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Citing Sources: Citing Religious Texts

This guide indicates the appropriate form for layout, in-text citations, and bibliography for MLA, APA, and Chicago formatted papers.

General Information about Citing Religious Text

References to Jewish or Christian scripture usually appear in the notes or in the text of the essay and not in the Bibliography. References to the scripture should include the book, chapter, and verse NOT the page number.The books can be abbreviated but using the full name is also acceptable.Do not italicize the Bible or the books in the Bible.

In the body of the essay, include the reference to the text as a signal phrase.

Versions of the Bible

Since versions of text are not identical, it is important to identify which version is being cited. The version should be spelled out the first time and an abbreviation may be used subsequently.

  • Job 1:2 (New Revised Standard Version)
  • Job 1:2 (NRSV)

Not included in the Bibliography

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Like the Bible, it is best practice in your first footnote to tell the reader what version you are using. After that, use the shortened form. You do not need to include the title in your bibliography.

          1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed., (1997), n. 2184.

          3. CCC, 2184.

Not included in the Bibliography

Papal Documents (Encyclicals)

          1. John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, Encyclical Letter, Vatican Website, March 25, 1995,, sec. 97.

          9. John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, 34.

Bibliography (remember the hanging indent)

John Paul II.  Evangelium vitae.  Encyclical Letter.  Vatican Website.  March 25, 1995.

Conciliar Documents - Second Vatican Council

          1. Second Vatican Council, “Lumen gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (hereafter LG) in The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott (New York: Guild Press, 1966), 57.

  • notice in the above example (colour coding for emphasis):
    • the Latin title is in italics
    • shortened version that will be used again is also provided

          2. LG, 67.

In the Bibliography (Remember the hanging indent):

Second Vatican Council. “Lumen gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.” In The Documents of Vatican II. Edited by Walter M. Abbott. New York, NY: Guild Press, 1966.

Citing the Summa Theologica / Thomas Aquinas

 As with other religious works, you should not cite the page number of the Summa, rather the part, question and article you are using. To help, Douglas Beaumont provided a really good explanation in his blog post.

To summarize, note the following:

  • Part (there are 3 divisions with Part 2 having 2 parts) : I, I-II (first section of part 2), II-II (second section of part 2), III or 1, 2-1, 2-2, 3
  • Question number: Q1, Q2 ... or 1,2,3
  • Article number: Art1, Art2... or 1,2,3
    • if there is a reply use the abbreviation ad.: ad1

Check with your teacher - some prefer you to use Roman numerals and some prefer Arabic numbers.

So, an example of a citation in your footnote would be:

          1. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 2nd, rev. ed., trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (1920; New Advent, 2008): I, Q.65, Art.4, (or 1.65.4)

          2. Aquinas, Summa Theologica 1.65.4. (Part. Question. Article)

Canon Law

Use the abbreviation c. for one canon and cc. for two or more.

#. Title of Document, c. # of canon(s), sec. #, in Title of Full Document (Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date), xx-xx.

Subsequent Footnote
#. Abbreviated title of document, c. # of canon(s), sec. #.

Title of Full Document. Place of Publication: Publisher, Publication Date.

1. Code of Canon Law, c. 279, sec. 1, in Code of Canon Law: Latin English Edition (Washington D.C. : Canon Law Society  of America, 1999), 89.

2. CIC, c. 279, sec. 1. 

Code of Canon Law: Latin English Edition. Washington D.C. : Canon Law Society of America, 1999.

Other religious texts:

The Chicago Manual says that references to the sacred and revered works of other religious traditions may be treated in a similar manner to biblical references. Do not itaclize the Qu’ran and citations to its sections use Arabic numerals and colons (e.g., Qur’an 19:17-21). Such collective terms as the Vedas or the Upanishads are normally capitalized but not italicized, but particular parts are italicized (e.g., the Rig Veda or the Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad)

For more information on Turabain

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