Master Reference List of Sources for Christianity

Books in this list are referenced as follows:

  • Bible and Bible Aids
  • by author, denoted with the author’s initials and an integer, such as PF1  for Paula Fredriksen’s first reference, and BE3 for Bart Ehrman’s third reference;
  • by abbreviated title, such as NNT for A New New Testament, and NTG for Quick Study New Testament Guide;
  • by W for Wikipedia reference in our list at the bottom. The Wikipedia references at the end are emphasized as they are easiest for all to access, and contain good explanations.

  • Notes.
    OT and NT are abbreviations for the Old Testament and New Testament respectively.
    [NNT, 170] refers to page 170 of the book A New New Testament, and
    [Bdict, disciple, 198] refers to the discussion of the topic disciple on page 198 of the Bible Dictionary.

(1)       Bible and Bible Aids  (12 titles)

  • Bible   Harper Collins Study Bible.  NY, NY: HarperOne an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006.  Based on the New Revised Standard Version Bible, © 1989 .  2204 pages. This Bible has 66 (lxvi) introductory pages; a two-page introduction to each book; 18 colour maps;  many black and white maps; and many footnotes on each page, giving explanations and cross references.  All my Bible quotations are from this version.  This bible was sponsored by  the Society of Biblical Literature.  Most of the contributors seem to be Protestants, and the order of the books in this edition is that of the Protestant bibles, which differs from the order in the Catholic and Orthodox bibles.

  • Bdict   Powell, Mark Allen, general editor.  HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed., New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.  Text references are to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.  Illustrations are grayscale.  Point of view is more liberal and scholarly.

  • Bconc  Kohlenberger, John R., III. The NRSV Concordance Unabbridged.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991.  Includes the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books in the 1483-page primary index.  Additional pages contain indexes of footnotes and topics.

  • Bency  Cornfeld, Gaalyhu, editor, with Bible scholars, historians and archaeologists. Pictorial Biblical Encyclopedia: a visual guide to the old and new testament.  NY: The Macmillan  Company, 1964.  713 pp. with index.  Pictures and drawings are black and white.  Their dates are BCE and CE and the emphasis is historical.

  • Blists   Willmington, H.L., Wilmington’s Book of Bible Lists, Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publ., 1987.  Reprinted for Billy Graham, and therefore very literalistic and fundamentalist.

  • ISBE   Orr, James, John L. Nuelsen, Edgar Y. Mullins, Morris O. Evans, eds, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.  The Howard-Severance Co., five volumes published over 1915 – 1939. .  This encyclopedia takes the conservative approach to Christian thinking and is critical of the liberal approach.  This work is in the public domain in the United States,no longer covered by copyright.  Thus, it has been reproduced as a five volume printed set by the University of Chicago Press.  In 2021 it became available at the free online site listed above. The online version does not have page numbers, so references are given down to the section and subsection level.  E.g. [ISBE, Jesus, IV, 5].  The online version does not include the front materials (Preface, List of Abbreviations, Pronunciation Keys, etc) nor the back materials (Index of the 200 contributors, six other indexes, maps, cross-references, etc.).   Finally, the date of publication places it before our great increase in knowledge from three twentieth-century milestone sources: the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi library, and Walter Bauer’s breakthrough book, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, (which was only widely available after WWII).

  • RCBible   NRSV, Catholic Edition Bible, Catholic Bible Press, 2008.

  • RDatlas  Reader’s Digest Atlas of the Bible: an illustrated guide to the Holy Land.  Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.  1981.  This tells all the major stories of the OT.

  • RDstory   The Bible Through the Ages. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association. 1996.  Bruce Metzger is the “overall consultant” on the Board of (Academic) Consultants.

  • Story    Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The Story of the Bible. course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, 2006.  Prof. Johnson is at Emory University.  (I only have the pdf of this book).

  • NIB     New Interpreter’s Bible series.  1990s.   NOT REFERENCED.
    (from Wikipedia)  The Interpreter’s Bible series is a Biblical criticism series published by United Methodist Publishing (Abingdon/Cokesbury) beginning in the 1950s. Each volume covers one or more books of the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) or the New Testament.  The volumes contain in-depth introductions and commentaries, complemented by original translations, with full critical notes that include alternate readings and alternative translations. Synopses of informed discussion of the historical origins and the manuscripts’ traditions are also provided.   These volumes are not designed for the casual Bible reader, but for the “educated layman” who is already prepared with a general understanding of and interest in higher criticism, or for members of the clergy who are already familiar with basic Biblical criticism.  The original series utilized the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version. An updated series beginning in the 1990s, the New Interpreter’s Bible series uses the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version.

