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MLA Citation Guide: Religious Texts

This guide shows you how to cite references in current (9th edition) MLA style

Tips

Name of Generic Religious Texts in the Body of your Paper

Do not italicize or use quotation marks in your paper when referring to a generic religious text. These terms appear without italics or quotation marks when referred to in your paper:

Bible, Old Testament, Genesis, Gospels, Talmud, Qur'an (Koran), Upanishads.

Only italicize titles of individual published editions of religious texts (e.g., The Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation, The Interlinear Bible, etc.) when specifically citing them in your paper.

In-Text Citations

The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation.

For a full list of abbreviations, see the Handbook's Appendix 1, pp. 295-298.

Principles of Inclusive Language

The editors of MLA 9 devote an entire chapter (Chapter 3, pp. 89-94) to the principles of inclusive language.

Inclusive language aims to be respectful to others by treating language describing individual or group identity with sensitivity and by avoiding bias that could make some people feel excluded. The following principles are intended to help writers choose inclusive language with regard to race and ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, and economic or social status. While these guidelines are generalized, writers are encouraged to exercise judgment in choosing language and to consider the particular context and audience they are writing for.

  1. Make references to identity relevant
  2. Be precise
  3. Choose terms of identity that respect your subject
  4. Be thoughtful about capitalization and styling
  5. Minimize pronouns that exclude
  6. Avoid negatively judging others' experiences
  7. Use a dictionary to check for offensive terms

Bible/Qur'an/Talmud, etc. (all Scripture)

Title. Editor statement, First Name Last Name of Editor, Publisher, Year of publication.

Works Cited List Example

The New Jerusalem Bible. General editor, Henry Wansbrough, Doubleday, 1985. 

In-Text Citation Example

 

(New Jerusalem Bible 1 Chron. 21.8)

Note: The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation. For a full list of abbreviations, see the Handbook's Appendix 1, pp. 293-301.

   
Works Cited List Example

 

The Bible. Introduction and notes by Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett, Oxford UP, 1998. Oxford World's Classics. Authorized King James Version.

Note: If the edition is based on a named version of the text, the name of the version can be recorded at the end of the entry, as "Authorized King James Version" is above.

In-Text Citation Example

 

(The Bible Rev. 21.3)

Note: The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation. 

   
Works Cited List Example

The Qur'an. Trans. by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem, Oxford UP, 2005.

In-Text Citation Example

 

(The Qur'an Joseph 12:69)

Note: The titles of books of scripture are often abbreviated for the in-text citation. For a full list of abbreviations, see the Handbook's Appendix 1, pp. 293-301.