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Divinity Library Instructional Guide: the ATLA / ATLAS Religion Database

The most important and comprehensive database for religious studies is the ATLA/ATLAS Religion Database. The database includes a full range of index citations to journal articles, essays in multi-author works, and book reviews from ATLA's print indexes. Approximately 15% of citations now have full text available through the ATLAS project.

Searching

The database has been set to open onto the Advanced Search tab, which allows you to perform both single term searches and combined term searches.

Single Term Search:

For a single term search, simply type your search term into the search box after the word Find. In Advanced Search, leaving each search term set to Select a Field (optional) is the same as doing a keyword search. A keyword search searches every field in the record for the search term.

keyword search

You can also opt to search within a specific field, by using the dropdown list to the right of the search box and selecting the field you want to search in.

keyword search

Although there are many fields in which you can search, the three most important fields you may want to consider using are as follows:

  • AU Author
  • TI Title
  • SU Subject

When you are ready to search, click on the Search button.

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Combined Term Search:

For a combined term search, fill in more than one search box with the terms you want to combine, use the dropdown menu next to each search box to select the field within which to search for each term, and combine your search terms using the Boolean operators (and, or, not) that connect each line of search boxes.

The Boolean operators (and, or, not) work as follows:

  • or searching means that at least one or more of the selected terms on each side of the or must be in the record for the record to be retrieved. Using or broadens your search.
  • and searching means that terms on each side of the and must both be in the record for the record to be retrieved. Using and narrows your search.
  • not searching means that the selected term after the not must not be in the record; if the term is in the record, the record will not be retrieved.

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Other Rules for Searching

The table below shows other rules operative during searching:

What you type For example Tells ATLA to
a single word poverty find records containing poverty.
a phrase synoptic gospels find records containing first synoptic and then gospels with no other words between them.
* gospel* find records containing the words: gospel or gospels.
( ) theology and (poor or poverty) find records containing either theology and poor or theology and poverty with any number of words between them.
w and a number (1-25) catholic w3 teaching find records containing first catholic and then teaching with no more than three other words between them.

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Examples:

Single term search:

If you wanted to do a general keyword search on the term catechism you would proceed as follows:

  1. Type catechism in the first search box
  2. Leave the dropdown option as Select a Field (optional).
  3. Click on the Search button.

keyword search

Combined term search:

If you wanted to find works by author Bernard McGinn on the topic of women and mysticism, you would proceed as follows:

  1. Type in McGinn in the first search box and select AU Author from the dropdown list.
  2. Use the Boolean operator and to combine with the second search term.
  3. Type in women in the second search box and select SU Subjects from the dropdown list.
  4. Use the Boolean operator and to combine with the third search term.
  5. Type in mysticism in the third search box and select SU Subjects from the dropdown list.
  6. Click on the Search button.

combined term search

If you wanted to find works on either church music or hymns, you would proceed as follows:

  1. Type in church music in the first search box and select SU Subjects from the dropdown list.
  2. Use the Boolean operator or to combine with the second search term.
  3. Type in hymns in the second search box and select SU Subjects from the dropdown list.
  4. Click on the Search button.

church music or hymns

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Refining Your Search

Directly underneath the search boxes are options to further refine your search.

Boolean/Phrase — Find all my search terms — Find any of my search terms

  • Boolean/Phrase
    The Search mode by default is set to Boolean/Phrase searching. This means that if you put more than one term in a search box, it will treat it as a phrase.

    phrase search

  • Find all my search terms
    If you want the database to search for all the terms in a search box regardless of their order, change the Search mode to Find all my search terms.

    all my search terms

A Boolean/Phrase search is generally more limited than a Find all my search terms search. For example, in this case (above) a search on the phrase "christian science" brings back only 229 results.

number of results for a phrase search

In contrast, a search on the same terms set to Find all my search terms searches for all records that contain both the term "christian" and the term "science", and brings back almost 8000 results.

number of results for an all terms search

  • Find any of my search terms
    The third option, Find any of my search terms will retrieve records that have any of the terms in the search box, even if the record does not have all the terms.

    any search terms

    This is the broadest kind of search and will generally bring back the greatest number of results. In this particular case, a search on the terms "christian" and "science" set to Find any of my search terms brings back over 200,000 results.

    results for Find any of my search terms

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Also search within the full text of the articles

Select this option to search for your keywords within the full text of articles (when they are available), as well as within the abstract and citation information. This option works only with Select a Field (optional) selected.

