The following resources offer introductions to and overviews of the subject matter. Use them to find out about the broad contours of your field of study, then move on to the resources listed further down on this page for more in-depth research.
Encyclopedia of Religion (Harvard Login)
Short introductory essays on almost all topics of religion.
Oxford Very Short Introductions (Harvard Login)
A series of short books giving the development of and important issues within a subject area. Included in this series are:
- African Religions: A Very Short Introduction;
- Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction;
- Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction;
- Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction;
- Theology: A Very Short Introduction;
- and many others.
The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (Harvard Login)
Provides in-depth articles on atheism in various cultures, places, and time periods.
Vocabulary for the Study of Religion (Harvard Login)
Relatively brief but detailed essays giving definition and context for terms relating to religious studies. Articles also contain a bibliography.
Also of interest:
Encyclopedia of Religion in America (Harvard Login)
Provides overviews of religious practices and organizations in the United States from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, focusing in particular on how religion has shaped American culture and society.
The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in America (Harvard Login)
Provides in-depth articles on the intersection of religious life and race relations.
Find Books & Articles
For books (both print and electronic) owned by Harvard's libraries, consult HOLLIS, our library catalog. Be sure to select the "library catalog" (not the "everything") option if you are looking only for books. Once you have found titles of interest, try exploring further by following the linked subject headings or the virtual bookshelf feature available with each detailed catalog record.
For articles, book reviews, etc., the following databases provide excellent coverage of the topic:
You can also try using Harvard Divinity School Library's Religion Databases Cross-Search tool, which allows you to search across several major databases in religious studies at once.