Reference Resources

Research in Middle East and South Asia (MESA) studies is of multidisciplinary nature. Below you will find the library’s most important online reference resources supporting this field of study. The library holds a multitude of other specialized resources for MESA studies, both online and in print.



Encyclopedia of Religion book cover

Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed. Macmillan, 2004. The second edition of a resource that is considered a standard reference in the field. Presents a cross-cultural approach that emphasizes religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture. The original 2,750 entries have been retained, many heavily updated, and approximately 600 entirely new articles have been added by an international team of scholars and contributors. Originally edited by Mircea Eliade, this is the most important encyclopedic work for religion. Access is provided through the Christopher Keller, Jr. '39 Library Endowment for Philosophy and Religion.


Encyclopedia of Islam book cover

Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed. Essential key to understanding the world of Islam, and the authoritative source not only for the religion, but also for the believers and the countries in which they live. The Third Edition is not yet completed.

Encyclopedia of the Qur'an book cover

Encyclopaedia of the Qur'an. Brill, 2006. Edited by Jane McAuliffe, this is the premier work for the study of the Koran. We also hold the print version.

Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures book cover

Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures. Interdisciplinary, trans-historical, and global project embracing women and Islamic cultures in every region where there have been significant Muslim populations. It aims to cover every topic for which there is significant research, examining these regions from the period just before the rise of Islam to the present. The Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures Online crosses history, geographic borders and disciplines to create a groundbreaking reference work reflecting the very latest research on gender studies and the Islamic world.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women book cover

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women. Ed. by Natana J. DeLong-Bas, 2013. Provides clear, current, comprehensive information on the major topics of scholarly interest within the study of Islam and women. With more than 450 articles written by leading international experts and with a concentration on contemporary issues, it is a single source for accurate overview articles covering all aspects of this flourishing area of research. Organized around the central conceptual themes in research on Islam and women including Self and Body, Immigration and Minorities, Culture and Expression, Politics and Polity, Community, etc.


The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity book cover

The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity. Cambridge UP, 2010. Online. An authoritative reference guide that enables college and seminary students, their teachers, and Christian clergy to reflect critically upon all aspects of Christianity from its origins to the present day. Written by a team of 800 scholars and practitioners from around the world, the volume reflects the plurality of Christianity throughout its history.

Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity book cover

The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Vol.1 and II. Wiley, 2011. Online. With a combination of essay-length and short entries written by a team of leading religious experts, the two-volume Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodoxy offers the most comprehensive guide to the cultural and intellectual world of Eastern Orthodox Christianity available in English today.

The Oxford Companion to the Bible book cover

The Oxford Companion to the Bible. Edited by Bruce M. Metzger and Michael Coogan. Oxford UP, 2004. Provides an authoritative one-volume reference to the people, places, events, books, institutions, religious belief, and secular influence of the Bible. Written by more than 250 scholars from some 20 nations and embracing a wide variety of perspectives, the Companion offers over seven hundred entries, ranging from brief identifications-who is Dives? where is Pisgah?-to extensive interpretive essays on topics such as the influence of the Bible on music or law.

A Dictionary of the Bible book cover

A Dictionary of the Bible, 2nd ed. By W.R.F. Browning. Oxford UP, 2010. A Dictionary of the Bible is the most acclaimed, accessible, and up-to-date dictionary of its kind. Containing over 2,000 authoritative entries it provides clear and concise information about all of the important places, people, themes, and doctrines of the Bible. Terms range from earthquakes and mice to martyrs and art, and new to this edition are entries on Act of God, Old Testament and New Testament theology, Hanukkah, the Koran, mysticism, and many more.


Encyclopedia Judaica book cover

Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed. Macmillan, 2007. 22 vols. Online. Provides an exhaustive and organized overview of Jewish life and knowledge from the Second Temple period to the contemporary State of Israel, from Rabbinic to modern Yiddish literature, from Kabbalah to "Americana" and from Zionism to the contribution of Jews to world cultures, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd edition is important to scholars, general readers and students.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion book cover

The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion, 2nd ed., 2011. Covers more than three millennia of Jewish religious thought, custom, law, and practice, from traditional approaches to Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and post-denominational Judaism. Brief definitions and longer essays, all supplemented with bibliographies, enlighten readers about the major figures, folklore, and events in the history of Judaism throughout the world.

A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion book cover

A Concise Companion to the Jewish Religion. Louis Jacobs. Oxford, 2003. Contains a wealth of information on every aspect of Jewish belief and practice, both ancient and modern. From Maimonides to Methuselah, Kabbalah to Kibbutz, Louis Jacobs provides an invaluable source of information for anyone wanting to learn more about the rich and diverse heritage of the Jewish religion. With all Hebrew terms clearly explained, entries range from personalities in the Bible to present-day Jewish thinkers and writers, and other coverage includes customs, traditions, and Jewish ideas on subjects as diverse as dance, vegetarianism, etc.


A Dictionary of Buddhism book cover

A Dictionary of Buddhism. Damien Keown. Oxford UP, 2004. This dictionary features broad-ranging entries on the history and doctrines of the major Buddhist schools, information on the spread of Buddhism in Asia and the West, and coverage of issues of contemporary concern such as human rights, abortion, euthanasia, ‘engaged Buddhism', and the role of women in Buddhist teachings.

Encyclopedia of Buddhism book cover

Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Ed. by Robert E. Buswell, Jr. Macmillan, 2004. This encyclopedia describes the Buddhist world view, basic teachings and practices of Buddhism, as well as its different schools and sects. In addition to containing entries on Buddhist scriptures, art, architecture, divinities, monastic orders, festivals, rites and ceremonies, this 2-vol. set explores the history of Buddhism, the different forms it has taken in different parts of the world, and how Buddhism has blended with other religions.


On Hinduism book cover

On Hinduism. Wendy Doniger. Oxford, 2014. Enhances our understanding of the ancient and complex religion to which she has devoted herself for half a century. This series of interconnected essays and lectures surveys the most critically important and hotly contested issues in Hinduism over 3,500 years, from the ancient time of the Vedas to the present day. The essays contemplate the nature of Hinduism; Hindu concepts of divinity; attitudes concerning gender, control, and desire; the question of reality and illusion; etc.

A Dictionary of Hinduism book cover

A Dictionary of Hinduism. W.J. Johnson. Oxford, 2009. Covering all the major Hindu practices, festivals, beliefs, gods, sacred sites, languages, and religious texts, this is the most comprehensive Hinduism dictionary of its kind. It contains 2,800 entries on everything from Tantra to temples, from bhakti to Divali , as well as biographical entries for key thinkers, teachers, and scholars. All entries are clear, concise, up to date, and fully cross-referenced.