Religious Studies Comprehensive Exam Bibliography

Religious Studies Department Bibliography for Comprehensive Examination


Historical Materials (to 1950)

Choose four and obtain approval from advisor

  1. One text from Hebrew Scriptures: Use NRSV translation or The Jewish Study Bible.
    • Julius Wellhausen's Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, specifically the chapters "Introduction," "Sacrifice," "The Oral and Written Torah," and "Theocracy as Idea and Institution."
  2. One text from Christian Scriptures. Use NRSV translation.
  3. One author from formative Christianity (second - fifth centuries):
    • Justin: "First Apology," Early Christian Fathers (Macmillan, 1970), 225-289
    • Origen: On First Principles (Peter Smith/Harper, 1966), book 4
    • Tertullian: "Apology," Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, 17-55
    • Selections from Cyril, Nestorius and the Council of Chalcedon in The Christological Controversy (Fortress, 1980), 123-159
    • Augustine of Hippo (choose any two of these texts):
      • "Spirit and the Letter," Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, 80-114
      • Confessions (Oxford, 1992; Penguin, 1961), books 10-13
      • On Christian Doctrine (Bobbs-Merrill, 1958), Prologue and book 3
  4. One author from medieval Christian theology:
    • Anselm of Canterbury: Proslogion (Open Court, 1962), 1-34
    • Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologiae (Blackfriars)--choose up to two sections on ...
      • God (I.Qq. 1-14)
      • grace (I-II. Qq. 109-114)
      • natural law (I-II. Qq. 90-97)
      • eucharist (III. Qq. 73-83)
    • Bonaventure: The Mind's Road to God (Bobbs-Merrill, 1953), 3-46
  5. One mystical writer:
    • Teresa of Avila: Interior Castles, in Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, vol. 2 (ICS Publications, 1980), 3rd - 5th mansions, 304-358
    • Meister Eckhart: "Book of Benedictus: Of the Nobleman," "Counsels on Discernment," and "On Detachment," in Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense (Paulist, 1981), 240-294
    • Julian of Norwich: Showings, Classics of Western Spirituality Series (Paulist, 1978), The Long Text, 175-343
    • John of the Cross: "The Living Flame of Love," in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (ICS Publications, 1991), 569-649
  6. One author from Reformation or Renaissance Christian Thought:
    • Desiderius Erasmus: "A Pilgrimage for Religion's Sake," Ten Colloquies (Bobbs-Merrill, 1957), 56-91
    • Martin Luther
      • "On Christian Freedom" and section of "The Babylonian Captivity of the Church" on the eucharist
      • Three Treatises (Fortress), 277-316
      • Erasmus and Luther's debate on free will, in Erasmus-Luther: Discourse on Free Will (Ungar, 1961), 3-138
    • John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (Library of Christian Classics, vols. 1 and 2 (Westminster, 1960)
      • book 1, chs. 6-8 on scripture
      • book 1, chs. 10-12 on idolatry
      • book 2, chs. 15-17 on Christ's soteriological work
      • book 3, ch. 11 on justification
      • book 4, ch. 14 on sacraments
  7. One text from modern Christian thought (19th-early 20th century):
    • Friedrich Schleiermacher: On Religion: Speeches to its Cultured Despisers (Cambridge, 1989), first and second speeches, 77-140
    • Sören Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling (Penguin, 1985), 57-147
    • John Henry Newman: Selections from "An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine," "Apologia pro Vita Sua," "On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine," and "A Letter to the Duke of Norfolk," in Newman the Theologian: A Reader (Notre Dame, 1990), 160-247
    • George Tyrrell: "Letter to a University Professor," A Much Abused Letter (Longmans, 1906), 37-89
  8. One text reflecting a social-political focus:
    • Walter Rauschenbusch: A Theology for the Social Gospel (Abingdon, 1945), chs. 1 and 8-13
    • Pope Leo XIII: Rerum Novarum, in Contemporary Catholic Social Teaching (United States Catholic Conference, 1991), 15-43
  9. One text reflecting historically informed biblical exegesis:
    • Martin Kähler: The So-Called Historical Jesus and the Historical Biblical Christ (Fortress, 1964)
    • Hans Conzelman: The Theology of Saint Luke (Harper, 1960)
    • George E. Wright: The God Who Acts (SCM, 1952)
    • Rudolf Bultmann: Jesus Christ and Mythology (Scribners, 1958)
    • Daniel Boyarin: A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (University of California Press, 1994)
    • Paula Fredriksen: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish life and the Emergence of Christianity (Vintage Books, 1999)
  10. One text reflecting 19th-early 20th century Christian feminism:
    • Sarah Grimke: Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, and Other Essays (Yale, 1988)
    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The Woman's Bible (Coalition on Women and Religion, 1974) prefaces to Parts 1 and 2, plus "Old Testament" and "New Testament" entries followed by "E.C.S." commentaries
  11. One classic resource from a non-Christian tradition:
    • Buddhism: "Dhammapada," A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (Princeton, 1957), 292-325
    • Hinduism: "The Bhagavad Gita," in A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (Princeton, 1957), 101-163
    • Islam: Qur'an (selections negotiated with advisor)
    • R.K. Narayan: The Ramayana
  12. One author from a non-Christian tradition:
    • Al-Ghazzali: Tahafut al-Falasifah (The Incoherence of the Philosophers) (Pakistan Philosophical Conference, 1958)
    • Writings on Vedanta: Samkara and Ramanuja, A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy (Princeton, 1957), 506-555
  13. One work at the interface of philosophy and religion:
    • Cicero: On the Nature of the Gods (Penguin, 1972), 69-120, 123-146, 153-161, 185-190, and 193-235
    • Averroes: On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy (Luzac, 1976), 44-81
    • David Hume: Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Kemp Smith translation (Bobbs-Merrill, 1947), 127-228
    • Friedrich Nietzsche: "The Anti-Christ," Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ (Penguin, 1968), 114-187
  14. One work at the interface of psychology and religion:
    • William James: Varieties of Religion Experience (Penguin, 1985), Introduction by Martin Marty and "Conclusion"; then either 78-165 ("the Religion of Healthy-Mindedness; The Sick Soul") or 259-378 ("Saintliness and Value of Saintliness")
    • Sigmund Freud:
      • Future of an Illusion (Norton, 1989); or
      • Civilization and its Discontents (Norton, 1989)
    • Karl Jung: Memories, Dreams, & Reflections 
  15. One work in religion and literature:
    • Euripides: The Bacchae (trans. Arrowsmith)
    • Aristophanes: The Frogs (trans. Webb)
    • Dante Alighieri: The Divine Comedy (selections to be determined in consultation)
    • Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov (trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky)
    • E.M. Forster: A Passage to India
    • Isak Dinesen: "The Deluge at Noderney" or Out of Africa
    • D.H. Lawrence: The Man Who Died (Vintage, 1925), 163-211


