School of Divinity

Sample background reading

Whether you're thinking of applying to our School as an undergraduate, or you have accepted a place, if you would like to do a little background reading, or sample Theology and Religious Studies, take a look at one or more of these books.

We asked our teaching staff to recommend books that potential undergraduates might find interesting. Here's what they suggested.

Please note these resources are for your general interest only. Specific course reading lists will be made available to students in September of each adacemic year.

Biblical Studies

  • John Barton, Ethics and the Old Testament, 2nd edn. (London: SCM, 2002).
  • Helen Bond, Jesus: A Very Brief History (London: SPCK, 2017).
  • David M. Carr and Colleen M. Conway, Introduction to the Bible: Sacred Texts and Imperial Contexts (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
  • Michael D. Coogan, The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2008).
  • Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 4th edn. (Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • Sandra L. Gravett, Karla G. Bohmbach, F. V. Greifenhagen and Donald C. Polaski (eds.) The Hebrew Bible: A Thematic Approach (Westminister John Knox, 2008).
  • J Leslie Houlden, Ethics and the New Testament (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2004).
  • R. S. Sugirtharajah, Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World, 3rd rev ed. Orbis, 2006.
  • Timothy H. Lim, The Dead Sea Scrolls. A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed. (Oxford: OUP, 2017).


  • Naomi Appleton, Many Buddhas, One Buddha: A Study and Translation of Avadãnaśataka 1-40 (Sheffield: Equinox, 2020).
  • Kate Crosby, Theravada Buddhism: Continuity, Diversity and Identity (Wiley-Blackwell 2014).
  • John Strong, The Buddha: A Short Biography (Oxford: Oneworld, 2001).


  • Gold, Daniel. Provincial Hinduism: Religion and Community in Gwalior City (Oxford: OUP, 2015).
  • Srinivas, Tulasi, The Cow in the Elevator: an anthropology of wonder (Delhi: OUP, 2018).

History of Christianity

  • Phillip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, 3rd edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  • Sebastian Kim and Kirsteen Kim, Christianity as a World Religion: An Introduction, 2nd edition (London: Bloomsbury, 2016).
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity (London: Penguin, 2010).
  • Brian Stanley, Christianity in the Twentieth Century: A world History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018). 

Indigenous Religions 

  • Kraft, Siv Ellen, Bjørn Ola Tafjord, Arkotong Longkumer, Gregory Johnson and Gregory Alles, Indigenous Religion(s): Local Grounds, Global Networks (Oxford: Routledge, 2020).
  • Smith, Linda Tuhiwai, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research. and Indigenous Peoples (London: Zed Books, 1999).


  • Clinton Bennet, Understanding Christian-Muslim Relations: Past and Present (London: Bloomsbury, 2008).
  • Carl W. Ernst, Following Muhammed: Rethinking Islam in the. Contemporary World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
  • Omid Safi ed., Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism (Oxford: Oneworld, 2003).
  • Michael Sells, Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations, 2nd edn. (Ashland, OR: White Cloud, 2007).
  • Amina Wadud, Qur'an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective (Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • Asma Afsaruddin, The First Muslims: History and Memory (Oxford: Oneworld, 2008).
  • Peter Mandaville, Islam and Politics, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2020).

Jewish Studies

  • Melanie Wright, Studying Judaism: the critical issues (Continuum 2012).
Jewish History and Culture
  • Edward Kessler 2010, An Introduction to Jewish-Christian Relations, (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • Barbara Hahn 2005, The Jewess Pallas Athena: This Too a Theory of Modernity, (Princeton University Press, 2005).
  • Natasha Díaz, Color Me In (Random House, 2019).
  • Eve Harris, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Black Cat, 2013).
Holocaust Studies
  • Inga Clendinnen, Reading the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
  • David Engel, The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews (Longman 2000).

Literature and Religion

  • Susan M Felch, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Religion (Cambridge: Cambridge Universtiy Press, 2016).
  • Andrew Hass, David Jasper and Elisabeth Jay. The Oxford Handbook of English Literature and Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Alison M. Jack, The Bible and Literature (London: SCM Press, 2012).
  • Rebecca Lemon, ed., The Blackwell companion to the Bible in English literature (Chichester, U.K; Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010).
  • Dawn Llewellyn, Reading, Feminism and Spirituality: Troubling the Waves (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
  • James McGonigal and Kirsten Stirling, eds., Ethically speaking: voice and values in modern Scottish writing (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006).


  • James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation. Fortieth Anniversary Edition (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2010).
  • David Ford, Theology: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edn. (Oxford Unviersity Press, 2013).
  • Elaine Graham, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Public Theology in a Post-Secular Age (London: SCM, 2013).
  • Nancey. Murphy, A Philosophy of the Christian Religion for the Twenty-First Century (Londo: SPCK, 2018).
  • John Parratt, An Introduction to Third World Theologies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  • Kwok Pui-Ian, Introducing Asian Feminist Theology (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000).
  • Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance (Minneapolis: Fotress Press, 2001).
  • Kathryn Tanner, Christ the Key (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
  • Linn Marie Tonstad, Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018).
  • Graham Ward, Theology and Religion: Why it Matters (Cambridge: Polity, 2019).
  • Delores S. Williams, Sisters in the Wilderness: The Challenge of Womanist God-Talk (New York: Orbis Books 1993).

Religious Studies 

  • Laura S. Grillo, Adriaan van Klinken & Hassan J. Ndzovu, Religions in Contemporary Africa: An Introduction (Routledge, 2019). 
  • James S Bielo, Anthropology of Religion: The Basics (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015).
  • M J Charlesworth, Philosophy and Religion: From Plato to Postmodernism (Oxford: Oneworld 2002).
  • Chidester, David, Empire of Religion: Imperialism and Comparative Religion (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014).
  • George D Chryssides and Ron Geaves, The Study of Religion: An Introduction to Key Ideas and Methods, 2nd edn. (London:  Bloomsbury, 2013).
  • McCutcheon, Russell, ed., The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion (London: Continuum, 1999).
  • Malory Nye, Religion: The Basics, 2nd edn. (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008).
  • Linda Woodhead, Christopher Partridge and Hiroko Kawanami, eds., 2016. Religions in the Modern World: Traditions and Transformations (Routledge, 2016).
  • Steven Sutcliffe and Ingvild Gilhus, eds., New Age Spirituality: Rethinking Religion (Routledge, 2013).

Science and Religion

  • Philip Clayton, Religion and Science: The Basics, 2nd edn. (London: Routledge, 2018).
  • J B Stump, Science and Christianity: An Introduction to the Issues (Chichester: Wiley, 2017).
  • Helen De Cruz and Johan De Smedt, A Natural History of Natural Theology: The Cognitive Science of Theology and Philosophy of Religion (Cambridge (MA); London: MIT Press, 2014).
  • Celia Deane-Drummond, Wonder and Wisdom: Conversations in Science, Spiritually and Theology. (DLT, 2006).
  • Nancy Morvillo, Science and Religion: Understanding the Issues (Chichester: Wiley, 2010).
  • Lisa Sideris, Consecrating Science: Wonder, Knowledge, and the Natural World (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017).
  • Keith Ward, The Big Questions in Science and Religion (Conshohocken: Templeton Press, 2008).