English) can be searched using keywords.

Why Use Reference Sources?

Reference sources include encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries.  They are a great place to begin your research, since they can help with the following:

  • Offer ideas for possible research topics
  • Give you background information on your topic
  • Define unfamiliar terms
  • Suggest keywords to use when searching for books and articles
  • Point you to books and articles on your topic, via "works cited" lists

Sample Titles, Online and Print

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