On this page is a list of the major tools for the indentification of monographs and articles. Please do not be intimidated by the length of it. Concentrate for starters on the following three:
Turn to the rest only as needed, and please don't hestitate to ask for help.
Non-serial bibliographies are bibliographies that, once published, grow rapidly out of date. Serial bibliographies are bibliographies that attempt to keep up with (i.e. incorporate also) the new literature as it appears.
Non-serial bibliographies, too (depending on how they are organized), but especially serial bibliographies must be searched in at least four different ways:
Implicit in the bullet points above should be the suggestion that you search also (if necessary) for scholarship
and especially if you're having trouble coming up with enough on the very passage you've chosen. I.e., if you are, then back out into a search for scholarship on a topic that is relevant to the passage in question, but broader, larger.
No even serial bibliography is as reliable on quality as the up-to-date recommendation of an expert. So follow the "links", by which I mean any suggestions made by Drs. Holmes and Nienhuis or scholars they think highly of, whether in the form of the recommendations they make, or in the form of the foot/endnotes and bibliographies they compose.
Some (though far from all!) Commentaries offer passage- or pericope-specific bibliographies. Here, for example, is a shot of the bibliography specific to Mt 12:22-29 on pp. 496-497 of the 2005 New international Greek testament commentary on The Gospel of Matthew, by John Nolland:
Pericope-specific bibliographies like this one are a great way to identify books and articles on the passage you're studying. But it is important to keep their dates of publication in mind. Take this one, for example. Because this commentary on The Gospel of Matthew was published in 2005, the pericope-specific bibliographies it contains will grow increasingly out-of-date as time passes. They will be current through early in the year 2005 at best. For this reason non-serial bibliographies like this one should be supplemented by searches of one or more of the serial bibliographies listed below, just for example the Atla Religion Database or New Testament Abstracts.
In lines 6 and following (above), the abbreviation TynB appears. As usual, a list of abbreviations located near the beginning of the volume makes it clear (on p. xxxvi in this case) that TynB stands for the journal Tyndale bulletin:
And once you know what an abbreviation like TynB stands for, you are in a position to Find the Full Text.
Another, somewhat different sort of example would be the pericope-specfic bibliographies in Murray J. Harris, John, Exegetical guides to the Greek New Testament (B & H Academic, 2015), BS 2615.53 .H37 2015.
Two examples of book-length non-serial bibliographies are
by Watson E. Mills. Both focus on articles to the exclusion of monographs, and both are (or, as in the case of the first, contain sections) organized by passage, though the latter (the second of the two listed below) makes this organization by passage more obvious.
As usual, a list of abbreviations near the front of each volume makes the sources of these articles (the titles of the journals in which they appear) more obvious. Thus, the abbreviation at entry no. 4759.483 in the first (the Index to periodical literature on Christ and the Gospels), namely NTSt, is found to stand for the journal New Testament studies. And once you know that, you know enough to Find the Full Text.
Book catalogs should be searched in at least four complementary ways (leaving to one side the search for an already known item by author and/or title):
By passage: The Subject field of the SPU book catalog can be searched by passage, as follows:
bible book chapter (Roman) verse (Arabic) ->
bible john iv 1
You can be that specific, assuming that there's something on (or beginning with) that particular verse to be found. And you can search the Subject field for headings like this in two ways:
Note that the number of results increases if I set the Search Scope to SPU Library + Summit:
Note, too, that I would get a different set of results were I to 1) drop the reference to verse 1 (bible john iv) or 2) acknowledge in the way I construct my search that John chapter 4 might be treated in a study beginning with John chapter 1 (bible john i). The following search in illustration of that last point has been manipulated in order to make the monograph Belief in the word: reading the Fourth Gospel, John 1-4 rise to within sight of the search boxes:
Because it is so much more comprehensive than even the Summit catalog, I sometimes run my searches by passage in Harvard's Hollis Classic, and then look for what I find there in the SPU or Summit book catalogs:
By keyword as well as official subject heading: Official subject headings--including those that allow for searches by passage, but also those like Wicked husbandmen (Parable), below--can be extremely helpful.