Contemporary Materials (from 1950 on)

Choose four and obtain approval from advisor

  1. One Catholic author in systematic theology:
    • Karl Rahner: "Theology and Anthropology" and "Atheism and Implicit Christianity," Theological Investigations, vol. 9 (Seabury), 28-45 and 145-164; and "Experience of Self and Experience of God," Theological Investigations, vol. 13 (Seabury, 1975), 105-121
    • Hans Küng: On Being a Christian (Doubleday, 1976), selections on Christology, 278-410
    • Edward Schillebeeckx: Jesus and Christ (Crossroad, 1981), 3-19, 50-63 and 105-124
    • John Haught, God After Darwin, 2nd. ed. (Westview, 2008)
  2. One Protestant author in systematic theology:
    • Karl Barth: Church Dogmatics: A Selection (Harper, 1961), selections on revelation, 29-86
    • H. Richard Niebuhr: Radical Monotheism and Western Culture (Harper, 1960), 11-89
    • Wolfgang Pannenberg: Theology and the Kingdom of God (Westminster, 1975), 51-143
    • James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation (Orbis, 1990)
    • Dwight N. Hopkins, Down, Up, and Over:  Slave Religion and Black Theology (Fortress, 2000)
  3. One work in contemporary biblical studies:
    • Jon D. Levenson: Sinai and Zion (Harper, 1985)
    • Willi Marxsen: Jesus and Easter (Abingdom, 1990)
    • Jürgen Becker: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles. Translated by O.C. Dean, Jr. (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993)
    • David E. Aune: The Westminster Dictionary of the New Testament and Early Christian Literature and Rhetoric (Westminster John Knox, 2003)
    • The book of essays Prophets and Daniel: A Feminist Companion to the Bible, Second Series editor Athalya Brenner.
    • To Each Its Own Meaning: Biblical Criticisms and Their Applications, eds. Steven McKenzie and Stephen R. Haynes
  4. One text in philosophical theology:
    • Charles Hartshorne: The Divine Relativity (Yale, 1948), 1-94
    • David Tracy: Plurality and Ambiguity (Harper, 1987), 1-114
    • Anthony Kenny: The God of the Philosophers (Clarendon, 1969)
    • Robert Sokolowski: The God of Faith and Reason (Notre Dame, 1982)
    • Alasdair MacIntyre and Paul Ricoeur: The Religious Significance of Atheism (Columbia, 1969)
    • John Hick: "An Irenaean Theodicy," Encountering Evil, Ed. Stephen T. Davis (John Knox, 1981), 39-68
    • Fr. Robert Barron: Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (Crossroad Publishing Company, 1996)
    • Carol Christ: She Who Changes: Re-imagining the Divine in the World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
  5. One piece in Catholic theological ethics:
    • Gustavo Gutierrez: Power of the Poor in History (Orbis, 1983), 3-22 and 125-165
    • Charles Curran: Directions in Catholic Social Ethics (Notre Dame, 1985), "The Changing Anthropological Bases of Catholic Social Ethics" (5-42); and one of the following:
      • "Roman Catholic Teaching on Peace and War in Broader Theological Context" (198-224), in Directions in Catholic Social Ethics
      • "Moral Theology in the Light of Reactions to Humanae Vitae" (19-58), in Transition and Tradition in Moral Theology (Notre Dame, 1975)
      • "Abortion: Ethical Aspects" (207-229), in Transition and Tradition in Moral Theology
    • Richard McCormick: The Critical Calling: Reflections on Moral Dilemmas Since Vatican II--choose two chapters
    • Lisa Cahill: Between the Sexes: Foundations for a Christian Ethics of Sexuality (Fortress, 1985), chs. 1, 2, and 8