For example, a search on the phrase "stem cells" will bring up 164 results if this box is left unchecked.

results without searching full text

However, the same search with the Also search within the full text of the articles box checked brings up 710 results.

include searching full text

results with searching full text

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Full Text

Checking the Full Text box under Limit your results will only bring back records for which the full text is available through this database.

only search full text

However, since Yale subscribes to many other databases that may provide the article in full text, it is recommended that you do not check this box. When you get a result for which full text is not available through the ATLA Religion Database you can see if it is available by using the Yale Links button.

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Scholarly (Peer Reviewed Journals

The Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals box allows you to only search for journals for which articles are accepted and reviewed by other scholars in the field.

only peer-reviewed journals

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Publication Type

The Publication Type scroll list allows you to specify the type of publication you want to search for:

  • Select Article if you only want to search for journal articles.
  • Select Book if you only want to search for monographic works (books).
  • Select Essay for essays or chapters within multi-authored books.
  • Select Multimedia for non-print media.
  • Select Review for book reviews.

publication typesmore publication types

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Abstract Available

By checking the Abstract Available box, you will limit your results to only records which include an abstract (brief summary) of the item.

abstract

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Year Published From

You can limit your search to specific years of publication by filling in the Year Published from boxes.

years

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Journal Title

The Journal Title box allows you to search within a specific journal only.

limit to a specific journal

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Language

The Language scroll list allows you to search for an item in a specific language.

languages

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Search Results

Once you've performed a search, your results will show up in a list underneath the search boxes.

Results List

Each item in the list includes brief information about the work, including the title, the author(s), type of publication, and other publication information.

If the item is a journal article or an essay within a book, the journal or book within which the work appears will be indicated as Source, and the issue (if it is a journal article) and page numbers will also be provided.

If the item is a book, publication information for the book will be provided.

results list

The database will also suggest ways to refine your search by source type or by subject. Clicking on one of the source types to the left of your results list will bring up items from your original search that correspond to that particular source type (i.e., journal articles, books, essays, reviews).

Similarly, subject headings will also be suggested. Clicking on one of the recommended subject headings will bring up items from your original search that have the particular subject heading you selected in the subjects field.

narrow results by

Citation

For more detailed information about an item in the results list, click on the underlined blue title to get to the full citation.

The full citation record for the item will appear. Some records may include an abstract (brief summary) describing the work. Everything in the record that is blue and underlined is a clickable link. Clicking on the blue underlined subject links or the blue underlined author links will execute a new search on those terms in that particular field.

full record

Links to Full Text

Some items in your result list may also include either or both a PDF link or an HTML link. Either of these will take you to the article in full text:

PDF Full TextHTML Full Text

The PDF link will present the full text of the item as a page image (.pdf). It is recommended that you right click and select Open Link in New Window or Open Link in New Tab (on a PC) or hold down the Shift key when selecting the link (on a Mac); otherwise, the full text of the article will open but you have to use your browser's Back button to return to the database.

PDF image

The HTML link will present the full text of the item as HTML (plain text). This will not be a page image of how the article appears in the journal, but it may be easier to print than a page image.

HTML image

If the record in the database does not provide you with a direct link to full-text, you may still be able to obtain the article in full-text through another database. To find out if full-text is available through another database, click on the Yalelinks button.

Yale Links from record

A window will pop up and will indicate any other databases that have the article in full-text. Click on the GO button to access the database.

Yale Links to other databases

When Full Text Is Not Available

If the article you want is not available in full-text through any of the library's databases, you will have to see if it is available in print. Search the ORBIS catalog for the journal title (NOT the article title) by using Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title as the search type.