  • Peshitta   Lamsa, George M.   The Holy Bible: from ancient eastern manuscripts. Translated from the Peshitta, the authorized Bible of the Church of the East.  Nashville, TN: A.J. Holman Co.  Holman Bible Publishers.   1957.  Lamsa’s English translation of the Aramaic (Syriac) version of the Bible. They claim all the gospels were written first in Aramaic for the people, and then translated into Greek. The introduction [page viii] says that the most ancient canon for the Peshitta does not include these five books in the New Testament: 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude and Revelation.

  • ZIBD Douglas, J.D. and M.C.Tenney, editors.  Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  Revised by Moises Silva in 2011.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Academic, 2011 edition.  Text references are to the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.  Colour illustrations.  Point of view is more conservative and evangelical.

(2)      References by Author’s Initials  (27 titles)

  • AF1     Flew, Anthony, with Ray Abraham Varghese.  There is A God: how the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind.   Harper One, 2007.

  • BE1     Ehrman, Bart D.  Misquoting Jesus.   Harper Collins, 2005.

  • BE2     Ehrman, Bart D. The New Testament and Other Early Christian Writings: a reader. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 2004.   This contains the 27 books of the NT plus 26 other writings.  From the preface:  “this volume presents … every surviving document produced by a Christian during the first hundred years of the church, that is, from the time of Jesus’ death (ca 30 CE) through the first third of the second century (ca 130 CE).

  • BE3b  Ehrman, Bart D.  How Jesus Became God: the exaltation of a Jewish preacher from Galilee.  HarperOne, 2014.   3a the Great Courses 2005;  3b this book

  • BE4     Ehrman, Bart D.  Lost Christianities: the battles for scripture and the faiths we never knew.  Oxford University Press, 2003.

  • BE5     Ehrman, Bart D.  Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: the followers of Jesus in history and legend.  Oxford University Press, 2006.

  • BE6     Ehrman, Bart D.  After the NT: the writings of the apostolic fathers. course transcript. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, 2005.

  • BE7     Ehrman, Bart D.  From Jesus to Constantine: a history of early Christianity.  courses guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, 2004.

  • BE8     Ehrman, Bart D.  The History of the Bible: the making of the New Testament Canon. course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,  2005.

  • BW1    Wilson, Barrie.  How Jesus Became Christian.   Random House Canada, 2008.  Dr. Wilson is a professor of humanities and religious studies at York University in Toronto.

  • CE1     Evans, Craig A.  Jesus and his World: the archaeological evidence.  Westminster John Knox Press, 2012.  Prof. Evans is at Acadia Univ, Nova Scotia.

  • CE2     Evans, Craig A.  Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: a guide to the background literature.  Hendrickson Publishers, 2005.  Baker Academic paperback edition, 2011.

  • DA1    Akenson, Donald H.  Surpassing Wonder: the invention of the bible and the talmuds. University of  Chicago Press, 1998.  Professor Akenson is at Queens’ University, Kingson, Ontario.

  • EPS1   Sanders, Ed Parish. Paul: the apostle’s life, letters and thought.  Mineapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015.  Ed Parish Sanders is Professor of Religion Emeritus at Duke University.  He is the author of at least six other books on Judaism and Christianity.  On page 370 of this book he says he is a Christian.

  • FC1    Collins, Francis S. The Language of God: a scientist presents evidence for belief. Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 2006.

  • GV1    Vermes, Geza.  The Religion of Jesus the Jew.  Mineapolis: Fortress Press.  1993.  Dr. Vermes (1924-2013) was Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies in the University of Oxford, and has authored many books.  He was an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  He is Jewish with an expert knowledge of early Christianity.   His first book on Jesus was  Jesus the Jew in 1973.

  • GV2    Vermes, Geza.  Christian Beginnings: from Nazareth to Nicea, AD 30-325.  Penguin Books, 2013.  First published by Allen Lane, 2012.

  • IG1      Gafni, Isaiah M.  Beginnings of Judaism, course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, 2006.  Professor of Jewish History, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

  • JDC1   Crossan, John Dominic.  The Historical Jesus: the life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant.   HarperSanFrancisco, 1991.  Dr. Crossan, born 1934, was a professor of Biblical Studies at DePaul University, Chicago, and a member of the controversial Westar Institute’s Jesus Seminar of the 1980s and 1990s.

  • JDC2   Crossan, John Dominic.  Jesus: a revolutionary biography.  NY: HarperCollins, 1994.

  • JL1      Lennox, John C.  God’s Undertaker: has science buried God?  Oxford, England: Lion Hudson plc, 2007.

  • JP1      Polkinghorne, John.  Exploring Reality:the intertwining of science and religion.  Yale Univ. Press, 2005.

  • JPM1   Meier, John P.  A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the historical JesusVol. 5. Probing the Authenticity of the Parables.  Anchor Bible Reference Library Series. New York: Yale University Press. 2016.

  • JS1      Spong, John Shelby.  Liberating the Gospels: reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes.  HarperSanFrancisco, 1996.   John Spong is an Anglican Bishop.

  • JS2      Spong, John Shelby.  Why Christianity Must Change or Die.  HarperCollins, 1998. John Spong is an Anglican Bishop.

  • LTJ1    Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The Story of the Bible.  course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,  2006.

  • LTJ2    Johnson, Luke Timothy.  Early Christianity: the experience of the Divine. Course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,  2002.

  • LTJ3     Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The History of Christianity: from the Disciples to the Dawn of the Reformation. Course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,  2012.

  • MB1    Baigent, Michael.  The Jesus Papers: exposing the greatest coverup in history.  HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.

  • PF1      Fredriksen, Paula.  Paul: the pagans’ apostle. Yale University Press, 2017.

  • PF2      Fredriksen, Paula.  Jesus of Nazareth: King of the Jews. NY: Vintage Books edition, 2000., 1999.

  • PF3      Fredriksen, Paula.  When Christians were Jews: the first generation.  Yale Un. Press, 2018.  She is an historian of ancient Christianity and Judaism.

  • PF4      Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ. 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. A comparison of  the earliest Christian views of Jesus and the latter views, as Christianity diverged from being a branch of Judaism.  2018.

  • SC1     Cherry, Shai.  Introduction to Judaism. course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses:,   2004.

  • SH1     Harris, SamLetter to a Christian Nation.  Knopf, 2006.

  • TH1     Harper, Tom.  Born Again: my journey from fundamentalism to freedom. Thomas Allen,  2013.

  • TH2     Harper, Tom.  The Pagan Christ. Thomas Allen, 2004.

  • UG1    Goodenough, Ursula, The Sacred Depths of Nature.  Oxford University Press, 1998.  Dr. Goodenough is Professor of Biology at Washington University.  She has been President of the Religious Naturalist Association.

(3)   References by Abbreviated Title  (16 titles)

  • AJ        Brakke, David.  The Apocryphal Jesus. course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,,  2017.  The author is a Chair in the History of Christianity  at Ohio State University.  He has an M.Div from Harvard Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University.

  • CApol    Campbell-Jack, Campbell & Gavin J. McGrath, eds., New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics    Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006.  Scripture quotations usually from NIV. Occasional quotations from KJV, ESV, NRSV or RSV.  Part One has six articles (50 pp.) on Christian Apologetics; Part Two contains all the entries and indexes.  The publisher is closely linked with the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship.

  • CC       Valliant, James S. and Warren Fahy.  Creating Christ: how Roman Emperors invented Christianity.   Hertford, NC: Crossroad Press. 2018

  • Chr      MacCulloch, Diarmaid.  Christianity: the first three thousand years.  Viking, 2009. The Wikipedia article on Diarmaid MacCulloch (Oxford Professor of Church history) says he was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England, but was never ordained because of his homosexuality.  He says “I would now describe myself as a candid friend of Christianity” [Chr, 11].

  • EH       Eusebius.  Ecclesiastical History or The Church History.  A New Translation with Commentary by Paul L. Maier.   Kregel Publications, 1999.  The original, published in the 300s CE as ten short books.

  • EVG    Wright, Robert.  The Evolution of God. Little Brown and Company, 2009.

  • HGBJ    Bird, Michael F, Craig A. Evans, Simon J. Gathercole, Charles E. Hill, and Chris Tilling.  How God Became Jesus: the real origins of belief in Jesus’ divine nature – a response to Bart Ehrman. [BE3, above].  Zondervan, 2014.  Most Bible quotations are from the NIV, but there are some from the RSV and NRSV.

  • JJI       Magness, Jodi.  Jesus and his Jewish Influences.  course guidebook. Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,,  2015.  Covers Judaism during the “late second temple period”, from 100 BC to 200AD, describing the Jewish world that Jesus lived in, and how it affected his teachings and views.

  • LJL      Diamant, Anita,and Howard Cooper.  Living a Jewish Life. Updated and revised edition. HarperCollins, 2007.

  • Luth     Carey, Phillip.  Luther: Gospel, Law and Reformation.  course guidebook.  Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses,,  2004.

