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Religion. Brendan Rapple LIS413 23 June, 2009 Simmons College. Very Broad Discipline. “A scholarly inquiry into the religious aspects of human societies and the cultures associated with them.” Obviously, it’s a very wide ranging discipline.

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Brendan Rapple LIS413

23 June, 2009 Simmons College

Very broad discipline
Very Broad Discipline

  • “A scholarly inquiry into the religious aspects of human societies and the cultures associated with them.”

  • Obviously, it’s a very wide ranging discipline.

  • From psychological and artistic expression to ritualistic and creedal expression.

Often distinguished from theological studies
Often Distinguished from Theological Studies

  • Theology suggests a confessionally based study of God (most commonly the Christian or Jewish God) or other deity(ies), with the goal of becoming an advocate, or minister, of that religion.

  • There is nothing “religious” about the academic study of religion.

  • “Studying religion does not mean becoming religious, no more than studying racism means becoming a racist” [Will Deming]

Study of spirituality
"Study of Spirituality"

  • This is perhaps a more appropriate term for referring to the study of the religion of such groups as native Americans and followers of Buddha, for example.

  • These have a quite distinct notion of deity.

Variety of approaches
Variety of Approaches

  • “Religious studies is a multiform subject-field within which a variety of disciplines are employed to treat a multiplicity of issues, interests, and topics. Religious studies has no single subject, nor does it sanction any one method of approach. Rather, the subject is multiple, and the methods of approach are numerous”[Capps, 1950].

  • “Religion is one thing to the anthropologist, another to the sociologist, another to the psychologist (and again another to the next psychologist!), another to the Marxist, another to the mystic, another to the Zen Buddhist and yet another to the Jew or Christian. As a result there is a great variety of religious theories of the nature of religion. There is, consequently, no universally accepted definition of religion, and quite possibly there never will be” [Robert Crawford, 2002].

Many facets of religious studies
Many Facets of Religious Studies

“The religious studies curriculum has become, increasingly, a crazy quilt of courses encompassing many disciplines, eras, regions, languages, and methods of inquiry.”

  • Cultic institutions dedicated to religious ends

  • Charismatic figures

  • Sociology of religion

  • Christian history and theology

  • Biblical studies

  • Anthropology of religion

  • The Bible as literature

  • Philosophy of religion

  • Psychology of religion

  • Theology

  • Islamic studies


  • Jewish studies

  • Women and religion

  • Comparative religion

  • Religion and literature

  • Religion and the arts

  • Religion and science

  • Church history

  • Geography of religion

  • History of religions

  • Religious ethics

  • Near Eastern languages and literatures

  • East Asian, African and Indian religions

  • Religion and society

  • Religious education

  • Contemporary religious thought

    • and others!

It might be argued however that
It might be argued, however, that

  • “. . . religious studies is not the sociology of religion, or philosophy of religion, or history of religion, or anthropology of religion, and so on, but is comprised of the cooperation between all of these. A religious studies that has become history of religions, say, is no longer religious studies but is history of religions. Similarly, a religious studies that has become philosophy or sociology or psychology of religion is not religious studies either, but is philosophy of religion, sociology of religion, or psychology of religion. What distinguishes religious studies from any of its component parts is its composite nature: it consists of all these methodological operations, and all of these selective foci of interest, working together”[Capps, 1995].

No unique methodology
No Unique Methodology

Still, a number of techniques or modes of inquiry tend to predominate, e.g.:

  • Historical

  • Theological

  • Philosophical

  • Sociological

  • Anthropological

  • “The typical graduate student in religious studies is, in fact, trained in a multidisciplinary environment where diverse methods of inquiry – philosophical, historical, literary-critical, sociological – are used in the study of religious traditions, beliefs, and behavior”[Benson].

  • Historical

    • Treats the historical development of religion.

    • Often compares development of one religion with another

    • History of religion developed in 19th cent.

      • Originally based on evolutionary idea from false to true

      • Originally often compared other religions with Christianity to show their limitations

      • Such an approach is unacceptable today.


    • Derived from THEOS, Greek word for God.

    • Attempts to explain and validate God’s existence and revelation.

    • Doctrines are established which form the basis of the ministry, sacraments, authority and organization of a religion.


