This guide is intended to orient the user to selected resources for the study of the Bible at Andover-Harvard Theological Library and in online resources licensed by the Harvard Library. It is written for Harvard library users and non-Harvard users interested in the type of information we can provide. It includes finding biblical texts, scholarly commentary in books and articles, and addtional sources of information (atlases, concordances, and dictionaries).
The resources listed here are only a small number of those available. For more information, contact a research librarian.
Use the "Printer-friendly version" at the bottom of this page to print it and all pages of this guide.
This guide was written by Micah J. Hoggatt in 2007 and revised by Clifford Wunderlich and Renata Kalnins in January 2008. If you found this guide helpful or want more information, contact a research librarian.
English language texts of the whole Bible are found in the reference collection and in the stacks at BS135-198. The call number for the New Revised Standard Version is BS191.5. Oxford Biblical Studies Online (valid Harvard ID and PIN required) includes Oxford Study Bible, New Oxford Annotated Bible (3rd ed.), Jewish Study Bible, Catholic Study Bible (2nd ed.), Access Study Bible with Apocrypha, and the Authorized King James Bible with Apocrypha; two translations can be compared on one screen.
Hebrew Bibles in the reference collection and in the stacks have the call number BS715. Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is in the reference collection at BS715 1977 and BS715 1984. Fascicles of Biblia Hebraica Quinta have the call number Ref. BS715 2005.
Greek New Testaments in the reference collection and in the stacks have the call number BS1965. There are two copies of the Nestle-Aland version (Novum Testamentum Graece) in the reference collection at BS1965 2004c, and a copy of the United Bible Societies edition (The Greek New Testament) at BS1965 1983b. The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition is at Ref. BS1965 2010b.
Texts of the whole Bible in ancient languages are found in the call numbers preceding the English texts (BS1-124) and in other modern languages after the English texts (BS199-355). Texts of the Hebrew Bible in ancient languages are found at BS701-815 and in modern European languages at BS825-1013. Texts of the New Testament in ancient languages are found at BS1901-2020 and in modern European languages at BS2025-2213.
See the library's page of Key E-Resources on Hebrew Bible-Old Testament and New Testament and Early Christianity for suggested online article databases. Note: In the ATLA Religion Database, Old Testament Abstracts, and New Testament Abstracts, click the "Scriptures" button and type in the book and chapter number to locate articles by text, for example, "Luke 10." Choose entries that appear in the list by clicking the boxes on the left and then click on the "Search" button. For more information about the ATLA Religion Database, see Using the ATLA Religion Database.
Search HOLLIS Classic for commentaries and other works on specific biblical books and passages. In the "Search type" columm, choose the option "Subject beginning with ..." and formulate your search like these examples: "bible o t job"; "bible n t romans" (remember to put a space between the "o" and "t" and the "n" and "t").
Also consider using:
There are many series of commentaries. Below are some of the major series in English. Note that some of the commentaries in these series are still being written.
[Ref. BS192.2.A1 1964 G3; also stacks] The Anchor Bible commentaries are intended for the general reader, yet are stringent in their linguistic and historical scholarship. Hebrew and Greek words are transliterated.
[Not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in Ref.] This series is an edited collection of early Christian writers' comments on the Bible. Depending upon the volume, short descriptions and chronologies of authors and anonymous works may be included in an appendix. An author index is included, along with a bibliography of original sources. The scope of the included material is somewhat limited, due to the editorial decision to focus on material appropriate for a lay audience and useful for common worship and spiritual formation. For scholarly work, it is suggested that the researcher utilize comment citations to locate the original source of the comment and read it in context.
[Not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in Ref. and stacks] This series offers commentaries on canonical, pseudepigraphic, and Apocryphal texts, employing a wide range of methodology within historical-critical interpretation, including textual criticism, history of tradition, history of religion, and contemporary literary analysis. All citations from ancient sources are translated into English.
[Ref. BS491.I6 and Ref.491.I619; also stacks] This series is concerned with detailed analysis of archaeological, historical, hermeneutical, and theological questions relating to the text. Practical and homiletical topics are generally avoided. The series was made to be accessible to the reader who lacks knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. The original series was begun in 1895, and the new series was inaugurated in 1975 to take advantage of more recent scholarship, discoveries, and methodology. Even though the original series is older, many volumes are still relevant to the field of biblical studies.
[Not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in the stacks] This series is an aid for homiletical and educational work, combining historical and theological inquiry.
[Ref. BS491.2.I65 and Ref. BS491.2.N484 1994; also stacks] These commentaries facilitate the use of critical scholarship in practical, pastoral applications. There are two commentaries for each biblical passage, one exegetical and the other homiletical or reflective. The King James and Revised Standard versions of the Bible are placed side by side for comparison in the older series; the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version are used in the new series.
