Thursday, November 12, 2009

Finding Articles About the Tanakh

Question: Where can I find articles about a specific passage in the Tanakh?
Answer: A quick way to find scholarly articles on Biblical verses is the Scriptural Index in the ATLA/ATLAS database [access details below].

1. Choose SCRIPTURES from the blue band at the top of the screen. You will be presented with a list of Biblical books. (Clicking on any of the books will retrieve ALL the articles about that book, a list much too long to be useful)

2. Click on EXPAND to be presented with a choice of chapters within that book
3.Click on EXPAND again next to chapter of your choice, to get a choice of verses.
4. Click on the desired verse number to finally retrieve a list of relevant articles.

Note the options in the left-hand column NARROW RESULTS BY: SUBJECT (on the green bar). You will see headings specifying a range of verses in the Biblical book. For example, “Bible. Genesis 12-25”. Clicking on this heading will retrieve articles covering all those verses, as a group.

An important “subject” option is the PEER REVIEWED specification. Clicking this option will limit your results list to articles published in refereed journals. This means the articles have been screened and approved by experts in that academic discipline before publication is permitted. Although some scholars have been dissatisfied with this process, its goal is to ensure that only quality scholarship is being published.

An alternate method of retrieving peer reviewed articles is in right-hand column of the screen: LIMIT YOUR RESULTS (on the green bar). Check the SCHOLARLY (PEER REVIEWED) JOURNALS box, and then click UPDATE RESULTS (on the blue rectangle).

As always in ATLA/ATLAS, some articles will be full-text, while others will appear only as citations. Full-text articles are viewable via Adobe PDF software, and have PDF Full Text right after the citation.

Please note that ATLA/ATLAS, compiled by the American Theological Libraries Association, includes journals published by all world religions, as well as by academic institutions. For example: Jewish Bible Quarterly, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Trinity Journal, Journal of Biblical Literature, Conservative Judaism, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Anglican Theological Review. Therefore the authors’ attitudes represent a wide variety of interests and viewpoints.


ATLA/ATLAS is available via JTS campus computers from the AVAILABLE ONLINE page. JTS students and faculty can access this database remotely.

To be continued in the future with a posting on Using RAMBI to Find Articles About the Tanakh.

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