    • Philosophy can

      • consider methods employed in study of religion

      • evaluate the evidence

      • arrive at truth or otherwise of belief statements

  • Of course, philosophy has traditionally asked ultimate questions about

    • purpose in the world

    • existence of God

    • evil

    • mortality, immortality

    • and so on.

  • Sociological

    • Stresses that the understanding of religion requires knowledge of the culture influencing religious belief and behavior.

      • How does religion function in society?

      • Does it bind together or cause division?

      • Will it last?

      • Many other questions


    • Close to sociology of religion.

    • Focus of the anthropological approach is generally ethnographic.

    Changes in study of religion
    Changes in Study of Religion

    • Religious studies have made strong progress as an academic discipline from the 19th century.

    • Since WWII, in particular, the academic study of religion has generally prospered in American colleges and universities.

    • And has changed dramatically.


    • The more conservative Protestant colleges have tended to retain an exclusively Christian focus.

    • However, mainstream Protestant institutions, responding to ecumenical and secularizing forces, have broadened their programs.

    • This has also been true to a certain degree for Catholic schools.

    • At the same time there have been diminishing enrollments in more narrowly focused theological/religious programs.

    • The amalgamation of Philosophy and Religious Studies are quite common.

    • Generally, the recent tendency has been away from a sole focus on the Judaeo-Christian tradition to more global perspectives [Benson].

    • Cross cultural dimensions of religious studies are increasingly popular approaches.

    Teachers of religion
    Teachers of Religion retain an exclusively Christian focus.

    • Today, as such areas as Jewish studies, African religion, eastern religion, religion and women, etc. are increasingly taught, more often than not they and other religion courses are taught by non-clerics (and by women).

    Feminist studies and religion
    Feminist Studies and Religion retain an exclusively Christian focus.

    • Now, there’s more emphasis on how women’s identity affects the understanding of religion.

    • Patriarchy and matriarchy are being studied within numerous religious contexts.

    • Religion’s ability to give voice to women as well as to thwart that voice are being examined carefully.

    Comparative religion and history of religion have grown in prominence
    Comparative Religion and History of Religion have Grown in Prominence

    • This is understandable as an accurate depiction and genuine comprehension of, say, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity etc. can only be attained through an acknowledgement of the multifarious ways in which each tradition has been shaped in its contact with other social, cultural, political and above all religious traditions and influences.

    • In short, the religious experience of all cultures is now the object of scrutiny.

    Role of dance in religion
    Role of Dance in Religion Prominence

    In most cultures around the world, save Western traditions especially Christianity, religion and dance are practically synonymous. From the ancient Bharata natyam of South India to Hopi Kachina dances, from Jewish wedding dances to the Sufi whirling dervishes religion is not only expressed, but enacted, through dance. For many religious traditions, religion without dance is Christianity (and to a lesser extent other Western religions) and given the influence of Christian (and other Western religious) studies on the academic study of religion, dance, and to a somewhat lesser extent other forms of physical movement and ritual, have received almost no attention by students of religion. It is astonishing that the academic study of religion has been so little attentive to the religious forms by which most religious people identify their own religiousness [Sam Gill, 1994].

    The diversity of studies is huge
    The Diversity of Studies is Huge Prominence

    • Is there any common point between examination by a biblical archeologist of the water system in ancient Turkey and the examination of the impact of Vatican II on ecumenical theology? [Benson]

    Library inadequacy
    Library Inadequacy Prominence

    • Recent growth of Religious Studies have left many, even large, libraries with very shallow collections in the field, particularly with respect to primary source documents as well as interpretive works now out of print.

    • Think of such areas as: Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism.

    • Ideally, library holdings should be both multidisciplinary and cross-cultural.

    • Arguably, they must have a Global Perspective: “Only by locating Western traditions in the total history of humankind can one truly appreciate the commonalities these share with other religions as well as the uniqueness and integrity of each religious tradition.”

    • But achieving such global perspective is not always easy for a library – budgetary constraints/

    Innovative resources now common
    “Innovative” Resources Now Common Prominence

    Scholars often make use of materials not hitherto within the purview of the study of religion:

    • myths and folktales

    • poetry and devotional epics

    • psychoanalytic tracts and case studies

    • newspapers

    • popular journals and journals from other disciplines

    • studies and theoretical works from the social sciences

    • the published writings of feminists, Third World commentators, and so on.

