The Basics: Metasites, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries

Tools for Researching Religion

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Catholic Encyclopedia  
Information on the complete range of “Catholic interest, action, and doctrine.”  Not the best source of objective information on the interests, actions, and doctrines of other faiths—nor does it intend to be.  R 
Encyclopedia of Religion  
(William H. Swatos, Jr., Ed.)  Encyclopedia entries for religion related issues and topics from Abortion to Zoroastrianism.  R 
Glossarist (The)  
Under religion, the Glossarist presents eight pages of online religion-related glossaries from all kinds of traditions.  R
Irving Hexham’s Concise Dictionary of Religion  
(U Calgary)  As the title implies, brief dictionary entries for all matters religious.  R 

Primary Texts Online

Internet Sacred Text Archive  
(J. B. Hare)  An enormous collection of public-domain scriptures, myths, anthropological and archaeological studies organized under dozens of headings.  P  


(Cassiel Sophia)  Vast collection of articles on a most of the world’s religions, esoteric traditions, and spiritual paths.  Companion section on the sciences is less well-developed, but features articles on a variety of phenomena, theories, and figures in math, science, philosophy, psychiatry, linguistics, and more.  A good first stop for brief summary articles on all manner of subjects relating to belief and religious practice.  M
Philtar: Philosophy, Theology, and Religion  
(St. Martins College)  Includes numerous links and articles on the history, practice, beliefs, and practices under the general headings “Trans-cultural Religions,” “Regional Religions,” “Science and Religion,” and Encyclopedia of Religion.”  The encyclopedia, “Overview of World Religions”  is still in development, but worthwhile.  RM 
Religious Worlds  
Main categories: Religious Traditions, Academic Resources, Religion & Modernity, Religion and Cyberspace, Religious Experience, and Featured Sites.  Each features dozens of annotated links.  Tilts toward religions with memberships in the millions, but excellent.  M 
Virtual Religion Index
(Mahlon H. Smith)  Index of religion-related sites divided into 18+ categories.  Each category has dozens of wittily annotated links.  M 

Broken Links? Have I missed an important website? Please let me know so I can keep these pages current.