    • Sr. Helen Prejean: Dead Man Walking
    • Fr. Timothy O'Connell: Principles for a Catholic Morality (revised edition)
    • Paul J. Wadell: Friendship and the Moral Life
  6. One piece in Protestant theological ethics:
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Cost of Discipleship (MacMillan, 1959)
    • Reinhold Niebuhr: Nature and Destinay of Man, Vol. I (Scribners, 1964)
    • Stanley Hauerwas: A Community of Character (Notre Dame, 1983), choose three chapters; or The Peaceable Kingdom
    • Paul Ramsey
      • The Just War (University Press of America, 1983), choose either Part II on "The Morality of War" or Part III on "The Morality of Deterrence"
      • alternatively, Ethics at the Edge of Life (Yale, 1978), choose either Part I on abortion or three of six chapters from Part II on euthanasia
    • Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Testament of Hope (Harpter, 1986), 31-34, 54-61, 63-63, 64-72, 117-125, 135-144, 176-181, 189-194, 197-200, 217-220, 231-244, 303-312, 340-377
  7. One work in feminist religious thought:
    • Rosemary Radford Ruether: Sexism and God-Talk (Beacon, 1983), 12-46 and two chapters
    • Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza: "In Search of Women's Heritage," Weaving the Visions (Harper, 1989), 29-39; "Feminist Theology as a Critical Theology of Liberation," Theological Studies, 36:4 (Dec. 1975), 605-626; and Bread Not Stone (Beacon, 1984), introduction and chapters 1-2
    • Elizabeth Johnson: She Who Is (Continuum, 1992), Friends of God and Prophets (Continuum, 1998)
    • Sallie McFague: Models of God
    • The book of essays Prophets and Daniel: A Feminist Companion to the Bible, Second Series editor Athalya Brenner.
    • Karen Baker-Fletcher, Dancing with God: The Trinity from a Womanist Perspective (Chalice, 2006)
  8. One work by a non-Christian author:
    • Masao Abe: Zen and Western Thought (University of Hawaii, 1985), chapters 1, 9, 10 and 12
    • Martin Buber: I and Thou, Smith trans. (Scribners, 1958)
    • Seyyed Hossein Hasr: Ideals and Realities of Islam (Praeger, 1967), 15-93
    • Radhakrishnan: The Hindu View of Life (MacMillan, 1968), 11-92
  9. One piece from the comparative or social study of religion:
    • Mircea Eliade: Cosmos and History: The Myth of the Eternal Return (Harper, 1954)
    • Thomas Luckman: The Invisible Religion: The Problem of Religion in Modern Society (Macmillan, 1967)
    • Peter Berger: The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (Doubleday, 1967)
    • Clifford Geertz's The Interpretation of Cultures, particularly chapters "Religion as a Cultural System" and "Ethos, World View, and the Analysis of Sacred Symbols."
  10. One work in religion and literature:
    • Nikos Kazantzakis: The Last Temptation of Christ (Simon and Schuster, 1960)
    • Flannery O'Connor: The Complete Stories (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979): "Revelation," "The River," and "Everything that Rises Must Converge", and/or Wise Blood
    • Georges Bernanos: The Diary of a Country Priest (Carroll and Graf, 1965), 1-298
    • Graham Greene: Monsignor Quixote (Washington Square, 1982)
    • Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God (Harper, 1990)
    • Boris Pasternak: Doctor Zhivago (Battal Ballanetine, 1957)
    • Archibald MacLeish: J.B.
  11. One group of selections from the conciliar documents, papal encyclicals, Vatican declarations or pastoral letters:
    • Vatican II

