Reference Works for Theological Research: an Annotated Selective Bibliographical guide

Written by Robert J. Kepple Reviewed By Elmer A. Martens

This highly worth-while guide of 728 entries by the librarian of Westminster Theological Seminary greatly expands the 1978 edition with a surprising list of newly inaugurated reference tools. The first half lists entries on general religion and theology, such as encyclopaedias, handbooks, indices to periodicals, multi-authored works and dissertations. Three pages are given to bibliography of bibliographies (a gold mine). Lists of books in subject areas—Bible, theology, church history (six chapters), ethics, mission, etc. comprise the second half. With an index of 30 pages and a detailed table of contents easy access is assured.

The concise annotations are fair. They note purpose, thoroughness and sometimes theological stance, e.g.ISBE represents an ‘attitude of reasonable conservatism’. The selections are good. The range of listings is large: classic and recent works; English and foreign, Jewish and evangelical (well represented). Catholic entries are few since a comparable compendium exists. One learns of microfisch editions, booklists for seminaries in the Third World, a list of dissertations from the Old Testament (1928–1958) privately published. Unfortunately a discussion of access to computer data is missing. A very choice tool for beginning and seasoned scholars, and handy as a checklist for librarians.

Elmer A. Martens

Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Fresno, California