Theology and Religious Studies reading list

Information for prospective students

Student reading in the Library

Studying in King's Library

We advise you to read the Theology and Religious Studies page thoroughly. For reading and preparation advice you should find the following sections particularly useful:

Do also keep an eye on the subject resources, which provide more general guidance and examples for developing your academic interests.

Information for TRS offer-holders

Congratulations on your offer to study at King's! We look forward to welcoming you to the College in October. The following information may be useful in helping you think about possible choices for your first year papers, and once you have made your choices, it will certainly be useful in terms of perpearation for the course.

Paper 1: Languages

As you'll be aware, you have to take a scriptural language paper in your first year, in addition to four other papers. Please email the Director of Studies, Dr Stephen Cherry (, when you are ready to start thinking about your language choice. Once you have decided which language you wish to take, it would really help if you culd get hold of the relevant text book, and begin to work through it systematically. The further you get before you arrive, the easier you will find it when you're here.

Hebrew (Paper A1a)

  • C.L. Seow, Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, Revised Edition (Nashville: Abingdon, 1995). This can be purchased from Alban Books or Heffers in Cambridge.

New Testament Greek (Paper A1b)

Sanskrit (Paper A1c)

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

Qur'anic Arabic (Paper A1d)

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

The other papers

As well as the language paper, you have to choose four other papers, at least one of which must be either Paper 2 or Paper 3. You are entirely free to choose the papers you'd like to study otherwise. Some sort of rough guideline could be that if you're interested above all in studying Christian theology, then obviously you would do best to choose from papers 2,3,4,5 and 8, whereas a strong interest in religious studies would suggest, say, papers 2,3,6,7 and 8.

Once you have decided what paper choices you are likely to make, you should begin some introductory reading (in addition to the language, that is). Again, the more you can do before you arrive, the easier you will find it to settle in once you're here. Degree level work is quite a change in gear from A level and equivalent qualifications, and one of the things that marks the difference is the amount of self-regulated reading that you're required to do here. So it does make sense to begin to get into the rhythm of reading and note-taking again.

General Books on Biblical Interpretation

  • Grant, R. M. & Tracy, D. A., Short History of the Interpretation of Scripture (1984)
  • Hayes, J. H. & Holladay, C. R., Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook (1983)
  • Alter, R. & Kermode, F., The Literary Guide to the Bible (1987)
  • Morgan, R., & Barton, J., Biblical Interpretation (1988)
  • Rogerson, J.W., Introduction to the Bible (1999)

Introductory reading


  • Dixon, T.M., How to Get a First (2004)

Faculty information

For more information, please consult the Divinity Faculty website.

Reading lists | For offer holders | Undergraduate study