Main Content

TH 355 - Christian Marriage


This is a guide to selected sources of information related to the TH355 Christian Marriage course. Due to the depth of our collection on this topic as well as the variety of topics and subject areas you are able to pursue in this course, the guide is only meant to be a starting point for your research. For further research assistance, please contact the Theology Liaison Librarian.

In addition to the resources highlighted on this guide please make sure to view the resources on the Theology subject guide.


Research Basics

The reference librarians have created a group of Web pages named Research Help to help teach you the basics of library research and to introduce you to Geisel Library. On the Research Help pages, you will find a guide on Research Basics and a helpful guide on evaluating Web resources titled, our guide on Evaluating Websites.  Please take advantage of these resources.


Reference Sources for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They may not be checked out but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, or listed on E-Reference Resources.

Reference Online Databases

New Catholic Encyclopedia 2nd Edition
     Ref BX841 .N44 2003 (print version)

Encyclopedia of Religion

International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family

Reference Materials in Print

Dictionary of Sacramental Theology edited by Peter Fink, S.J.
     Ref BV173

Encyclopedias on Catholicism
     Ref BX841

Catholic Catechism, 1994, + Companion, + Commentary
     Ref BX1959.3

Canon Law Titles
     Ref BX1939 2212

Marriage Customs of the World
     Ref GT2690.M65 2004      example: Christian weddings

Statistical Handbook of the American Family
     Ref HQ536.S727 1999      example: Marriage trends

American Attitudes: Who Thinks What About the Issues...
     Ref HN90.P8 M58 1998      example: spanking, work and family


Return to top


Search Tips

To search the library catalogs and databases highlighted in this guide you will need to use Boolean operators (ANDs and ORs), truncation, and quotation marks to pull up books and articles on your topic. Here is a brief overview of how to use Boolean operators and truncation:

  • AND - use AND to link together search topics (Plato AND aesthetics)
  • OR - use OR to link together synonyms or like concepts (analysis OR interpretation)
  • * - use truncation to pull up the root of a word with variant endings (Type art* to pull up items with the words art, arts, artist, artists, etc.)
  • Quotation marks - When performing keyword searches use quotation marks to search for your keywords as an exact phrase (Type "Art as Experience" to look for the exact title and/or phrase of: Art as Experience. If you do not enclose your phrase with quotes the database will look for the terms Art and Experience as separate words throughout the entire record)

Return to top


Subject Heading and Keyword Searching

There are two main ways to search the library catalogs and databases, by subject heading and by keyword. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks, it is important therefore to know the best time to use each method.

Subject Headings

Subject headings are keywords that are assigned to books and articles that capture the item's key subject matter and themes. Use subject headings to look for materials on broad concepts such as marriage in general, or as related to religion. The method of searching by subject heading will vary depending on what catalog or database you are using, please contact the Theology Liaison Librarian if you need assistance in using the subject heading search functions.

Keyword Searches

Keyword Searches work best if you are researching a narrow concept for example, examining how the sacrament of marriage is approached by various theologians. Keyword searches will look for your search term(s) in the citation, subject headings, abstract, and chapter titles (if available).

Examples of possible keyword searches relevant to Christian Marriage might include:

  • "christian marriage"
  • catholic AND marriage
  • (christ** or bible or biblical) AND (marriage or matrimony)
  • annulment OR divorce
  • genesis AND marriage
  •  remarriage

Other Search Terms - Remember Synonyms

  • matrimony or marriage or marry or married or marries
  • christ or christian or christianity or bible or biblical
  • catholic or church

Return to top


Find Books/Secondary Sources

Geisel Library Catalog
The first step when looking for books is to search the Geisel Library Catalog. Remember that you can search by keyword or by subject heading.

Examples of possible subject heading searches include:

If you searched the Geisel Library Catalog but could not locate a book on your topic try searching WorldCat, a database that allows you to search the collections of libraries throughout the United States. If you find a book that you want you can request it through interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on the ILL icon in the book's catalog record. Please be aware that items requested through WorldCat can take a week to two weeks to be delivered, it is important therefore to request books through WorldCat early in the research process.