Journal search

Please note that the ATLA/ATLAS Religion Database also indexes essays in multi-authored works and book reviews, as well as journal articles. You want to make sure to use the Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title search type only for journal articles.

Journal articles are indicated in the ATLA/ATLAS Religion Database by Publication Type: Article, while essays in books are indicated by Publication Type: Essay and book reviews are indicated by Publication Type: Review. The title of the journal is indicated by Source: as is the title of the book within which an essay is located.

Examples of articles, essays, books and review

Your search in ORBIS should let you know whether or not the journal is at available at one of the Yale libraries. If it is, be sure to note which library holds the journal, and whether or not it has the specific issue in which the article you want is located. Note the location and call number for the journal, go to that library, and retrieve the issue from the shelf.

Finally, if the journal is not available at any of the Yale libraries, you may be able to obtain the article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

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Indexes

Using the Indexes is a very helpful way to select the correct terms for your search, especially when you are searching on a topic or an author. The database allows you to browse through the indexes for nearly all the fields. The link to Indexes is on the green bar at the top of the page.

Indexes Link

Once you click on this link, you will be taken to the Indexes page where you need to select the appropriate index to browse from the Browse an Index dropdown.

Browse Indexes

Once you are taken to the appropriate index, type in what you think is the appropriate search term in the Browse for box and click on the Browse button. You will be taken to a page with an alphabetical list beginning with your browse term (or the term closest to it, if your term does not match the terms in the particular index). Select the check box next to all terms that correspond to your search. You can move throughout the index by using the Previous / Next links located near the top of each page.

Selecting terms from an index

Once you have selected all your desired index terms, click the Add button. This will place your selected terms in the Find box, separated by or (meaning that if any of the selected terms are in a record, it will be retrieved, but not all the terms have to be in the record). Click Search to execute your search.

Searching terms from an index

The indexes that you are most likely to use are Subjects All for subjects, Author for Author searches, and Name as Subject for when you want to search on a person as a subject, not as an author.

Also note that for some author names there may be varying spellings (for example, the author J�rgen Moltmann's name appears in the index as "Moltman, Jurgen", "Moltmann, J." and "Moltmann, Jurgen"); likewise, there may be more than one subject term related to your topic. Make sure you select all the possible spellings or terms for your search.

There is also a Scripture Reference index, which is helpful for locating works covering specific passages of scripture. You can select this index from the Browse an Index dropdown, or you can get to it directly by clicking on the Scriptures button on the green bar at the top of the page. For more detailed information on how to use the Scripture Reference index, go to Finding Articles on Passages of Scripture.

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Search History

The database automatically saves all the searches you perform.

To access previously executed searches, click on the Search History/Alerts tab. It is part of a group of tabs that appear below the search boxes.

Search History / Alerts

The Search History/Alerts page provides you with a number of options:

  1. You can rerun any previously run search by selecting the View Results link in the Actions column.
  2. Rerun a search

  3. You can revise a previously run search by clicking on the blue Revise Search link (also under the Actions column).
    Revise Search
  4. You can delete any searches you don't want to save by clicking on the button in the Delete column corresponding with the appropriate search.
    Revise Search
  5. You can delete all your search history by clicking on the Clear Search History link at the top of the list of searches.
    Delete search history

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Combining Searches

Probably the most important feature of Search History/Alerts is the ability to combine the results of previously performed searches together. To combine searches, proceed as follows:

  1. The words from the last search that you've done are retained in the search fields. Unless you want to use those words in the combined search, you must first select the Clear button next to the search boxes. If you want your last search to be part of the combination of searches, do NOT select the Clear button.
    Clear last search
  2. Next, select the searches you want to combine by clicking the checkboxes under the Add to Search column.Select searches to combine
  3. You can use the dropdown box next to Combine searches with: to decide how you want each search to be combined with the other searches. The dropdown box gives you a choice of the Boolean operators and, or, and not. You can check off all the terms at once and combine them using a single Boolean operator or you can add the searches individually and construct complex searches using different Boolean operators. Click on the Add button to add each search to the search fields at the top of the page.
    Combine searches with boolean operator and add
  4. Your selected searches will be indicated in the search box by their number (i.e., S1, S2, S3, etc.) Once you are ready to execute your search, click on the Search button next to the search boxes at the top.
    Search on combined searches