    Libraries collections are often scattered
    Libraries Collections are often Scattered Prominence

    • It’s often difficult to categorize religious materials neatly or easily:

      • In LC, for example, most religious materials are in the BL-BX classification, but religious ethics is in BJ, religious dance and aspects of primitive religions in GV, religious music in M, and religion in literature and religious drama in PN.

    Great need for a collection policy statement
    Great Need for a Collection Policy Statement Prominence

    • While a policy is of course needed to ensure the integrity and comprehensiveness of the collection, it will also help safeguard against undue pressure from specific “difficult” groups or individual patrons.

    • Example at Boston College

    Factors in building a religious studies collection
    Factors in Building a Religious Studies Collection Prominence

    • Size and type of the institution

    • Level of academic program (undergraduate or graduate)

    • Current curricular needs of the institution

    • Anticipated needs due to curricular changes

    • Should be close cohesion between different collection developers and different budget lines.

    Types of religious literature
    Types of Religious Literature Prominence

    • Of course, the major types may be conveniently considered as

      • Primary

      • Secondary

    Another way of classifying the literature
    Another Way of Classifying the Literature Prominence

    • Source Literature

    • Critical Literature

    • Historical Literature

    • Documentary Literature

    Popular literature
    “Popular Literature" Prominence

    • Includes the fiction, inspirational works pamphlets, sermons, music, and self-help materials produced by many religious and secular houses as well as by local congregations and other groups.

    Selected basic guides to the literature
    Selected Basic Guides to the Literature Prominence

    • Our Humanities Textbook

    • John F. Wilson and Thomas P. Slavens' Research Guide to Religious Studies (1982) --Textbook p. 67

    • Robert Kepple's Reference Works for Theological Research: an Annotated Selective Bibliographical Guide (3rd ed. 1992) -- Textbook 103

    • James R. Kennedy’s Library Research Guide to Religion and Theology: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources (2nd ed. Rev. 1984) Textbook 102

    • Titles in the G. K. Hall series, The Asian Philosophies and Religions Resource Guides


    • Edward D. Starkey’s ProminenceJudaism and Christianity: A Guide to the Reference Literature (1991) Textbook 101

    • G. E. Gorman’s Theological & Religious Reference Materials: General Resources and Biblical Studies 3 v. (1984). V. 2 focuses on systematic/doctrinal theology and ethics. No particular denominational focus. Textbook 195

    Indexes Prominence

    • Because the field is so large, no general index can provide access to information on all the published material needed for scholarship in religion.

    Religion index atla religion database textbook 135
    Religion Index (ATLA Religion Database) ProminenceTextbook 135

    • Produced by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA), this work contains citations to books and articles on religion and theology published since 1949 in a variety of languages.

    • Available print and online

    Catholic periodical and literature index textbook 130
    Catholic Periodical and Literature Index ProminenceTextbook 130

    • 1967/68-present (print); 1981 - present (Online)

    • Indexes more than 190 Roman Catholic periodicals as well as papal documents, church promulgations, and books about the Catholic faith, authored by Catholics or produced by Catholic publishers.

    Francis bulletin signal tique textbook 132
    FRANCIS Bulletin Signalétique ProminenceTextbook 132

    • An electronic continuation of the print index Francis Bulletin signalétique 527: histoire et sciences des religions along with other Francis indexes.

    • Covers a wide range of multilingual, multidisciplinary information in the humanities and social sciences, especially philosophy, religion, art history, and literature.

    • Coverage is 1984 to the present and 80% of records include an author abstract.

    Encyclopedias Prominence

    • New Catholic Encyclopedia. 19 v. 1967-1996. Also Online

      English language work for all subjects in Catholic tradition including theology. Textbook 174

    • The Catholic Encyclopedia.

      This is an electronic version of the standard 15 volume reference work published during 1907-1913. The articles are still in the process of being digitized but a great many are already available and still useful despite the dated scholarship.

    More encyclopedias
    More Encyclopedias Prominence

    • Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (1995). 4 vols.Textbook 190

    • Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology: A Compendium of Information (1996) 4th ed. 2 vols.Textbook 193

    • New Age Encyclopedia: A Guide to the Beliefs, Concepts, Terms, People, and Organizations (1990)Textbook 196

    Some recent encyclopedias
    Some Recent Encyclopedias Prominence

    • Betz, H. D. (2007). Religion past & present : Encyclopedia of theology and religion. Brill.

    • Eisen, A., & Laderman, G. (2007). Science, religion, and society : An encyclopedia of history, culture, and controversy. M.E. Sharpe.

    • Hill, S. S., Lippy, C. H., & Wilson, C. R. (2005). Encyclopedia of religion in the south. Mercer University Press.

    • Keller, R. S., Ruether, R. R., & Cantlon, M. (2006). Encyclopedia of women and religion in north america. Indiana University Press.

    • Lewis, J. R. (2002). The encyclopedia of cults, sects, and new religions. Prometheus Books.

    • McMickle, M. A. (2002). An encyclopedia of african american christian heritage. Judson Press.

    • Merriman, S. A. (2007). Religion and the law in america : An encyclopedia of personal belief and public policy. ABC-CLIO.

    • Neusner, J., & Avery-Peck, A. (2007). Encyclopedia of religious and philosophical writings in late antiquity : Pagan, judaic, christian. Brill.

    • Religion past & present : Encyclopedia of theology and religion(2007). Brill.

    More recent encyclopedias
    More Recent Encyclopedias Prominence

    • Salamone, F. A. (2004). Encyclopedia of religious rites, rituals, and festivals. Routledge.

    • Siker, J. S. (2007). Homosexuality and religion : An encyclopedia. Greenwood Press.

    • Taylor, B. R., Kaplan, J., Hobgood-Oster, L., Ivakhiv, A. J., & York, M. (2005). The encyclopedia of religion and nature. Thoemmes Continuum.

    • Thiselton, A. C. (2002). A concise encyclopedia of the philosophy of religion. Oneworld.

    • Van Huyssteen, W. (2003). Encyclopedia of science and religion. Macmillan.

    • Verkamp, B. J. (2008). Encyclopedia of philosophers on religion. McFarland.

    • Yao, X. (2003). RoutledgeCurzon encyclopedia of confucianism. Routledge.

    Encyclopedia of religion
    Encyclopedia of Religion Prominence

    • Online

    • An electronic version of a 14 volume reference work originally edited by Mircea Eliade, the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Religion includes almost all of the 2,750 original entries, many updated, as well as approximately 600 entirely new articles written by an international team of scholars.

    Encyclopaedia of the qur an
    Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an Prominence

    • The Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an is an encyclopedic dictionary of qur'anic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis extended with essays on the most important themes and subjects within qur'anic studies.

    Encyclopaedia of judaica
    Encyclopaedia of Judaica Prominence

    • Online

    • The 2nd edition of the major English language encyclopedia of Jewish life and knowledge from the time of Abraham to the contemporary State of Israel. It features 2,600 completely new articles by top scholars, representing all major universities and centers of research in Jewish studies throughout the world.

    • Textbook 182

    Dictionaries handbooks companions
    Dictionaries, Handbooks, Companions Prominence

    • The Blackwell Dictionary of Judaica (1992) Textbook 181

    • The New Dictionary of Theology. Ed. by Komonchak, Collins, and Lane (1987) Catholic emphasis. Textbook 175

    • The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed. 1997. Entries on figures, movements, and events as well as themes and terms. Textbook 176

    • Historical Dictionary of Hinduism (1997)Textbook 186

    Some recent dictionaries handbooks etc
    Some Recent Dictionaries, Handbooks Etc. Prominence

    • An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies; edited by Orlando O. Espin and James B. Nickoloff. Liturgical Press, c2007.

    • The Brill Dictionary of Religion / edited by Kocku von Stuckrad ; revised edition of Metzler Lexikon Religion edited by Christoph Auffarth, Jutta Bernard and Hubert Mohr. Brill, 2007. 4 vols.

    • Aponte, E. D., & Torre, D. L. (2006). Handbook of Latina/o Theologies. Chalice Press.

