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The items listed below are meant as a starting point for your research, and are by no means comprehensive. General reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and directories offer background information, and quick answers to specific questions. All items are located in the Rose Main Reading Room, unless otherwise noted.
Encyclopedia of American Religions, part of Gale's Ready Reference Shelf, an Online Resource (accessible only from computers within the Library)
Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience; Studies of Traditions and Movements, edited by Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams (New York: Scribner, 1987), 3 vols., *R-ZAY 91-2260. Anthology of scholarly essays examines the history and character of American religions, exploring organizational development and the spread and influence of various movements and trends.
The Encyclopedia of Islam, (Leiden: Brill, 1960-) (available in Asian and Middle Eastern Division).
Encyclopaedia Judaica, (New York: Macmillan, 1971-1972), 16 volumes with supp.,*R-*PBZ 73-4505 (also available in Jewish Division).
Encyclopedia of Mormonism: The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 5 vols., *R-ZZM 92-8962.
The Encyclopedia of Religion, (New York: Macmillan, 1987), 16 volumes, *RR-ZAB 87-828. Includes historical and philosophical approaches to religion as well as social scientific interpretations for both Christian and non-Christian religions.
Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James Hastings, (New York: Scribner, 1970), 13 volumes, *R-ZAB 79-5371. This comprehensive work explores all facets of the field of religion with a particular focus on historical, theological, philosophical, and ethical themes.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967-1979), 17 volumes with supp., *R-ZLH.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, edited by Hans J. Hillerbrand [New York: Oxford University Press, 1996], 4 vols., *R-ZOF 96-16718
Sacramentum Mundi, (New York: Herder and Herder, 1969-1970), 6 volumes,*R-ZEB 72-91. Detailed analysis of the theological principles and concerns of the Roman Catholic Church, and a scholarly guide to the major doctrinal developments and controversies of Christianity.
The Book of Saints, (Wilton, Conn.: Morehouse Pub., 1989) *R-ZDK 90-1505.
Butler, Alban, Lives of the Saints (New York: Kennedy, 1956), 4 volumes, *R-ZK. (Other dictionaries of the saints may also be found under the call number *R-ZDK.)
The Catholic Almanac, (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, annual; latest edition available at the Information Desk). Handbook of the Roman Catholic Church with succinct information on doctrine, practice, and ethics relevant to that church; includes current liturgical calendar and notable events of the preceding year.
Corpus Dictionary of Western Churches, edited by T. C. O'Brien, (Washington: Corpus, 1970), *R-ZEB 73-4948. Includes doctrines, historical events, personalities, movements, and institutions which have characterized the life of western Christianity.
Dictionary of Comparative Religion, edited by S. G. F. Brandon, (New York: Scribner, 1970), *R-ZAB 72-998. Information on the principal beliefs, practices, and concerns of the major religious traditions; some subjects (such as immortality) are also treated comparatively where the interpretations of different religions are presented.
Eerdmans' Handbook to Christian Belief, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), *RR-ZFD 86-3778.
Eerdmans' Handbook to Christianity in America, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), *RR-ZDW 86-3762
Eerdmans' Handbook to the History of Christianity, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), *RR ZDB 86-3793.
Eerdmans' Handbook to the World's Religions, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), *RR-ZAC 86-3779.
Kelly, John N. D., The Oxford Dictionary of Popes, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986) *RR-ZLH 86-3488.
Mead, Frank Spencer, Handbook of Denominations in the United States, (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995; available at the Information Desk). Brief description of the major Christian bodies in the United States, including beliefs, practices, polity, and history.
Melton, J. Gordon, The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 6th edition, (Detroit: Gale Research, 1999; available at the Information Desk .) Dictionary of American religious bodies, Christian and non-Christian, providing basic information on their history, doctrine, and practice; especially valuable for its coverage of small or new religious movements which are not examined elsewhere.
New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, edited by J. G. Davies, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986), *RR-ZH 86-6443
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F. L. Cross, 3rd edition, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997),*R-ZEB 97-3047 The most comprehensive one-volume work dealing with all aspects of the Christian Church.
Parrinder, Edward G., Dictionary of Non-Christian Religions, (Amersham: Hulton, 1971), *R-ZAB 72-1544
Piepkorn, Arthur Carl, Profiles in Belief: The Religious Bodies of the United States and Canada, (New York: Harper and Row, 1977-1979), 4 volumes in 3, *R-ZDW 77-1161. An examination, sensitive to theological and historical concerns, of the principal Christian bodies in North America; includes extensive historical information and doctrinal analysis.
Richardson, Alan, Dictionary of Christian Theology, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1969), *R-ZEB
Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986), *R-ZAB 86-3781
Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1983), *R-ZIK 86-3866
Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1983), *R-ZEB 86-3874
World Christian Encyclopedia, edited by David B. Barrett, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), *R-ZDB 85-7. A comprehensive work which attempts to list every Christian body by country; valuable for its statistical information on membership and attendance. Provides historical commentary and analysis of present and future trends for Christianity in every country.
Annuario Pontificio, (Vatican City: Libraria Editrice Vaticana, annual; latest edition at the Information Desk.) List of Roman Catholic officials throughout the world as well as of the offices which constitute the Roman Catholic bureaucracy. Notable for its enumeration of all Roman Catholic dioceses and archdioceses.
Church Directory, (New York: Council of Churches of the City of New York, 1993/94; available at the Information Desk.) Listing of non-Roman Catholic churches in the City of New York, arranged by borough.
Directory of Religious Organizations in the United States of America, 3rd ed. (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993; available at the Information Desk.) Directory of organizations (not denominations or religious bodies) which may or may not have ties with ecclesiastical bodies.
Episcopal Church Annual, (Wilton: Morehouse-Barlow, annual; latest edition available at the Information Desk.) Listing of all Episcopal dioceses, parishes, and clergy. Particularly valuable for providing the names of all former diocesan bishops (arranged under the name of the appropriate diocese where they served).
National Directory of Churches, Synagogues, and Other Houses of Worship, (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1994- ), 4 vols., *R-ZDWA 94-442. Arranged geographically and, within that, by denomination, this guide provides the only comprehensive listing of houses of worship throughout the country.
Official Catholic Directory, (Wilmette, Illinois: P. J. Kenedy, annual; latest edition available at the Information Desk.) Lists all Roman Catholic dioceses, archdioceses, parishes, and clergy in the United States and Canada; all Roman Catholic organizations and institutions (including parochial schools) are listed under the name of the appropriate diocese. Names of former bishops of dioceses may be found under the entries for the dioceses where they served.
Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, (Nashville: Abingdon, annual; latest edition available at the Information Desk.) Includes the principal Christian churches of the United States and Canada and lists the headquarters, principal officers, juridical divisions, and publications of each body.