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Introductory reading

Introductory reading list for those about to come to Cambridge

Upcoming students may be interested in doing some preliminary reading prior to coming to Cambridge, to explore the different subjects on offer. This can help you with your paper selection once you arrive. The articles and books marked with an asterisk (*) are essential reading for each course. 

Paper 1: Languages

Hebrew (Paper A1A)

  • Lambdin, Thomas. Introduction to Biblical Hebrew. (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1973)* This can be purchased at Heffers in Cambridge.

Greek (Paper A1B)

  • Duff, J. Elements of New Testament Greek (3rd edn; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)*

Sanskrit (Paper A1C)

  • Coulson, M., Sanskrit: an introduction to the Classical Language (2nd edn; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1992)*

Arabic (Paper A1D)

  • Haywood, J. A. & Nahmad, H. M. A., A New Arabic Grammar of the Written Language (London: Lund Humphries, 1990)*

General Books on the Bible and its Interpretation

  • Grant, R. M. & Tracy, D. A., Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible (London: SCM, 1984)
  • Hayes, J. H. & Holladay, C. R., Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook (3rd edn; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2010)
  • Alter, R. & Kermode, F., The Literary Guide to the Bible (London: Collins, 1987)
  • Soskice, J.M., The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Found the Hidden Gospels (London: Chatto & Windus, 2009).

Old Testament: David (Paper A2)

  • McKenzie, S.L., King David: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)*
  • Alter, R., The Art of Biblical Narrative (London: Basic Books, 2011)
  • Dietrich, W., The Early Monarchy in Israel: The Tenth Century B.C.E. (Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007)
  • Rogerson, J. W. & Davies, P., The Old Testament World (2nd edn; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2006)
  • Rogerson, J. W. (ed.), Beginning Old Testament Study (London: SPCK, 1983)

New Testament: Jesus and the Origins of the Gospels (Paper A3)

  • Johnson, L. T., The Writings of the New Testament (London: SCM, 1999)
  • Court, J. & K., The New Testament World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990)
  • Tuckett, C., Reading the New Testament (London: SPCK, 1987)
  • Barrett, C. K., The New Testament Background: Selected Documents (London: SPCK, 1956)
  • Moule, C. F. D., The Birth of the New Testament (London: A & C Black, 3rd ed., 1981)
  • E. P. Sanders,  The Historical Figure of Jesus (London: Allen Lane, 1993)
  • M Bockmuehl (ed.),  The Cambridge Companion to Jesus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

History: Christianity and the Transformation of Culture (Paper A4)

  • Brown, P., Power and Persuasion in Late Antiquity: Towards a Christian Empire (Madison,WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992)
  • Markus, R., The End of Ancient Christianity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990)
  • Salzman, M., The Making of A Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2003)

The Question of God (Paper A5)

  • Davis, Stephen T. (ed.), Encountering Evil: Live Options in Theodicy (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2004).
  • Fergusson, David. Creation (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2014).
  • Ford, David F., Theology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)
  • Migliore, Daniel L. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2004).
  • Solle, Dorothee. Thinking about God: An Introduction to Theology (London: SCM, 1990)

Understanding Contemporary Religion (Paper A6)

  • Aldridge, A., Religion in the Contemporary World (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000)
  • Barker, E., The Making of a Moonie: Brainwashing or Choice (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984)
  • Bruce, S., Religion in the Modern World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)
  • Davie, G., Religion in Britain since 1945 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1994)
  • Davie, G., Europe: The Exceptional Case (London: DLT, 2002)
  • Hamilton, M. B., The Sociology of Religion (2nd edn; London: Routledge, 2001)

World Religions (Paper A7)

  • Neusner, J. & Sonn, T., Comparing Religions Through Law: Judaism and Islam (London: Routledge, 1999)
  • McCutcheon, R. T., The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religion: A Reader (London: Cassell, 1999)
  • de Lange, N.R.M., An Introduction to Judaism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • Waines, D., An Introduction to Islam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • Lipner, J. J., Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (London: Routledge, 1994)

Philosophy and Ethics (Paper A8)

  • Turner, D., The Darkness of God (Cambridge, 1998)
  • Burrell, D., Knowing the Unknowable God: Ibn-Sina, Maimonides and Aquinas (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1986)
  • Sokolowski, R., The God of Faith and Reason (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1995)
  • Louth, A., The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: from Plato to Denys (Oxford: Clarendon, 1981)
  • Priest, G., Beyond the Limits of Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
  • Macintyre, A., After Virtue (3rd edn; South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007)
  • Mahoney, J. D., The Making of Moral Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989)


  • Dixon, T.M., How to Get a First (London: Routledge, 2004). This book gives advice on teaching and learning styles and how to manage time and lectures in the Arts & Humanities. It has a helpful section on making the transition from school to university