  • NGS50   Isabouts, Jean-Pierre, 50 Most Influential Figures of the Bible.  National Geographic Partners LLC, 2017. Excerpts from the National Geographic Society book, Who’s Who in the Bible, 2013, by Jean-Pierre Isabouts.

  • NNT    Taussig, Hal, editor.  A New New Testament.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
    Contains the 27 books of the NT with ten apocryphal additions, selected by an expert panel.  The choices emphasize texts that would be read in church, as well as new theology.  Most are from the Nag Hammadi texts, so some are gnostic.  Dr. Taussig is both a Professor of NT at Union Theological Seminary in NY City, and a pastor to an active congregation.  All the new books were written before 175 CE.  Almost all the mss were copies of copies of copies of books written in the first two hundred years. p.484.  Page xxvii says that “Dr. Taussig [found]  the book of 1 Timothy tyrannical in its thoroughgoing attacks on women.”p. 487 is a list of the Nag Hammadi Texts (all written in Coptic).  The experts created a list of 43 possibilities, narrowed it down to 19, and finally to the ten in the NNT.  This is where the numbers 43 and 19 in one of my tables came from.

  • NTG    Smith, Thomas.  Quick Study New Testament Guide.   BarCharts, Inc., 2007.  A six page plasticised summary of the books of the New Testament.

  • QHJ     Schweitzer, Albert.  The Quest of the Historical Jesus.  Published in German in 1906, as Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung,  and in English translation, London, 1910.  The second German edition of 1913 added two new chapters to counter some of his critics.

  • RCD    Trigilio, John, Jr. and Kenneth Brighenti.  Catholicism for Dummies. Wiley, 2003.

  • Sage    Flusser, David with R. Steven Notley.  The Sage from Galilee: rediscovering Jesus’ Genius. Fourth expanded English edition.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2007.     First published in German as Jesus in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten, by Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag, 1968.  David Flusser (1917-2000) was professor of early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  He is an observant Jew who identifies with the moral and political worldview of Jesus.  Dr. R. Steven Notley is his student and colleague.

  • SPQR  Beard, Mary. SPQR a history of ancient Rome. London: Norton & Company. 2015. Liveright Publishing paperback, 2016.  Mary Beard is a Professor of Classics at Cambridge University.  SPQR is from the latin phrase, Senatus PopulusQue Romanus, “The Senate and People of Rome.”

  • STG     Grudem, Wayne, and Erik Thoennes.  Systematic Theology a Zondervan Study Guide,   A six page plasticised summary of fundamentalist theology.   2008.

  • TJC     MacArdle, Meredith.  The Timechart of Jewish Civilization. Worth Press Ltd., 2004.

  • WWR  Hinnells, John.  Who’s Who of Religions.  Penguin Books, 1991.

(4)      References from Wikipedia

  • W/ApoT          Wikipedia’s ‘Apollonius of Tyana.’

  • W/QHJ            Wikipedia’s ‘Quest for the Historical Jesus.’

  • W/Mbirth        Wikipedia’s  ‘Miraculous Births.’

  • W/TacCh    Wikipedia references, by the title initials of the Wikipedia entry

  • W2               New Testament Apocrypha.  Gives the most complete list of all the early noncanonical writings.  It discusses which books were close candidates for NT Inclusion, but were not ultimately included.

  • W3               Jesus Seminar.  These were 150 critical scholars and laymen, working in the 1990s.  In Macrh 2006 they began work on a new description of the emergence of the Jesus traditions through the first two centuries  CE.

  • W4.              List of People Claimed to be Jesus.

  • W5.              Tom Harpur

  • W6.              Charles Templeton

  • W7.              Bart D. Ehrman

  • W8.              Lists of Atheists

  • W9.              Richard Swinburne

  • W10.            Virgin Birth of Jesus

  • W11.             Alvin Plantinga

  • W12.             Gretta Vosper

  • W13.              Athanasian Creed

  • W14.              Apostle (Christian)

  • W15.              Paul the Apostle

  • W16.              Resurrection

  • W/Jos           Wikipedia/Josephus on Jesus

  • W/MbS         Wikipedia/Mara bar Serapion on Jesus.

  • W/PYC          Wikipedia/Pliny the Younger on Christians

  • W/TacCh      Wikipedia/Tacitus on Christ

  • W/EofT          Wickipedia/Edict of Thessalonica


  • W/TC              Timeline of Christianity.
  • W/TCM          Timeline of Christian missions
  • W/TEO           Timeline of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Greece (33 – 717)
  • W/TJ               Timeline of Jerusalem
  • W/TOR           Timeline of Church History …(the Orthodox church.)
  • W/TRC           Timeline of the Catholic Church.
  • W/StCh          State Church of the Roman Empire