      All the following in Documents of Vatican II, ed. Abbott, (Guild) or Flannery, Austin, O.P. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents Volume 1 (Costello Publishing Company, 1975). The documents from the Second Vatican Council are also available online through the Vatican.

      • "On Revelation"
      • "The Church in the Modern World"
      • "Religious Freedom" and
      • "Declaration on the Relationship of Christians to Non-Christian Religions"

    • Papal encyclicals:
      • Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae (Paulist, 1968)
      • Pope John Paul II's Centesimus Annus, Origins, 21 (1991), 1-24 (all encyclicals from John Paul II are also available online through the Vatican)
      • Pope John Paul II's On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, Origins, 18 (1988), 261, 263-283
      • Pope John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor
      • Pope John Paul II's Fides et Ratio
    • Vatican declarations:
      • Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Declaration on Abortion," Origins, 4 (1974), 385, 387-392
      • Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Declaration on Euthanasia," The Main Issues in Bioethics, second edition (Paulist, 1984)
      • Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Human Reproduction," Religion and Artificial Reproduction (Crossroad, 1988), 140-177
    • Pastoral letters by the American Catholic Bishops
      • The Challenge of Peace (United States Catholic Conference, 1983)
      • Economic Justice for All (United States Catholic Conference, 1986)
      • "One in Christ Jesus: A Pastoral Response to the Concerns of Women for Church and Society," Second draft of Pastoral Letter, Origins, 19 (1990), 317, 319-340
      • "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, 1997. A Statement of the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family.
    • Pontifical Biblical Commission