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Examples:

Example 1

In your search history, you have already performed one search on the subject contemplation and another on the subject of prayer. You would now like to combine these searches so that you retrieve everything that has either contemplation or prayer as a subject. You would proceed as follows:

  1. First, click on the Clear button to clear the search boxes of any current search words.Clear previous search
  2. Next, click on the check box next to both the prayer search and the contemplation search.
    Select searches to combine
  3. From the Add using: dropdown list, select or.
    Combine using or
  4. Click Add.
    Add
  5. Click Search.
    Search

Example 2

In your search history, in addition to the searches on prayer and contemplation you've also done a search on the term mysticism. Now you want to combine the searches so that the database retrieves everything that has the term prayer and either the term contemplation or the term mysticism.

  1. First, click on the Clear button to clear the search boxes of any current search words.
    Clear previous search
  2. Click on the checkbox next to the search for contemplation and select or from the dropdown box, then click Add.
    Add contemplation
  3. Click on the checkbox next to the search for mysticism and select or from the dropdown, and then click Add.
    Add mysticism
  4. Click on the checkbox next to the search for prayer but this time select and from the dropdown and click Add.
    Add prayer
  5. Your selected searches (by number) combined with boolean operators or (for search terms contemplation and mysticism) and boolean operator and (for prayer) will now be in the search box. Click Search to launch your search.
    Search

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Printing, Emailing, Saving and Exporting

To print, email, save, or export a single record from your result list, go to the full record by clicking on the blue underlined title. Options to print, email, save or export the record will be located at the bottom of the page.

Printing, Emailing, etc.

To print, email, save or export more than one record from your result list, you first have to add the items to your Folder. To add items to a folder, select the Add button next to each item's entry. If you are viewing the full record for the item, there is an Add to Folder link at the top of the page.

Add to folder for printing

Once you are ready to print, email, save, or export the records you have selected, click on either the link at the top of the page labeled Folder or on the link that says Folder has items (above your list of results, on the right side of the page).

Folder

You will then be taken to a page where the list of the items you have selected will appear. Click the checkboxes next to each item that you want to print, email, export, or save.

Folder contents

Printing: To print your selected items, click the Print button. On the resulting Print Manager page, select your options from the dialog box. Remember to unclick the checked box saying Remove these items from folder after printing if you want to keep these records in your folder; otherwise, they will be removed. Click on the Print button. Your browser's dialog box should then open; select whatever options you want from this dialog box and select the Print button.

Emailing: To email items from the Folder, again check off the items you want to email and then select the email button to the right of the Print button. On the resulting Email Manager page, fill in the appropriate information (again, deselect the checkbox next to Remove these items from folder after printing if you want to keep these records in your folder). Click the Send button when you are ready to send your email.

Saving: You can save your list from the Folder to a floppy disk, USB drive, or some other storage medium by clicking on the Save link. On the resulting Save Manager page, check off the appropriate information and click the Save button. A new page will open with instructions on how to complete saving the file.

Exporting: You can directly export your citations to RefWorks, EndNote, ProCite, or Reference Manager, or you can simply export them as specific file formats. Select the Export link. On the resulting Export Manager page, check off the appropriate information and select the Save button to complete the Export process.

