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Religious Studies

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks for learning more about your topic

Finding Books

Start by searching the catalog at Emory: DiscoverE

  • The Catalog tab searches  books, ebooks, journal titles, music, videos, Emory theses and dissertations, and archival collections.
  • The Emory Repositories tab searches holdings for items in our electronic repositories, including Emory Electronic Theses & Dissertations.
  • The Combined Search tab searches the contents of the catalog, a selection of articles, Emory Electronic Theses & Dissertations, and the HathiTrust Digital Library. It's convenient but it may not be the best option if you are researching a topic for which you are likely to retrieve a large number of search results.

Searching Tips

  • Basic Searching Tips
    • The default basic search functions as a keyword search. You can type in subject, author, title, or another keyword.
    • The left dropdown box lets you limit your search to books, journals, videos, music, etc. 
    • Searching for an exact phrase such as a title or author name? Use  " " to only find records where those words appear in sequence
      • Example: "Introduction to Religion" for finding results containing that phrase in the title or elsewhere in the record
  • Advanced Searching Tips
    • You can select Advanced Search on the right hand side of the main search box to search directly by title, author, subject, etc.  You can also select specific languages and material types.
    • Use wildcard symbols ( ? or *) to expand or refine your search.  Learn more about these symbols here.  
    • When you find a relevant record in your search, under Details click on the Subject to find other records with the same subject


Once you have checked DiscoverE, conduct a search with WorldCat to search library catalogs worldwide.

Finding Resources by Subject Headings

To find materials located at any of Emory's libraries in DiscoverE, one option is to enter Library of Congress subject headings in the search field and click "Browse" then the "Subject" tab. Studies have shown that searching library catalogs with LC subject headings can be more effective than searching just with uncontrolled keywords.

Unlike dedicated online databases, the contents of books and articles are not searchable in DiscoverE. Read Finding a Journal Article in the Woodruff Library. Most materials in DiscoverE which say "held by GENERAL" are located in the Woodruff Library. See the Woodruff Library Location Guide.

When searching DiscoverE by subject, we recommend that you use the Browse search mode option provided on the main search page. Browsing with keywords will retrieve a list of subject headings established by the Library of Congress -- something like the lists below for the headings Religion and South Asia.

  • Note that the search results are returned in descending order of acquisition, so titles with older publication dates may appear above those with more recent publication dates because they were acquired more recently.. 
  • Note also that the search results will not capture every item in the collection for which the subject heading is relevant, because in practice catalogers cannot add every relevant subject heading to every item.

To find related works in DiscoverE not cataloged with the same subject headings as those on your results list, try the following:

  • Click on related subject headings
  • Click on the author for other publications that might be in the same subject area
  • Click on the series title if present
  • Click on the "browse shelves" tab and enter a call number from the results (call numbers group items by subject).
  • Click on "see related headings for: RELIGION" to see links to narrower terms like "Animism" and links to parallel terms like "God," "Religions," and "Theology."
  • For nations or regions within South Asia --e.g., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bengal--substitute their names for "South Asia" in the search phrases below when you enter it into the DiscoverE interface.

Below, find search results for selected subject headings:

Finding Articles, Books, and Additional Reference Resources

JSTOR, LexisNexis, and Academic Search Complete:

Start by reading through the Finding Articles at Woodruff research guide. Databases such as JSTOR, LexisNexis, and Academic Search Complete provide citations and/or full text of journal articles, books, and other materials. 

Databases devoted primarily to Religious Studies:

Here's a list of mostly proprietary online databases produced mainly for Religious Studies.  Because they are proprietary, they are not usually available on or indexed by Google.  Emory buys access.  Some of them are citation indexes; some of them are full text.  For a more comprehensive list that includes databases with broader coverage that likely include material relevant to religious studies, see Databases@Emory.  


Library of Congress Call Numbers for Religion

If you're seeking to browse resources in the stacks or reference sections of Pitts or Woodruff, here are some helpful call number ranges:

BL -- Religions.  Mythology.  Rationalism
BL 1100 - BL 1295      Hinduism
BL 1300 - BL 1380      Jainism
BL 1500 - BL 1590      Zoroastrianism
BL 1600- BL 1695       Semitic Religions
BL 1830- BL 1883       Confucianism
BL 1899 -  BL 1942.85  Taoism
BL 2017 - BL 2018.7    Sikhism
BL 2216 - BL 2227.8    Shinto
BL 2390 - BL 2490      Religions of Africa

BM                             Judaism
BP 1 - BP 253              Islam  
BP 300 - BP 395          Bahai Faith
BP 500 - BP 585          Theosophy
BQ                              Buddhism

Native American religions are in subclasses E and F.

The full list of Library of Congress Call Numbers for Subclass B is available.