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RELG207: Jewish & Christian Scriptures

The assignment: Select academic sources to inform your historical and literary analysis of a Biblical text. Because you are only doing a small amount of research for this paper, it will be important to choose the best sources: high-quality studies that are carefully focused on the question(s) you are researching.

Bible Commentary - Scholarly Articles - Other Suggestions - Citing Sources - Questions?

Bible Commentary

Bible commentary is scholarship that interprets or analyzes passages from the Bible. For your research in this class, focus on the following commentary series: 

  • Anchor Bible - Reference collection, 2nd floor - BS192.2 .A1 1964 G3
  • Hermeneia - Reference collection, 2nd floor - BS491.2 .H46
  • Interpretation - Reference collection, 2nd floor - BS491.2 .I68

As you locate commentary in the reference collection, read the call numbers carefully to ensure you identify the correct series of books. Once you find the series, you will see that all of the volumes are shelved together, and they are shelved in the same order as the books of the Bible (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, etc.). If you have any doubts about whether you've found the right book, ask the librarian at the research desk for help.

Scholarly Articles

Use the library's religion databases to search for articles for this project. The following two databases can both be accessed via this path:

  • Library webpage --> Databases --> Databases A-Z.

Old Testament Abstracts
This database covers topics related to the Hebrew Bible and will be an excellent source of articles for your paper.

ATLA Religion Index
ATLA is the library's most important religion database and will be another good resource for your assignment. In ATLA, click "Scriptures" in the blue bar on top of the search screen to conduct an efficient search for articles on your passage.

***HELP!! There's no full-text!***

  1. If you don't see a full-text link, go to the library homepage and select "Journals & Magazines." Search the title of the journal in which the article was published (not the title of the article itself!) to see whether the full text is available somewhere else in the library's collection.
  2. If Augustana doesn't have the article you're looking for, click on "Interlibrary Loan" in the left column on the library homepage to order it from another library. Interlibrary loan is free, and you'll usually get the article within a couple of days.

Other Suggestions

- There are books on reserve for your class at the library's 2nd-floor circulation desk. To use one, go to the circulation desk and give them the title of the book and your professor's name.  The books on reserve are:

  • Book of Judges by Marc Zvi Brettler
  • Ecclesiastes: A Commentary by James L. Crenshaw
  • Ezekiel: A Commentary by Walther Eichrodt
  • History of Prophecy in Israel by Joseph Blenkinsopp
  • Introduction to the Psalms: A Song from Ancient Israel by Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford
  • Israelites by B. S. J. Isserlin
  • Judges and Ruth by Victor H. Matthews
  • Life in Biblical Israel by Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager
  • Micah by Ehud Ben Zvi
  • Micah: A Commentary by James Luther Mays
  • Missing Persons and Mistaken Identities by Phyllis Bird
  • Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed. Michael D. Coogan
  • Smooth Stone: Biblical Prophecy in Historical Perspective by David Arthur
  • Speeches of Micah: A Rhetorical-Historical Analysis by Charles S. Shaw
  • War in the Hebrew Bible: A Study in the Ethics of Violence by Susan Niditch

- If you want general historical context for your passage, search ALiCat to find a book on the history of ancient Israel.

- You may encounter unfamiliar terms (people, places, concepts, and other vocabulary) in the course of your research. Use a Bible dictionary to look them up; one good option is Anchor Bible Dictionary (REF BS440 .A54 1992), which is in the reference collection on the library's 2nd floor. (Note: Anchor Bible Dictionary and Anchor Bible commentary are two different things; don't get them mixed up!)

Citing Sources

Cite your sources according to a standard citation style, such as MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. You can find information on these styles and many more at the library's website:

  • Library webpage --> Citing Sources


You are welcome to contact me at with questions about your research for Christian Scriptures.

Or, talk to the librarian on duty at the research help desk: in-person, or via phone (309-794-7206), email (, or the "Ask an Augustana Librarian" chat box on the library's home page.

Page created by Stefanie Bluemle, librarian for history, religion, and philosophy. Updated December 2015.