Return to top


Find Journal Articles

The following databases will help you locate scholarly research in the field of theology. When examining your search results you may come across the WebBridge icon. This icon means that the full text is not available in the database you are currently searching. To locate the full text, simply click on the icon to determine whether the journal is available in Geisel Library or in another electronic database. If the article isn't available, click on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your college email address in approximately 3-7 business days. To learn how to use WebBridge, please watch our video tutorial (3.5 mins; includes audio).

Databases especially for Theology-Related Book Reviews

Catholic Periodical & Literature Index
CPLI provides indexing to periodicals, books, newspapers, and papal documents dealing expressly with a practice of Catholic faith and lifestyle. To locate book reviews, type (ZT "BOOK REVIEW") into the Keyword search box and combine it with author, title, or keyword. (1981-present)

Religion Database (ATLA)
Compiled by the American Theological Library Association, this database covers all religious traditions; strongest coverage is for materials dealing with the Judeo-Christian tradition. To find book reviews type a keyword, author, or title into the search box and select review from the pull down menu for publication type. (1949-present)


  • Add your extra Topic terms as needed - remember synonyms!
  • Review citations for Relevance
  • Find and use established name/subject links to find similar articles
  • Refine results to articles in English only, if helpful
  • Caution: these citations lack Abstracts (summary paragraphs)
  • Caution: "Journal Articles" limit will exclude Church and Papal documents!
  • Tip: databases contain Books also

Databases especially for Scripture Themes and Citations

Old Testament Abstracts
Thousands of article and book abstracts and citations related to Old Testament scholarship are available in this database, a product from ATLA and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Topics include antiquities, archaeology, biblical theology, and philology. Some linked full-text articles are available. The alphabetical list of scriptural citations included in this database allows you to narrow your search to articles pertaining to specific sections of the Old Testament. 1978-present)

New Testament Abstracts
Thousands of article and book abstracts and citations related to New Testament scholarship are available in this database, a product from ATLA and the Weston Jesuit School of Theology. Some linked full-text articles are available. Try searching the Scriptures database, which allows you to narrow your search to writing pertaining to specific sections of the New Testament. (1985-present) 

TIP:  the above four Ebsco databases can be searched all together, at once, by using the in: drop-down box, and checking off those of interest.

Religious and Theological Abstracts
Search here for scripture citations and summaries of articles appearing in scholarly religion and theology journals from around the world-Christian, Jewish, and other world religions are covered. Abstracts have been classified as Biblical, Theological, Historical, and Practical. (1958-present)

Selected Scripture passages:

  • Genesis 2:24 - "... a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife..."
  • Genesis 3:7-13 - sin affecting the goodness of marriage
  • Deuteronomy 24:1 ; Matthew 19:8 - Moses allowing divorce
  • Isaiah 54:4-5 ; Jeremiah 2:2 - marriage as covenantal
  • Matthew 19:6-11 - permanent union
  • Mark 12:25 - marriage proper to this age, not heaven

Return to top


Selected Internet Resources

Searching the Internet can yield a vast amount of information, but in terms of quality and reliability, your results may be uneven at best. The ease and speed with which individuals can publish information on the web, regardless of accuracy or quality makes it imperative that when doing research on the web you know how to evaluate the information you find. To learn more, see our guide on Evaluating Websites.

If when searching the Internet, you locate references to books or articles that you would like to view please check with a reference librarian to see if the items can be located in Geisel Library's print or electronic collection or through Interlibrary Loan.

Selected Websites

Catechism of the Catholic Church - on Marriage
A link to the subject index of the online Catechsim for the entry Marriage, with links to relevant sections.

Church Documents on Marriage
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sponsored site called For Your Marriage with great links to Church documents on marriage such as:  Vatican & Papal Statements, Pontifical Council for the Family, U.S. Bishops' Statements, and etc.

Issues Related to Catholic Marriage
Also from the USCCB's For Your Marriage site, this page contains concise and informative Q&A on "issues" such as Divorce, Annulments, Cohabitation, Contraception and Natural Family Planning, and Same Sex Unions.

National Marriage Project
This initiative out of the University of Virginia publishes yearly reports on different aspects of marriage and family life, including The State our our Unions, 2007 along with other research and analysis.

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 2008
Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, this extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious affiliation of the American public.

(check back here for updates!)


Return to top


Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


Return to top