BTS 2650: Eastern Orthodox Theological Tradition

Identifying and Compiling Your Sources

Identifying Relevant Literature

  • For an assigned course paper, initial research is often quite introductory, involving students’ attempt to gain some beginning orientation to their (sometimes assigned, rather than chosen) subject.
  • A wise recommendation in such cases is to read articles in some of the relevant reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, or companions) for overviews of the subject.
  • At more advanced levels, you may be past that initial orientation stage, but such reference work articles can still be fundamental for more advanced research.
  • You should consult the relevant articles in all of the major reference works that pertain to your research subject, both older and newer.
    • The more specialized reference works are particularly helpful
      • E.g., because its focus allows longer, more detailed articles, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels is referable to a single volume dictionary like the Eerdmans Bible Dictionary or even a multi-volume dictionary like the New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 5 vols., or the Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6 vols.
      • Similarly, Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity (or the Wiley Blackwell Companion to Patristics or the Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, etc.) is preferable to, e.g., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church or the New Catholic Encyclopedia, rev. ed.
      • Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia is preferable to even the early Christianity works for research on Augustine.
  • Some repetition is inevitable in reading multiple overviews and bibliographies.
    • Do not overlook such repetition or regard it as a distraction; instead, recognize the significance of the repeated viewpoints, authors, and works.
    • Similarly, you should note carefully the diversity in the overviews and bibliographies, which may indicate varying interpretations with which you should become familiar.
  • What to look for in reference book entries
    • The articles will provide bibliographies of some of the most important prior literature on your subject, which you should gather as completely as possible.
      • Note the newest literature, for updated information on editions, research, and interpretations. 
      • But also note the older literature that is mentioned, for their contributions have earned their continued inclusion. Older works are not mentioned in the article or listed in the bibliography unless they have enduring significance.
      • Thorough scholarship requires knowing the history of the discipline and of the specific question as well as currency with contemporary developments.
    • The articles will provide a preliminary list of the range of notable scholars on the subject. These scholars will provide you with conversation partners and foils for the development of your arguments.
    • These articles will provide key vocabulary, terms and phrases that will be essential for fruitful subject research in the library catalog and databases.
    • Reference book articles will provide a variety of overviews and thus identify the range of significant perspectives or viewpoints on your subject.
    • Learning these elements of your subject is essential to learning the state of the question and targeting your research.
    • Scholarship requires such mastery on a range of persons, movements, organizations, events, time periods, etc.
  • The next step is to follow up these reference article bibliography citations by finding the books and articles listed or mentioned.
    • Then search the footnotes/endnotes of these books and articles for additional referrals.
    • Repeat the bibliography tracking as long as necessary to find the breadth and depth of resources required for your paper.
  • Each article or book that you use can be a source of additional subject vocabulary, authors, or titles, so you should record the full bibliographical information and retrieve these new items.
  • Keep a full and precise record of every source that you find, for consultation, for further reference, and for your bibliography.

Citation Examples

  • Chicago/Turabian (Bibliography)

    Nassif, Bradley. Bringing Jesus to the Desert: Uncover the Ancient Culture, Discover Hidden Meanings. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

    Nassif, Bradley, ed. New Perspectives on Historical Theology: Essays in Memory of John Meyendorff. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996.

     Nassif, Bradley. "Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism compatible? Yes : the Evangelical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church." In Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, ed. James J. Stamoolis, 27-87. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.

    Nassif, Bradley. "The "Spiritual Exegesis" of Scripture: The School of Antioch Revisited." Anglican Theological Review75, no. 4 (Fall 1993): 437-470.

  • ​​Chicago/Turabian (Notes)

Bradley Nassif, Bringing Jesus to the Desert: Uncover the Ancient Culture, Discover Hidden Meanings (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).

Bradley Nassif, ed. New Perspectives on Historical Theology: Essays in Memory of John Meyendorff (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1996).

 Bradley Nassif, "Are Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism Compatible? Yes : the Evangelical Theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church" in Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, ed. James J. Stamoolis, 27-87 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004).

Bradley Nassif, "The "Spiritual Exegesis" of Scripture: The School of Antioch Revisited," Anglican Theological Review 75, no. 4 (Fall 1993): 437-470.

Formatting Your References

Turabian (and its parent, the Chicago Manual of Style) documentation format has a consistent rationale:

  • Each note (whether footnotes or endnotes) is a single sentence.
    • The only period is at the end of the citation.
    • Only commas and semi-colons, and colons occur within the citation.
    • Series and publishing information is included in a parenthesis at the end of the note, before the period.
  • Book:
    • Author’s first name, last name, Title: subtitle (Place of publication: Publisher, date), page(s).
  • Journal article:
    • Author’s first name, last name, “Article title,” Journal Title vol. no., issue no. (date [including month or season, if present]): page or page-page, url [if accessed online].
  • Edited book:
    • Editor’s first name, last name, ed., Title: subtitle (Series; Place of publication: Publisher, date).
  • Edited book [multiple editors]:
    • first name, last name; first name, last name; first name, last name, eds., Title: subtitle (Series; Place of publication: Publisher, date).
  • Article in book:
    • Name, “Article title” in Book Title: subtitle, ed. Name(s), page-page (Series; Place of publication: Publisher, date).

Bibliography citations, on the other hand, are not a sentence. Periods occur after each basic unit:

  • Book:
    • Author’s last name, first name. Title. Series. Place of publication: Publisher, date.
  • Journal article:
    • Author’s last name, first name. “Title.” Journal title vol. no., issue no. (Date [including month or season, if present]): page-page. url [if accessed online].
  • Edited book:
    • Editor’s last name, first name, ed., Title: subtitle. Series. Place of publication: Publisher, date.
  • Edited book [multiple editors]:
    • Last name, First name; First name, Last name; First name, Last name, eds. Title: Subtitle. Series. Place of publication: Publisher, date.
  • Article in book:
    • Last name, first name. “Article title.” In Book Title: Subtitle, ed. first name, last name(s), page-page. Series. Place of publication: Publisher, date.