But they sometimes go unassigned, and should therefore never be taken for granted. Note, for example, that you would not find the following monograph by searching on the official subject heading Wicked husbandmen (Parable) (or even Bible Mark XII), but only by searching by the keyword (keyphrase) Wicked Tenants. For this reason you should always search by keyword as well as official subject heading, and vice versa:
By Greek (or Hebrew) word: A form of the search by subject heading (not to mention keyword) would be the search by Greek (or Hebrew) word. This search
returns the following monograph, among others. Note that a reference to the Greek verb ἀγαπάω appears as Agapaō (The Greek word) in the official Subject area only, whereas the noun ἀγάπη (Agape) appears as a keyword elsewhere in the record, too:
The Atla Religion Database, like the book catalogs or any of the electronic databases listed below, should be searched in at least four complementary ways (leaving to one side the search for an already known item by author and/or title):
By passage: Of the four ways just mentioned, the least intutitive may be the search by passage, so we'll concentrate on that here. There are two ways to search the Atla Religion Database by passage. The first is the most accurately focused, but the second could return some scholarship missed by the other.
1. Use the Bible Citation index under More, then Indexes:
Browse for: scholarship on the passage you're interested in by entering at least Book, maybe also Chapter. (You could enter Verse or Verse range as well, but it would be much smarter to let the database present you with the options. Keep in mind, too, that the database will return hits in number-by-number order, thus placing Exodus 10 before Exodus 3, 3 being a higher number than 1.) Click on the Browse button (or press Enter), make your selections (probably plural!), and click on the Add button, which will enter the pericopes you've chosen into the Search box. Then click on the Search button, limiting your hits to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals, the English language, and so forth, as desired. This search will return only scholarship focused on the specific passages you've selected.
2. The second way to search the Atla Religion Database by passage would be to click on the Scriptures button at the top of the page:
Then, using the Next button, make your way to the Gospel you're interested in, and click on Expand:
Then choose the chapter you're studying and either click on it or Expand:
Then click on the verse:
Note that this effects an SR search that, like the ZP search under method no. 1 above, is easily manipulated:
At this point you may wish to limit your results to either Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals or at least Academic Journals. In any case pay particular attention to articles published in the journals recommended by your professor:
Note, however, that limiting the results of your search to either Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) or Academic Journals eliminates the Essays in the essay collections (as distinguished from the Articles) indexed by the Atla Religion Database. And these can be important, too. Francis Watson, for example, is a major name in biblical studies, yet this essay (in the book The open text: new directions for biblical studies?, which SPU happens to own) disappears from view when those limits are imposed:
A disadvantage of 1. the Bible Citation index search is that it—honing in on scholarship focused on only the very verses you specify—can be too precise. A disadvantage of 2. the Scriptures button search is that it can return material on much larger passages in which your verse or verses are, to be sure, included, but also material that does not focus sufficiently on the smaller pericope in which you are actually interested.
By keyword as well as official subject heading (and vice versa): Official subject headings--including those that allow for searches by passage, but also those like Wicked husbandmen (Parable), below--can be extremely helpful.
But they sometimes go unassigned, and should therefore never be taken for granted.
By Greek (or Hebrew) word:
For help getting your hands on the articles and essays indexed by the Atla Religion (or any other) database, go to Find the Full Text.
An advantage to Old and New Testament Abstracts over, say, the biblical studies indexing in the Atla Religion Database will be, not surprisingly, the keyword searching rendered even more effective by the (much more consistent) presence of searchable abstracts.
But in addition to searching by keyword (Select a Field (optional); AB Abstract; TI Title; etc.) and (far less effectively) SU Subject (or Subjects Topical index under Indexes), be sure to search also by passage. To do this use the
> (SC “John 6”) in Select a Field (optional) > 76:
Scripture Reference index under Indexes (a ZP search). This seems to be the best way to limit the hits on (for example) a “John 6” search to articles and essays dealing with the whole of John 6, given that the other two options (the one above and the one below) will return articles on (for example) verse 57 only.
> (ZP “John 6”) in Select a Field (optional) > 24:
SU Subjects field: “John 6” in SU Subject > 76:
Another extremely important (and now only formerly) serial bibliography of biblical studies (defunct after the publication in 2016 of vol. 27 (2011)) can be consulted in the Lemieux Library at Seattle University (though SPU owns a dead run that covers the years 1973-1990). Like New Testament abstracts, it must be consulted volume by volume, back to a reasonable point in the past. Here is a shot of the index by passage that its every volume contains. They contain other indices as well, for example a Voces index, or index of Greek (and other) words. As usual, abbreviations can be be looked up in the list of abbreviations located in each volume. CBQ stands for the Catholic biblical quarterly. And once you know that, you are ready to Find the Full Text.
Here are a few of the serial bibliographies in areas of study ancillary to the New Testament: