An Introduction to Theological Research

By Cyril J. Barber and Robert M. Krauss, Jr.
New York : University Press of America (2000). 172 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. James Rosscup
12.1 (Spring 2001) : 97-98

This updates a Moody Press work of 1982. Barber was head librarian of the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and bibliographer and dean of the Learning Resources Center, Simon Greenleaf School of Law in Anaheim, California. He has authored more than thirty books, among which are A Minister’s Library with various updates and expositions of Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and Nehemiah. He is now on the pastoral staff of Plymouth Church, Whittier, California, and lives in Hacienda Heights, California, where he continues a writing and speaking ministry. Krauss is the Serials and Public Services Librarian at Biola University in La Mirada, California. Among areas of his expertise are bibliographic instruction in electronic databases and Internet research resources.

This work helps in locating and using theological materials effectively via Internet. It describes each research tool, its strength and weaknesses, and how to find resources worldwide, published or unpublished. It starts with general tools (encyclopedias, dictionaries, lexicons, concordances, etc.) and moves to specialized helps (books, monographs, periodical databases, electronic resources, bibliographies, and unpublished works).

Chapters also deal with the use of atlases and commentaries, the importance of lexicons, online searching, using Bible software, CD-ROMs, and different aspects of biblical research. Chapter 11 takes up various indexes such as abstracts on sources in theology, OT, and NT. Finding unpublished materials is the concern of Chapter 15. The authors discuss how to consult the outstanding Dissertation Abstracts International (1861 to the present), Internet databases for probing this work, how to use the Comprehensive Dissertation Index (works from 1861 forward), and sources for works in Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, etc. They include American Doctoral Dissertations (1957 to now), as well as a discussion on how to find dissertations now in progress via the journal Religious Studies Review.

Page 7 lists further sources on expertise in finding sources such as Gorman and Gorman’s Theological and Religious Reference Materials, Johnston’s Recent Reference Books in Religion, Kepple and Muether’s Reference Works for Theological Research, and Thomas Mann’s The Oxford Guide to Library Research.

An index at the end helps locate specific discussions in the Barber-Krauss introduction. The work will provide a valuable assist for researchers in both colleges and graduate schools.