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RELIGIOUS STUDIES: SUBJECT GUIDE: Primary Sources

Starting points for research in Religion & Ethics

ARTstor & Religion

ARTstor is a digital library of over a million images.  For search tips specific to Religion, see the ARTstor Religious Studies sheet.

Statistics and Datasets

Sacred Texts in Collins Library

Sacred texts often lack a clear title or author by which to search. Libraries use "uniform titles" to gather together all works related to a sacred text that may be in many editions or translations.  The uniform title consists of the following in this order:  [Sacred text name] [Subsection of text, if any] [Language(s)] [Version] [Date].  Examples of uniform titles appear below.  If you have any difficulty finding what you need, please ask a librarian for assistance!

Christian Bible

Bible. N.T. Matthew.  English.

Bible. O.T. Psalms. English.

Bible. New Testament.  Versions.

Buddhist Sacred Texts     

Mahayana Buddhism.  Sacred books.

Buddhism.  Sacred books.

Tripiṭaka. Sūtrapiṭaka. Prajñāpāramitā. Vajracchedikā. English.

Hebrew Bible (Tanakh)

Bible. Old Testament Versions, Jewish.

Bible. O.T. Leviticus. English.

Hindu Sacred Texts


Hinduism.  Sacred books.

Bhagavadgītā. English.

Koran (or Qur’an)                                 

Koran. English & Arabic.

Other Examples

Taoism.  Scriptures.  English.

Apocryphal books.  New Testament.  English.


A Note on Translations:

English translations of sacred texts can differ markedly.  Always use the translation your professor recommends.  If you are citing sacred texts in your work, make sure that you indicate which translation you are using.

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Religion

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues.

A small selection of material is listed below, for additional sources, please contact archives@pugetsound.edu.

Ehman, Jessie, et al., A strange case of alchemical munificence, 2013.

Grotius, Hugo, The truth of Christian religion, 1689.

Wesley, John, Select letters, chiefly on personal religion, 1838.

Rycaut, Paul, The present state of the Ottoman Empire, containing the maxims of the Turkish politie, the most material points of the Mahometan religion...,1668.

The Oregon Methodist Missions papers, 1835-1858, contain letters describing the daily life, hardships, and deaths associated with the work of missionaries and their families in the Oregon territory.

The Mongolian Missions Collection, 1913-1935, contains materials used by missionaries of the South Mongol Mission including unbound texts, photographs, and religious and educational materials produced by the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Swedish Mongol Mission Press, and the Russian-Mongolian Publishing Company.

What's a primary source?

Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information.  Scholars analyze primary sources in order to answer research questions. Examples of primary sources vary by discipline.

Examples in the humanities:

  • a novel
  • a painting
  • a theatre performance

Examples in the social sciences:

  • a political, social, or economic theory
  • a dataset
  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Example in the sciences:

  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Archives & Special Collections Hours

Spring 2020 update:

The Archives & Special Collections is currently unable to host in-person researchers. If you need assistance or would like to set up a virtual appointment, please email us at archives@pugetsound.edu.

A small selection of digitized material from the Archives & Special Collections is available online 24/7.