Franklin &  Marshall College Library

RST 212: Israelite Religion and the Origins of Judaism

Secondary sources - Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks

Secondary sources are informational ones authored by people who were not actual participants in the topic at hand. They are of value to your research since they often provide greater objectivity and different views as a result of time's passage. Common secondary sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks.
Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period
Ref Room BM50 .D525 1996
This two volume encyclopedia dictionary covers not just the time of which the Bible speaks, but also the era during which both Judaism and Christianity were established and canonized (roughly 450 BCE through 600 CE.) It also covers subjects not found in similar works, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo and Josephus, and classic writings of Judaism beyond the Scriptures. Cross-references present terms in a transliteration of the original language or its contemporary translation.
The New Encyclopedia of Judaism
Ref Room BM50 .E63 2002
This single volume encyclopedia updates the Encyclopedia of Judaism (1990), giving more emphasis upon biblical periods as well as adds new biographies of biblical figures. The books of the Apocrypha and some of the Pseudepigrapha are covered. Contains index and bibliography.
Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion
Ref Room BM50 .O94 1997
Written by a distinguished team of scholars from Israel, North America, and the UK, it covers doctrinal issues, religious concepts and controversies, rituals and symbols. Contains bibliographies.
Historical Dictionary of Judaism
Ref Room BM50 .S65 1998
This volume is a good resource for the general student for quick insight into Biblical figures and events from the perspective of certain rabbinic writings. Has a bibliography and varied appendices.
History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period
Ref Room BM165 .A4313 1994
This two volume work shows relationships between the history of Israelite religion and its theology. It explores sociopolitical developments vis a vis religion, and sets Israelite religion in its Near Eastern context.
Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Ref Room BM487 .E53 2000
The most comprehensive study of these Judean Desert texts, this two volume resource has hundreds of entries written by international scholars which vary in length from one column to many pages. Each of these has internal cross-references and bibliographies.
HarperCollins Study Bible
Ref Room BS191.5 .A1 1993 .C35
This single volume study Bible has been favorably noted to have annotations which reveal the interaction between Biblical books as well as identify chronology and location for the textual contents.
Anchor Bible
Ref Room BS293.3 .A1 1964 .G3
This massive eighty odd volume set is a joint venture of both Jewish and Christian scholars. Commentary is based upon critical rather than theological and/or confessional judgment. Although aimed at the general reader the level of discourse is quite erudite.
Anchor Bible Dictionary
Ref Room BS440 .A545 1992
Successor to the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (1976), this six volume resource is the largest modern English Bible dictionary. The set has encyclopedic scope including entries on period history, Judaism, biblical theology, archaeology and extracanonical writings. Includes bibliographies.
JPS Torah Commentary
Ref Room BS1235.3 .S325 through BS1275.3 .T54 1996
This set of five volumes published by the Jewish Publications Society is a comprehensive resource for scholarly information on the books within the Pentateuch. It provides line for line exegesis on the text as well summary essays on certain events, locations, and peoples central to these books.
Encyclopaedia Judaica
Ref Room DS102.8 .E496 2007
An update to the 1972 1st edition, this resource is considered to be the most comprehensive compendium for Judaic Studies in the English language. It has been expanded from 16 to 22 volumes, and now contains over 22,000 entries of which well over half have been either revised, updated, or are totally new. While the first edition (1972) was sometimes criticized for an "Israel-centric" scholarly bias, this 2nd edition was overseen by a joint editorial board composed of both Israeli and Diaspora scholars. Each volume also has an abbreviations section and glossary. Contains detailed index.
Historical Atlas of the Jewish People
Ref Room DS117 .J8513 1992
This atlas is a full time scale resource for depicting the history of the Jewish people. It provides a timeline for each set of illustrations chronologically. Contains a glossary and index.

How to find books at the Franklin & Marshall College Library

  • Select "BOOKS" from the Library home page. To find books for this class use either the "browse" mode and subject search to view sub-divisions of the term "Bible. O.T." or use more specific keyword search terms such as "Hebrew Bibl?" within the "words or phrase" mode.
  • Look at the subject headings for a book that meets your needs. Select those subject headings to find other books that are described the same way and might also be useful.
  • Go to the call number locations of those books both in the stacks and the reference room. Similar books will be nearby. Use indices to further mine their contents.

How to find books at the Lancaster Theological Seminary Library

  • Call numbers obtained in the above searching can also be used at the Lancaster Theological Seminary Library located across (east side) College Avenue. This library, where Franklin & Marshall students may borrow a limited number of titles, has a large collection of resources related to the Hebrew Bible.

How to find and locate journal articles

Look under "ARTICLES: ...A to Z List" on the Library homepage. Scroll down to find the selections that may be the most helpful for your topic, some of which are...

A collection of full text articles in .pdf format from the back files of over 500 scholarly journals, many dating from the nineteenth-century to within the last 4 or 5 years.

ATLA Religion Index
Comprehensive database in religious studies scholarship. Covers 1949 to the present.

Once you have a specific journal title, go to ""JOURNALS: search our catalog..." from the library homepage and type in the title of a journal you hope to find.

How to find information on the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web can be a helpful environment in which to access scholarly information but because it is an unmediated matrix it is advisable to start one's exploration of it at bona fide sites.

Holy Scriptures (The Tanakh)
A complete translation of the Tanakh provided by the Jewish Virtual Library, a division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.

Jewish History Resource Center
Maintained by the prestigious Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, this site provides links to both online resources as well as print materials.

How to...