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RELS 118: New Testament (Johnson Hodge): Bibles & Ancient Texts

Spring 2024

Locating Bible Translations

For Bible translations, you'll mostly want to look in the BS sections of the library, located on the Mezzanine level of the Dinand Stacks. BS is the section for study of the Bible. Note that there are also multiple Bibles in the Dinand Main Reading Room, for in-library use only. 

The handout below includes a detailed stacks map, and more information about locating Bibles and Bible commentaries in the library. 

Other Ancient Texts (Online)

Recommended Bible Translations

To find Bibles in the library catalog, try doing searching by Subject in the Library Catalog (not CrossSearch) for

Bible. English.

There are many Bibles available in the Main Reading Room reference collection (for in-library use only) or on reserve (may be checked-out from the Dinand Circulation Desk for in-library use, 2 hours at a time) in addition to those in the library stacks.  Most English language Bibles will be found at or near the call number BS195. 

Below is a sampling of Bible versions available online

Because the text of the Bible has been passed down through many different manuscripts (none of which, of course, were in English!), there is no one version of the Bible, in English or in any other language. Instead, there are many different versions, which differ variously depending on...

  • Source: Which original manuscript(s) was/were used. If you're interested in understanding more about how this happens, you can visit our library guide on critical editions. The New Catholic Encyclopedia also has a detailed article about the different manuscripts of which many modern Bible versions are composed. 
  • Editorial Choices: How the compiler(s)/editor(s) chose to interpret and translate the manuscripts they used (again, see the guide on critical editions).
  • Canon: Which parts of the Bible the compiler(s)/editor(s) considered valid. The so-called deuterocanonical or apocryphal books, for example, are not accepted as canonical by many Protestant denominations and do not typically appear in such translations as the King James Version. The New Catholic Encyclopedia has a useful (if Catholic-focused!) overview of the different canons.  
  • Denomination/Authority: Related to the above, who (i.e., which denomination/church body/ruler/etc.) worked on and signed off on this version. In Catholic publications this kind of approval is often called the imprimatur (Latin for "let it be printed") and/or nihil obstat ("nothing hinders it" -- i.e., there are no objections). 
  • Purpose/Audience:  Examples of this might include study Bibles (which may include additional marginalia, contextual information, etc.); red-letter Bibles (in which words spoken by Jesus Christ appear in red); and 'Youth' Bibles (which typically use less-formal or even colloquial language to make the text more accessible to younger readers). 

If at all possible, when you pick up a new version of the Bible, try to examine the introduction, preface, and/or any other explanatory information in the front of the Bible which will give you context for how that particular version was put together.