Religious Studies

A guide on research resources for Religious Studies

Comparative Religion: Reference Sources

Reference Sources by Type

To locate useful reference resources in the Pollak Library, go to the library catalog. Use keyword "religion" or "world religion" and limit search to "Reference only" resources.

  • Companion: introduction to a field of study. Usually a dictionary of notable persons and issues.
  • Compendium: collection of synoptic articles designed to map a subject. Usually intermediate or advanced level.
  • Dictionary/Lexicon: collection of definitions
  • Encyclopedia: exhaustive coverage of a subject.
  • Glossary: alphabetical list of terms with definitions.
  • Guidebook: description of a region, arranged place by place, intended for travelers.
  • Hagiography: book of saints' lives.
  • Handbook: compendium of articles commissioned to expound problems, history and bibliography of a research field.
  • Introduction: introduces a subject to those who aren't yet familiar with it.
  • Lexicon: dictionary, with greater depth.
  • Mega-encyclopedia: multi-volume encyclopedia.
  • Phenomenology: classifying religious or other phenomena collected from multiple cultures and put in a novel taxonomy.
  • Philosophical Dictionary: Collection of essays on basic categories written by a single author in order to unsettle opinion.
  • Reallexikon: A German type of historical lexicon that inventories persons, places, objects and practices but omits abstract terms and mythical or theological beings.
  • Revisionist Lexicon: Lexicon whose contributors rethink foundations of a field.
  • Textbook: Introduction to a field, intended for classroom use.
  • Who's who: Dictionary of capsule biographies, arranged alphabetically.
  From: Johnston, William M., ed. Recent Reference Books in Religion: A Guide for Students, Scholars, Researchers, Buyers & Readers 2nd edi. 1998 Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers.