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Michigan State University

Religions of the World: Periodical Indexes

This is a guide to researching religions of the world: Western and Eastern Christianity, Eastern religions, Islam, Bahai, New Age Movements, Judaism. Last updated 06-26-2023

Periodical Indexes

Periodical indexes are used to find journal articles, book reviews appearing in the journal literature, conference proceedings, festschriften (essays in honor of someone), and similar materials.  Many periodical indexes now offer links to the full texts of the materials they index.  If you do not see a link to full text in the index entry, check E Books and Journals to see if we own/subscribe to the online version of the journal.   If we do not, then check Books and Media to see if we own/subscribe to the journal in paper copy.  If you don't find we own it at all, then apply for your article on interlibrary loan.  Be sure to write down or print out the complete citation to the article you want to find: its author, title, the journal name, volume number, issue date, and pages.  You'll need that information in order to find it in the Library.

Subject headings to try: Afro-American churches; Afro-Americans--church history; Bible (OT)--[specific book of the Bible]; bioethics; ethics; clones (biology); Catholic Church--[country name]; Eastern churches--history; education, medieval; gender; genetics; Islam; [country name]--religion; homosexuality; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); [last name, first name of person]; Reformation--Germany; Reformed Churches--history; same sex marriage; women--Africa; women, Muslim; women and religion; women in Islam; women in religion; women in the Bible; women ministers. Bibles (NT)--[book of the Bible]; Catholic Church--US; feminism; homosexuality; human embryo; Jesuits; Jesus Christ; John Paul II, Pope, 1920- ; popes; women and religion--[place]; women in the Catholic Church.

Subject headings to try: Christianity; Holocaust; Holocaust denial literature; Holocaust literature; Holocaust, study and teaching; Holocaust survivors; Holocaust survivors' children; homosexuality; identity, Jewish; immigration and emigration; Islam; Israel; Judaism, ancient; Judaism, Orthodox; Judaism and Christianity; women; women, Jewish

Covers a more extensive, international range of sources with a greater level of subject analysis, though more selectively, than either Index to Jewish Periodicals or ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.

Subject headings to try:  Mormons; Blacks and church; church history; Presbyterianism; Presbyterian Church in the United States of America; missions; Finney, Charles Grandison; [name of denomination]; [last name, first name of person]

Mission Periodicals Online (from Yale University Libraries)

Browse alphabetically by title.  See some full texts.  

Religion is highly significant to study of the medieval period.  Print vols. of this index are in Main Z 6203 .I48.  Subject headings to try: Papacy; nunneries; morality plays; missals, liturgical books; Mendicant orders; mysticism; altarpieces; Alcuin, scholar; Apocalypse; Bernard de Clairvaux, theologian

In Advanced Search, scroll down to the Subject Search line and click on the box "All Subjects."  This pulls up a list of different kinds of history, of which "Religious history" is one and "Sources" is another.  If you want primary sources, choose "Sources."  In "Religious history" click on a word/phrase in the left column to expand the topic; this can be done several times, with each choice becoming more subject specific.  When you reach the desired level of specificity, click on the box beside the topic, scroll up to the top of the screen and click on "Insert/close" at top right.  This pastes your choice into the search work form.  Or, try a free text search using the "All index terms on the search work form. There, click on "Browse" beside the search box on to look up their terminology for the keywords you think of.  You can also search by place name, personal name, or time period.  Examples: All subject terms-Sources; sources by origin-ecclesiastical records-churchwardens' accounts.  Or, All subject terms-Religious history-religious reform-Great Awakening

Subject headings to try: Best to combine keywords with their broad topics: Biblical theology; Epistles-Revelation; Gospels-Acts; New Testament.  New Testament has sub-sub headings, such as archaeology, early church, Greco-Roman, Jewish, gnosticism, etc.  Can also search by scripture reference, such as Acts 1.  Limiting results is possible by year, publication, or type of material desired (book, article, review, software.)

Subject headings to try:  Uses broad subject topics, such as archaeology, historical books, major prophets, minor prophets, Pentateuch, writings: Psalms; writings, Job through Sirach.  It is best to combine a broad topic with a keyword.  Limiting is possible by date, language, type of material desired.  Can also search by Biblical scripture reference to find writings on that text.

Uses Key word in title indexing (KWIT) done by computer,  which often yields less useful subject results than indexing done by humans using controlled vocabulary terms.   Has the capacity to search for cited references, which other indexes mostly do not have.  Subject headings to try:  any word that might appear in a book or periodical article title on your topic may be searched.

Many history and philosophy journals are covered, but not so many religious studies journals.  Subject headings used are those of the Library of Congress, which are the ones used in our online catalog.  Can also search by article title words, words in the full texts of the articles, or words in all fields except those in the full-texts (the basic index entry words). Subject headings to try:  African-American churches; bioethics--religious aspects; human cloning; Catholic Church; Catholic Church--Byzantine rite; Catholic Church--clergy; Catholic Church--history; church work with immigrants; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945); Holocaust denial literature; Holocaust survivors; homosexuality--religious aspects; Islam; Islamic fundamentalism; missions to Muslims; Mormons; Muslim women; Presbyterians; [name of denomination]; Bible. English--versions--authorized; Bible--Black interpretations; Bible--feminist criticism; Talmud; Torah scrolls; Koran

Review of Biblical Literature

Review of Biblical Literature (RBL), founded by the Society of Biblical Literature, presents reviews of books in biblical studies and related fields.