Religious Studies: Hinduism

Reference Materials
Audiovisual Materials


This Web guide is intended to introduce information resources pertaining to Hinduism. It is a guide to get you started; there are many more resources available, so this is just a jumping-off point for your research.

Ask Us for help if you need more assistance in finding information about Hinduism or other Indian religions.

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Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference materials can be used to identify important concepts, find definitions, and gather background information on a topic. The University of Lethbridge Library has a large collection of reference materials related to religious studies. Following are a few of the key reference resources related to Hinduism:

The Hindu World (BL 1202 H46 2004, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A comprehensive introduction to the multiple aspects of Hinduism.

Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism(BL 1105 W34 1983, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This general encyclopedia of Hinduism coves every major aspect of Hindu life and thought from the perspective of recent scholarship, yet not ignoring the traditional point of view.

Encyclopedia of Hinduism (BL 1105 E523 2008, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Includes nearly 900 alphabetically arranged entries written by a team of international scholars. Includes references and supplemental bibliographies. Provides a good historical introduction. Covers important concepts, deities, and sacred texts as well as devotional, ritual, and nontextual aspects of religious practice. (e.g., Popular and vernacular traditions and Image worship).

An Encyclopaedia of Hindu Deities, Demi-gods, Godlings, Demons, and Heroes: With Special Focus on Iconographic Attributes (BL 1216 B86 2000, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This Encyclopaedia tries to unveil the mythological characters and incidents within the Hindu literature and tradition.

A Dictionary of Hinduism: Its Mythology, Folklore, and Development 1500 B.C.-A.D. 1500 (BL 1105 S78 2003, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This dictionary indexes and describes the mythology, folklore, religion, philosophy, literature and history of Hinduism over a period of more than two and a half millennia.

Historical Dictionary of Hinduism
(BL 1105 S85 1997, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Presents the Hindu religious tradition's major events, individuals, texts, sects, and concepts in the context of its historical development through various periods. In addition, sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, the rituals performed as religious practices, the manifestations of Hindu religious sensibilities in biography, art, the caste system of social organization, mythology, and the theories of salvation developed through the history of Hinduism are also presented. Also includes a pronunciation guide to Sanskrit and Tamil, and a chronology of the history of Hinduism.

The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Zen (BL 1005 L4813 1989, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A survey of the teachers, traditions, and literature of Asian wisdom. Intended to give the nonscholar a readable guide to these complicated belief systems.

A Dictionary of Buddhist and Hindu Iconography, illustrated: Objects, Devices, Concepts, Rites, and Related Terms (N 8193 A4 B86 1997, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This Dictionary attempts to reveal the `divine paradoxes` of Buddhist-Hindu iconography. It explains thousands of iconic representations (visual, conceptual symbols, images, objects, concepts, rites).

Dictionary of Indian Religions (BL 2001.2 R46 2003, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Coverage of all Indian religions, art, literature, mythology, philosophy and their religious writers. 

Dictionary of Indian Religions, Saints, Gods, Goddesses, Rituals, Festivals and Yoga Systems (BL 2001.2 G86 2000, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This dictionary is intended to explain the basic terms used in the study of Indian religions.


Following is a list of general religious studies resources which you may also find useful is beginning your research:

Encyclopedia of Religion (BL 31 E46 2005, and online)
A core reference text which takes a cross-cultural approach that emphasizes religion's role within everyday life and as a unique experience from culture to culture.

The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (BL 31 O84 1997, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Provides a general overview of a broad range of religious studies concepts.

Religion: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia (BL 80.2 L463 1996, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Another resource providing a general overview with a focus on the historical origins of religions.

New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (BR 95 N48 1991, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A resource comprised of hundreds of articles on the most influential people in culture and Christendom. Each entry gives a short description a person's historical significance or main theological beliefs.

Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion (BL 65 P7 E53 2007, Reference Collection, Level 10)
This work traces the historical roots of the relations between politics and religion in the modern world, especially over the past two centuries.

Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America (BL 458 E52 2006, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A comprehensive and current description and analysis of women and religion in North America. The encyclopedia is interreligious, interracial, and multicultural and is aimed at a broad general audience.

Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion (BL 458 E53 1999, Reference Collection, Level 10)
The work endeavours to be a "culturally and historically comprehensive reference work that reflects contemporary approaches to women's history and experience in world religion from the beginning of time to the present."

Sexuality and the World's Religions (BL 65 S4 S5 2003, Main Collection, Level 9)
A look at how the world's major religions influence the sexual values, attitudes, and practices of their adherents.

Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (BL 65 N35 E53 2005, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Critically explores the relationships among human beings, their environments, and the religious dimensions of life in 1,000 entries from 520 international. contributors.

Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought (B 41 R43 1996, Reference Collection, Level 10)
A useful reference book with extensive inclusion of terms and concepts from Eastern religions"

The Continuum Dictionary of Religion (BL 31 C67 1994, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Includes 5,000 entries which explain theological concepts, religious practices, deities, beliefs, religious articles, schools of theological thought, and religious groups and traditions. Each definition explains what a thing is and its significance to the religion to which it belongs; it also note similarities between the term defined and ideas in other religions and refer the reader to those entries either through embedded cross-references.

The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (BL 245 H57 2000, Reference Collection, Level 10)
Comprehensive treatment of the subject of science and religion.

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Reference Materials

There are many versions and translations of the holy religious texts available in the library. Following is a selected list:


Sacred texts of the world: A universal anthology (BL 70 S247 1982, Main Collection, 9th Floor)
Provides a broad overview of numerous world religions.

Hindu Sacred Texts

The Rig Veda: An Anthology: one hundred and eight hymns, selected, translated and annotated (BL 1112.54 E5 1981, Main Collection, Level 9)

Eight Upanisads (BL 1124.54 E6 1989, Main Collection, Level 9)

Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology: Pur-anas in Translation (BL 1140.2 E5 1970, Main Collection, Level 9)

The Bhagavad Gita - Translated with an introduction and notes by W.J. Johnson (BL 1138.62 E5 1994, Main Collection, Level 9)

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The Library's catalogue provides access to the collections in our library.  This includes books, as well as audiovisual materials, government documents, microforms, and electronic resources. You can search the Library catalogue for specific titles, works by a particular author, or on a specific subject.

Subject Headings are terms assigned to each item to describe its content, using a set of standards that is applied to all items in the catalogue. Below are a few of the standard subject headings used to describe content in area of religious studies:


Hinduism -- History

Hinduism -- Doctrines

Hinduism -- Rituals

Hindu symbolism

Philosophy, Hindu

Notice all of the sub-headings beneath the major subject terms which allow you to get more and more specific in terms of topic or geographic location.

These same terms (and more) will work as keyword searches, but you will get many more (and possibly irrelevant) results using a keyword search. Try both and take it from there. If you search any term in the 'subject' field, the catalogue will try to suggest related subjects for you to try, as well as more sub-categories of the subject. Of course, if you know the title or author of a book, you can search the catalogue using those fields as well.

General Resources

A few examples of some of the research guides on religious studies in the main collection that may help you get started with your research are listed below:

Research Guide to Religious Studies (BL 41 W5 1982, Main Collection, 9th floor)

Library Research Guide to Religion and Theology: Illustrated Search Strategy and Sources (BL 41 K45, Main Collection, 9th floor)

You can also do an 'advanced keyword search' and restrict the 'material type' to limit your search to e-books only.

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The most current information and research on any academic topic is generally found in articles. To find articles in journals, newspapers and magazines (also dissertations, conference proceedings, government documents, and book chapters), search in the Library's subscription databases. The University of Lethbridge subscribes to several specialized databases for religious studies.

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Scholarly Approaches to the Study and Teaching of Religion
A website developed by the University of Lethbridge Department of Religious Studies with numerous links to aid in the academic study of religion.

BBC Religions: Hinduism
An informative introduction to all major religions of the world.

Hinduism Gateway - Directory of Online Resources

Internet Sacred Text Archive
A collection of Western, Eastern, and traditional religious texts.

Religious Studies Web Guide
A collection of free internet resources of use to researchers involved in the academic study of religion maintained at the University of Calgary.

Virtual Religion Index
Index with numerous links to religion related websites.

Intute: Arts and Humanities
A collection of web links for religious studies evaluated and maintained by subject specialists in the UK.

The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
Information on denominations, specific congregations, locales, historical perspectives, and more... Data are available via hundreds of data files, searchable by country, category, popularity, denomination, etc.  

Religion by numbers 
Statistics on various religious denominations.

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Audiovisual Materials

To find audiovisual materials in the library catalogue go to 'Advanced Keyword' search and then limit by material type (film/video). For example there are numerous films and video on the topic of religion and Hinduism.

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If you have difficulty finding or using the information you require:

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: October 2, 2014
 Content Created: April 29, 2010

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