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Saving Your Work for Use in Future Sessions

The database allows you to create an account where you can store work done during an earlier session and retrieve it at a later time. To create an account for stored work, proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the Sign In link at the top right side of the page.
    Sign in
  2. Click on the I'm a new user link.
    New User
  3. Decide on a user name and password, fill in the form, and hit Submit.
    New User Form

Once you've created an account, there are two basic methods to saving your work. First, to save all the searches that you've done during that session, proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the link to Search History / Alerts.
  2. Click Save Searches / Alerts.
    Save Searches / Alerts
    (Note, if you are not already logged in you will first be taken to the login page before the next step.)
  3. Next, you will be taken to a page where you will need to provide a name for your set of searches and an optional description. You will also be queried as to whether you want to save the set of searches permanently or for 24 hours. Once you've filled out this page, select the Save button.
    Save Searches / Alerts form

The second method allows you to save only a single search. In this method, you will save the search as a Persistent Link. To save a single search by this method, proceed as follows:

  1. First, make sure you are logged in to your account.
  2. Once you've logged in, click on the link to Search History / Alerts. Bring up the individual search you want to save by click on the View Results link for the search.
    Saving an Individual Search
  3. Next, to save this search as a Persistent Link, click the Add search to folder link near the top of the page. Note: this link will appear whether or not you've logged in. If you click on it when you are not logged in, the database will add the search to your folder as a Persistent Link, but it will disappear once you leave the database.
    Save Individual Search

In both methods, you can retrieve either your set of saved searches or your single saved search (as a Persistent Link) the next time you go into the database. Simply log in to your account (again, by clicking on the Sign In link.) The link Folder has items should appear on the right. Click on this link.
Folder has Items

Folder Options

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Creating Search Alerts

A search alert is a saved search that is automatically rerun periodically, with results available to you in an email message or in an RSS feed. Search alerts are helpful if you want to be alerted anytime new articles appear on a particular topic.

There are two methods for creating a search alert. The first method is to create a search alert which will send you emails when new articles that correspond to your search query are added to the database. The second method is to create a search alert as an RSS feed.

Email Search Alert

  1. Run the search that you would like to use as the basis of your alert.
  2. Click on the tab labeled Search History / Alerts.
  3. Click on the Save Searches / Alerts link.
    Save Searches / Alerts
    Note, if you are not already logged in, you will first be taken to the login page.
  4. Fill in the form with a name and description (optional) for your alert. In the section Save Search As select Alert. Then click Save.
    Save as Alert
  5. You will now be taken to another form. Fill in the required information, including how long you want the search to run and how often you want it to run. You will also be given three choices for how you want the search to be presented to you:

    • Email all alerts and notices
    • Email only creation notice
    • No email (RSS only)
    To create an alert that you will receive via email, click the first option. Finally, make sure to put in the email address you want the search alert to go to.
    Alert Options
  6. Note that if you have more than one search in your history, all the searches will be included in your alert. Therefore, if you want to save only one of your searches as an alert, first save the other searches you want to save individually as persistent links (see Saving Your Work for Use in Future Sessions", above) and then delete them from your search history before creating your alert.

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RSS Search Alert

There are two methods for creating an RSS Search Alert. The first is to follow the procedure described above, but in step 6, select No email (RSS only).

The second method is much easier:

  1. Run your search.
  2. Click on the link at the top, Create Alert for this Search.
    Create Alert link
  3. You will be taken to a page indicating that your alert has been created. Follow the instructions for creating the RSS feed and click OK.
    Instructions for creating RSS feed

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Finding Book Reviews

Searching by Title of the Book

  1. In Advanced Search, type in the title of the book and select BT Book Title from the dropdown list.
    book reviews by title
  2. Under the Refine Search options, go to the Publication Type scroll list and select Review.
    select publication type review
  3. Click the Search button.

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Searching by Author of the Book

  1. In Advanced Search, type in the author's last name and then first name and select AU Author from the dropdown list.
    by author of book
  2. Under the Refine Search options, go to the Publication Type scroll list and select Review.
    select publication type review
    Please note that this method will also retrieve book reviews written by your selected author of other author's works.

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Quick Answers: How do I...?

Find an article when I know its title?

  1. In the first search box, type in the title, omitting all punctuation.
  2. Select TI Title from the dropdown list.
  3. Click the Search button.
    search by title of article

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Search for works by a specific author?