    • Beckford, J. A., & Demerath, N. J. (2007). The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. SAGE Publications.

    • Clarke, P. B. (2009). The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Oxford.

    • De Souza, M. (2006). International Handbook of the Religious, Moral and Spiritual Dimensions in Education. Springer.

    • Gottlieb, R. S. (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology. Oxford.

    • Guinn, D. E. (2006). Handbook of Bioethics and Religion. Oxford.

    • Harvey, S. A., & Hunter, D. G. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. Oxford.

    • Haynes, J. (2009). Routledge Handbook of Religion and Politics.Routledge.

    • Juergensmeyer, M. (2006). The Oxford Handbook of Global eligions. Oxford.

    More recent dictionaries handbooks etc
    More Recent Dictionaries, Handbooks Etc. Prominence

    • Lindley, S. H., & Stebner, E. J. (2008). The Westminster Handbook to Women in American Religious History. Westminster John Knox Press.

    • Maier, Bernhard (1997. Dictionary of Celtic Religion and Culture. Boydell Press, 1997.

    • Miller, Mary Ellen. An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. Thames and Hudson, 1997.

    • The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. R.J. Zwi Werblowsky, Geoffrey Wigoder, editors in chief. Oxford University Press, 1997

    • Paloutzian, R. F., & Park, C. L. (2005). Handbook of the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. Guilford Press.

    • Prokurat, Michael. Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Church. Scarecrow Press, 1996.

    • Reese, William L. Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion. Humanities Press International, 1996.

    • Religious Sites in America: A Dictionary. Mary Ellen Snodgrass. -- ABC-CLIO, c2000.

    • The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions; edited by John Bowker. Oxford. c1997.

    • The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion; ed. by S. Price and E. Kearns. Oxford, 2003.

    Full text web subscription
    Full-Text Web (Subscription) Prominence

    Patrologia Latina

    • The Patrologia Latina comprises the works of the Church Fathers from Tertullian in 200 AD to the death of Pope Innocent III in 1216.

      Patrologiae Graecae

    • Coverage:100-1439

    • Long a classic, this series of more than 160 volumes remains the most comprehensive collection of Greek patristic material relevant to the study of the history of the Christian Church from its beginnings through the Council of Florence in 1439.

    Acta sanctorum
    Acta Sanctorum Prominence

    • Subscription database

    • A principal source for research on the lives of the saints from the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the sixteenth century.

    The bible in english
    The Bible in English Prominence

    • Subscription Database

    • Twenty-one versions of the English Bible from the 10th century West Saxon Gospels to the Good News Bible (1976).

    Luthers werke im www
    Luthers Werke im WWW Prominence

    • Subscription Database

    • The electronic form of the Weimar Edition, which is regarded as a monumental work in the field of theology and the German language, was first published in 1883 and includes 112 volumes in 117 sections.

    Digital library of classic protestant texts
    Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts Prominence

    • Subscription Database

    • A collection of 1,500 works from the Reformation and post-Reformation eras in mostly 16th and 17th century editions. Works include the theological writings of more than 300 Protestant authors, as well as a wide range of confessional documents, biblical commentaries, polemical treatises, and Bible translations.

    • In addition to the usual search categories (author, title, keyword), researchers can limit searches to specific theological topics, social/cultural topics, theological tradition, place of publication, publisher, and document type.

    Digital library of the catholic reformation
    Digital Library of the Catholic Reformation Prominence

    • Transcriptions and facsimiles of documents, including papal and synodal decrees, catechisms and inquisitorial manuals, biblical commentaries, theological treatises and systems, liturgical writings, saints' lives, and devotional works by Catholic authors of the 16th and 17th centuries.

    Index islamicus
    Index Islamicus Prominence

    • Index Islamicus is a multidisciplinary index of the literature of Islam and the Muslim world. It includes over approximately 250,000 records of journal articles, books, chapters of books, conference proceedings, monographs, multi-authored works and book reviews covering the Accounting, Archaeology, Arts, Bibliography & Scholarship, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Islam, Law, Literature, Natural & Applied Sciences, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Social Sciences, Theology, Travel and Zoology of the Islamic world and particularly the Muslim areas of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. It is produced by the Islamic Bibliography Unit of the Library of Cambridge University and currently covers over 2000 journal titles. Updated annually.