[Not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in Ref.] These series published by the Jewish Publication Society integrates rabbinic tradition into a series of commentaries on the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The degree of engagement with source and textual criticism varies from volume to volume, but is generally conservative insofar as the Torah is viewed in its final (Jewish) canonical form. Linguistic matters along with Near Eastern literary and archaeological discoveries are well treated. Detailed excurses on particular topics are included in each volume. The JPS Bible Commentary series is a continuation of the JPS Torah Commentary, offering volumes on books from the Writings and Prophets.
[Old Testament: Ref. BS1151.2.N35; also stacks. New Testament: not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in Ref. and stacks] These commentaries are written from the perspective of Reformed theology. While theologically motivated, the commentaries are conversant with modern, critical scholarship. The introduction and main exposition of texts are in English, with more technical philological matters dealt with in footnotes, special notes, and appendixes. Revisions of some volumes have been published.
[Not shelved as a set; see call numbers for specific biblical books in Ref. and stacks] This series treats theological and literary dimensions of the Bible within the methodological framework of modern critical scholarship. Some volumes are translations of older works from the German series Das Alte Testament Deutsch. Others are commentaries original to the Old Testament Library, and still others are studies of themes and genres, as opposed to individual texts.
[BS491.2 .W67] This commentary is written from an interdenominational, yet clearly conservative Christian perspective. Hebrew and Greek words are used, with Greek words left in their original script. Treatment of texts is divided into four sections: transition, notes, form/structure/setting, and comment.
[Atlas Stand G2230.H47 1987] The Harper Atlas contains photographs and articles on a variety of subjects relating to the material and physical culture of the biblical world. It also includes both traditional flat maps and maps that take into account the curvature of the earth. The position of north varies from map to map.
[Ref. G2230.A2 1993] The Macmillan Atlas is arranged by topic. Each topic has an article (usually around 150-200 words) and an accompanying map. Conquests and campaigns are particularly well covered.
[Ref. BS630 .O96 2007] Oxford Bible Atlas includes photographs, maps, chronological charts, as well as helpful textual information on biblical periods, and the peoples and ciivilzations of the ancient Near East. Its content is included in Oxford Biblical Studies Online (valid Harvard ID and PIN required).
[Atlas Stand BS630.R356 2006] The Sacred Bridge is an extension of the 1993 Macmillan Bible Atlas, with a broader definition of the biblical world. It covers the entire eastern Mediterranean littoral known as the "Levant." It is arranged historically from the third millennium bce to the second century ce. Special attention is given to ancient written sources of geographical information, as well as to current archaeological research.
Atlases may also be found in several different areas in the Reference Room: the Atlas Stand, the BS section [Ref. BS630-636] of both regular size and folio, and the G section [Ref. G1021-GN739] of both regular size and folio, as well as in the stacks.
[Ref. BS425.Y7 1955] This resource lists the frequency and place of appearance of 311,000 English words that appear in the King James Version of the Bible. Entries are further subdivided into more specialized phrases, and into the Greek and Hebrew words being translated. A complete list of proper names as they appear in the King James Version is included, along with, depending on the edition, other resources. The index lexicon is located in the back of the concordance and is ordered not by number, like Strong's Concordance, but by English transliterations of the original Greek and Hebrew words. Included in the lexicon entries are the word in the original Greek or Hebrew script, some grammatical information, English translation (or translations) of the word, and its frequency of appearance in the Bible. A guide to using Young's Concordance is available here.
[Ref. BS425.S8 1970] This resource lists the frequency and place of appearance of every word in the King James Version, with the 47 most common words (e.g., "and," "but," and "the") found in an appendix. The concordance proper is sorted by English word. Each occurrence of the word is listed by verse and given a number that refers to corresponding numerical entries in the Greek or Hebrew and Aramaic dictionaries found at the back of the book. Dictionary entries include some grammatical information, English transliteration of the original word, definition of the word, and a list of the English translation(s) with their number of occurrence. Many other concordances and dictionaries utilize Strong's numbers, making it a valuable resource beyond its own covers. A revised version with the title The Strongest Strong's is also available [Ref. BS425.S8 2001a].
[Ref. BS2305.W45 2000] An exhaustive index to every occurrence of every significant word in the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Testament. The concordance provides information about each word in the original Greek that is being translated into English. Using transliteration of the Greek words and numbering as references, the user does not have to know Greek to take advantage of this analysis.
Additional English-language concordances are in Ref. BS425, and non-English language concordances are in Ref. BS427-28. Concordances to the Hebrew Bible are in Ref. BS1121, to the Septuagint in Ref. BS1122, and to the Greek New Testament in Ref. BS2302. Additional concordances may also be found in the stacks.
