Brandel Library

BTS 2500: Introduction to Theology (Veeneman)


Beginning Your Research

  • Begin with specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias (for specific periods, traditions, doctrines, or individual theologians) for brief overviews.

  • Reference work articles also provide key vocabulary, concepts, persons, events, and disputed issues.

  • Reference works often include brief introductory bibliographies as well.

  • Consulting several reference works can fill in points omitted in another article.

  • Multiple articles can provide multiple perspectives on the subject, especially on the disputed aspects.

  • Identifying the principal criticisms and disputed issues is essential to understanding theologians and their place in its contemporary context and in the larger Christian tradition.

  • The repetitions of the multiple reference works helpfully emphasize the most important elements and points of consensus.

  • The bibliographies will point toward the next step, finding the best primary and secondary sources.

Primary & Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

  • First-hand information.

  • Created during the time period being studied.

  • For works from an earlier time period, we use a recent edition of the primary source writings, (see the various recent editions of Julian of Norwich "Showings" or Revelations of Divine Love, below). The names of the editors of these editions may appear prominently, but should not be mistaken for the name of the author of the primary source.

Secondary Sources

  • Second-hand information.

  • Describe, analyze, interpret, or otherwise comment on primary sources, using other primary sources as well as other secondary sources.

  • These may be written by a single scholar (see Denys Turner, Julian of Norwich, Theologian, below) or by a group of scholars (see Liz Herbert McAvoy, ed., A Companion to Julian of Norwich, below).

Note that some books include both primary sources and secondary sources. Volumes of primary sources often include secondary source material that introduces and explains the primary source. 

Blackwell's Great Theologians (aka "The Black & White books")

Your professor recommends this series for concise, scholarly information on theologians.  They are in the Reference section on the first floor.

We Have Your Texts

Single copies of your course books are in the textbook collection on the first floor of the library.  Click below to read portions online.