    Index of articles on jewish studies rambi
    Index of Articles on Jewish Studies (RAMBI) Prominence

    • Free (open access) Database

    • A selective bibliography of articles in the various fields of Jewish studies and in the study of Eretz Israel. Material listed in Rambi is compiled from thousands of periodicals and from collections of articles - in Hebrew, Yiddish, and European languages- mainly from the holdings of the Jewish National and University Library. RAMBI Web Catalog - Unicode Edition contains the entire Rambi database (1966 - present) and uses a Unicode-based interface to facilitate display and entry of Hebrew characters.

    Index to jewish periodicals
    Index to Jewish Periodicals Prominence

    • The Index to Jewish Periodicals provides citations to articles, book reviews, feature stories, and other contents in English, appearing in more than 190 periodicals devoted to Jewish culture and history.

    Many full text cd roms
    Many Full-Text CD ROMs Prominence

    For example:

    • Thomas Aquinas (full-text)

      In addition to Thomas's entire corpus of writings, this includes 61 other works contemporary to Thomas.


      As a computerized Patrology, it covers the period from the late second century to the fifteenth century -- Latin texts from Tertullian to William of Ockham.

    Print serials with good bibliographies
    Print Serials with Good Bibliographies Prominence

    • Religious Studies Review (1975-)

      A quarterly publication established in 1975, offers abstracts of recent books from the entire array of subfields in the discipline.

      English titles predominate, although other languages are also represented. It also includes recent dissertations, and dissertations in progress.

      However, its usefulness is limited by the lack of cumulative volumes or indexes other than an annual one, and by its emphasis on English-language titles.


    Ephemerides theologicae lovanienses vol 1 1924
    Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses vol. 1- (1924-) Prominence

    • This Belgian quarterly publication is particularly useful for references to the international monographs and articles that are crucial to research in the field of religion, and includes Third World literature as well as Western.

    Current bibliographies two european publications
    Current Bibliographies ProminenceTwo European publications

    • Theologische Revue (Munster), v. 1- (1902-); bimonthly.

      • Roman Catholic focus, with emphasis on German materials, but international coverage. Book review section followed by a "Theologische Bibliographie" of new books and articles in classified arrangement. Annual author index to books reviewed but not to items in the Bibliographie; no subject index.

  • Theologische Literaturzeitung (Berlin), v. 1- (1876-); monthly.

    • Protestant German focus. Book reviews arranged by subject areas, often with supplementary lists of articles, dissertations and books on the same topics.

  • Biblical studies
    Biblical Studies Prominence

    • Scholars of biblical studies and ancient religion rely on sacred texts in many languages, including Syriac, Hebrew, Greek, NeoAssyrian, Aramaic and Sumerian, plus secondary literature on them.

    Abstracts biblical studies
    Abstracts Prominence(Biblical Studies)

    • Old Testament Abstracts (1978-) 3 times a year. Textbook 246 Also Online

    • New Testament Abstracts (1956-) 3 times a year. Textbook 245 Also Online

    • International Zeitschriftenschau für Bibelwissenschaft und Grenzgebiet (1951–) Annual. Textbook 243

    Ancient western religion
    Ancient Western Religion Prominence

    • The annual index L’Annee Philologique covers ancient religion.

      Print and online.

    Unpublished material creates problems
    Unpublished Material Creates Problems Prominence

    Let’s take an example . . . . .

    History of religion among african americans
    History of Religion among African Americans Prominence

    • church minutes and records,

    • collections of sermons,

    • manuscript autobiographies,

    • pamphlets and religious tracts,

    • travelers' accounts,

    • oral histories,

    • personal correspondence

      • and so on.

    Often it is found in special collections
    Often, it is found in special collections often very scattered.

    • For example:

      • The New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

      • The Moreland-Spingarn Collection at Howard University

    Microform collections
    Microform Collections often very scattered.

    • . . . large collections of otherwise unobtainable church and religious history records available in libraries throughout the world -- a drawback of many such sets is that no index or descriptive catalog is readily available to inform scholars of the specific contents of the collections.

    Web resources
    Web Resources often very scattered.

    • See for example Religion Web Sites