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Most books in the Reference Collection are tertiary works that give readers a broad topical overview. Because you are new to researching and writing, these are a good place to start.
Image from the College and Lutheran Church Archives, Digital Collections, College Photographs
Reference Works: Basic Facts
Historical Atlas of the Religions of the World - Ref BL 80.2 .F28
Provides a geographical framework for the understanding of world religions, past and present. It features significant descriptive text along with maps.
Encyclopedia of Religion - Ref BL 31 .E46 2005
Covers religions from around the world and through history as well as people and ideas related to religion. The articles are written by experts in their fields and include excellent bibliographies. This new edition includes hundreds of new articles, thoroughly revised coverage of all topics in religion, and a handful of "visual essays" that illustrate visual culture as a significant aspect of religion.
Reference Works: Recommended Sources
Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America - Ref BL 2525 .I58 2006
A five-volume set that contains in-depth articles covering various aspects of American religions movements, ranging from alternative forms of Asian, African, Christian, and Jewish religions to considerations of New Age, Neopagan, and social aspects of alternative religions, such as gender, violence, legal aspects, and Millenialism.
Religion and American Cultures - Ref BL 2525 .R448 2003
Coverage in Volume 1 includes the intersection of culture and various religions in American life. Volume 2 addresses how religions approach various topics such as sacred space, the body, and death. Volume 3 contains a variety of primary source material.
Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience - Ref BL 2525 .E53 1988
Contains substantial articles surveying religions, cultural context, issues, and other broad topics, each with a helpful bibliography for further research.
Sexuality and the World's Religions - Ref BL65.S4 S5 2003
"What do the world's most important religious texts have to say about one of humanity's favorite activities? Editors David W. Machacek and Melissa M. Wilcox have brought together top scholars in the field of religious studies to ask and answer these critical questions. Carefully researched, elegantly written, and respectfully presented, Sexuality and the World's Religions explores the intersection of the spiritual and the carnal in Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and African and Native American spiritual traditions."
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