There are many English-language Bible versions online that can be searched like a concordance. The oremus Bible Browser includes the New Revised Standard Version; note that its default search text is the Anglicized version and you have to select the American version. Oxford Biblical Studies Online (valid Harvard ID and PIN required) offers searching of Oxford Study Bible, New Oxford Annotated Bible (3rd ed.), Jewish Study Bible, Catholic Study Bible (2nd ed.), Access Study Bible with Apocrypha, and the Authorized King James Bible with Apocrypha. Older English-language versions may be searched in The Bible in English (valid Harvard ID and PIN required).
[Ref.BS440.A54 1992; also on reserve] This dictionary is both accessible to a general audience and faithful to current scholarship. Entry topics range from archaeological sites, proper names, and historical events to the individual books of the canonical Bible, as well as Apocryphal texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Nag Hammadi codices. It tends to more thoroughly cover cultural history, social institutions, and methodology, paying less attention to topics such as word studies and commentaries than previous dictionaries like Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament or The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible. Helpful bibliographies are included with most entries. Organization is sometimes confusing, due to the lack of an index, but cross references are provided in entries.
[Ref. BS440.I63; also stacks] While in large measure superseded by The Anchor Bible Dictionary, this resource is a source of sound scholarship and superior organization. Like most Bible dictionaries of its time, it is less interested with methodological concerns than with compiling facts and attempting to reach a theological synthesis. Occasionally, articles that cannot be found in The Anchor Bible Dictionary can be found here. Bibliographies are included with some articles, but the bibliographies found in The Anchor Bible Dictionary are by far more current.
[Ref. BS440.N445 2006] This five-volume set includes over 7,000 entries that cover personal and geographical names, the Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context of the biblical world, methods of biblical interpretation, and theological and ethical concepts. It is not a revision of the older Interpreter's Dictionary, but a completely new work by scholars from around the world who represent a variety of perspectives from different theological traditions (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish), diverse theological trajectories (conservative and liberal), and the social locations of gender, ethnicity, and race.
[Ref. BS440 .O93 2011] The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible contains almost 150 in-depth entries, ranging in length from 500 to 10,000 words, on each of the canonical books of the Bible, major apocryphal books of the New and Old Testaments, important noncanonical texts, and thematic essays on topics such as canonicity, textual criticism, and translation. Entries from this and other biblical reference works published by Oxford University Press are found online in Oxford Biblical Studies Online (valid Harvard ID and PIN required).
[Ref. PA881.K513; also stacks] This multivolume work is a translation of Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, a collaboration of German scholars that began publication in 1932. It includes articles on "theologically significant" words in the contexts of secular Greek background, Septuagint and Hebrew Old Testament, New Testament, apostolic works (less frequent), and rabbinic and other Jewish literature (less frequent). The index includes English and Greek keywords, Hebrew and Aramaic words, biblical references, and an index of contributors. The dictionary employs the somewhat controversial method of equating theological concepts with words, thus applying those concepts to every usage of the word.
[Ref. BS440.B5713; also stacks] This multivolume work is a translation of Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament. The articles in this resource cover the fundamental concepts of "theologically significant" words from the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. Careful attention is paid to the nuances of meaning throughout different traditions. Earlier volumes are less likely to treat Qumran, pseudepigrapha, and rabbinic materials than later volumes. Near Eastern languages outside of Hebrew are consistently utilized for purposes of explication. Bibliographies and citations are extensive.
Inserted into the order of the books are the names of groups of books (for example, Pentateuch, Five Scrolls, Gospels), the most comprehensive always preceding.
The call number given is the start of a range of call numbers covering a book or a group of books. For most books of the Hebrew Bible, there are five numbers in the range. The first four are for texts of the book; these may have some commentary. The fifth call number is for criticism and commentaries. For example, texts of Genesis (with or without commentary) are found in the range BS 1231-1234; criticism and commentaries are found in BS1235-BS1235.6. For books of the Old Testament, there are six numbers in the range. The first five are for texts and the fifth is for criticism and commentaries. For example, texts of Matthew are found in the range BS2570-2574; criticism and commentaries are found in BS2575-2575.6.
Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
|BS 1143||Hebrew Bible as a whole|
|BS 1201||Historical books|
|BS 1221||Pentateuch (Torah)|
|BS 1286||Prophets (Nevi'im) in general|
|BS 1286.5||Former Prophets|
|BS 1308||The Writings (Ketuvim)|
|BS 1309||Five Scrolls|
|BS 1401||Poetical books|
|BS 1481||Song of Solomon|
|BS 1501||Prophetic books (Latter Prophets); Major Prophets|
|BS 1560||Minor Prophets|
|BS 1691||O.T. Apocrypha|
|BS 1830||O.T. Pseudepigrapha|
|BS 2333||N.T. as a whole|
|BS 2548||Gospels and Acts|
|BS 2589||Luke and Acts|
|BS 2640||Pauline Epistles|
|BS 2730||Pastoral Epistles|
|BS 2777||General or Catholic Epistles|