  • Method 1 - Browse Indexes

    1. Click on the Indexes tab on the green bar near the top of the page.
      Indexes Link
    2. In the Browse an Index dropdown list, select Author.
      Browse Author
    3. Type in the last name of the author in the Browse for box and click Browse
      Browse Author
    4. Browse the list to find the author's name, and check the appropriate boxes. Note: there may be multiple variations on an author's name (i.e., last name, first name; last name, first initial, etc.)
      Browse Author
    5. Once you have made your selections, click on the Add button to put the selections into the search box.
    6. Click the Search button to launch your search.
      Browse Author
  • Method 2 - Advanced Search

    1. From the Advanced Search page, type in the author's first and last names and select AU Author from the dropdown list.
      Search Author
    2. From the Refine Searchoptions, check off the Automatically "and" search terms box at the bottom of the page.
      Automatically And search terms
    3. Click on the Search button.

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Find an article about someone?

  • Method 1 - Browse Indexes

    1. Click on the Indexes tab on the green bar near the top of the page.
      Indexes Link
    2. In the Browse an Index dropdown list, select Name as Subject.
      Browse name as subject
    3. Type in the last name of the person in the Browse for box and click the Browse button.
      Browse name as subject
    4. Browse the list to find the person's name, and check the appropriate boxes. Note: there may be multiple variations on an author's name (i.e., last name, first name; last name, first initial, etc.)
      Browse name as subject
    5. Once you've made your selections, click on the Add button to put the selections into the search box.
    6. Click on the Search button.
      Browse name as subject
  • Method 2 - Advanced Search

    1. From the Advanced Search page, type in the person's first and last names and select NA Subject Name Personal from the dropdown list.
      Search name as subject
    2. From the Refine Searchoptions, check off the Automatically "And" search terms box at the bottom of the page.
      Automatically And search terms
    3. Click on the Search button.

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Find an article on a single topic?

  • Method 1 - Browse Indexes

    1. Click on the Indexes tab on the green bar near the top of the page.
      Indexes Link
    2. In the Browse an Index dropdown list, select Subjects All.
      Browse Subjects
    3. Type in your subject term in the Browse for box and click on the Browse button.
      Browse Subjects
    4. Browse the list to find the appropriate subject terms. You may need to check off more than one box. If you don't see your subject term, try a synonym for your subject. For example, you won't find the term "eucharist" in the list of subjects, but you will find instead the term "Lord's supper".
      Browse Subjects
    5. Once you've made your selections, click on the Add button to put the selections into the search box.
    6. Click the Search button.
  • Method 2 - Advanced Search

    1. From the Advanced Search page, type in your subject term and choose SU Subjects from the dropdown list.
      Search Subjects
    2. From the Refine Search options, check off the box next to Apply additional terms to query near the bottom of the page.
      Apply additional terms
    3. Click on the Search button.

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Find articles on Scripture?

  1. At the top of the page, click on the Scriptures button on the green bar.
    Scriptures Index
  2. In the Browse for box, type in the start of your scripture citation, starting with the name of the book and the chapter. Note that for Biblical books in two parts (i.e., 1st Kings, 2nd Kings, 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, etc.) indicate the number of the book after the name (for example, to find articles on 2 Kings 10, type in Kings, 2nd 10.) Then hit the Browse button.
    Browse scriptures
  3. A list of scripture citations near to your indicated citation will appear. Browse the list to find citations matching your desired scripture passage. Use the blue previous and next buttons to advance backward and forward to other pages, if necessary. Check off any citation that overlaps or matches your selected citation. For example, for Luke 10:25-37, you would check off the box next to Luke 10: 25-37 but also the check boxes that include or overlap with any portion of these verses, such as Luke 10: 25-28 and Luke 10: 24-42, etc. Also be aware that the order of citations in the index is by digit, not number. For example, Luke 10: 1 is followed by Luke 10: 11 not Luke 10: 2, and Luke 10: 19 will be followed by Luke 10: 2, not by Luke 10: 20.
    Browse scriptures
  4. Once you have made your selections, click on the Search button.

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This file last modified 11/17/08.
Please send comments are questions to
the Divinity Library at Yale University.