Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library | Alexander Street

Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library

The leading scholarly and curated resource for the study of 20th century religious thinkers, Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library covers over 200 leading thinkers and writers, offering selections of foundational writings, contextual monographs, and archival content to scholars of interreligious studies. Unique analytical software and indexing facilitate deep scholarship; 75 percent of the materials are in English, making them accessible across the curriculum. 


Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library provides resources to further explore Christian-Muslim-Jewish relations and key concepts in theology across religions. It supports research and teaching in comparative religion, theology, world religion, religion and law, religion and politics, and serves as an important resource for courses and scholarship in Middle Eastern studies, social theory, feminist studies, philosophy, and world history.

Volumes on Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Eastern Religions, along with a full video volume are available. At completion, the series will comprise more than 400,000 pages, 900 monographs, and 10,000 archival items. The printed materials are rekeyed to more than 99.99% accuracy, while the interface allows in-depth word pattern analysis and data mining, as well as the abil

ity to search using Arabic script and Hebrew.

Students and scholars will uncover:

  • Rare and previously undigitized content, including one-of-a-kind theological writings, sermons, interviews, lectures, personal correspondence, confessional documents, biblical commentaries, catechisms, sacred drama, historical accounts, images, and personal papers.
  • Source materials are written in their original languages, providing scholars with an unfiltered view of key primary texts.
  • The most inclusive resources that deliver access to feminist theologians and other previously marginalized and lesser-known voices.

Volume I, Christianity

Twentieth Century Religious Thought: Volume I, Christianity shares the voices of more than 50 theologians across Europe, North America, Asia, and Latin America, including extensive representation of feminist theologians and other previously marginalized figures. Created with scholars in mind, the collection couples the original materials with complementary resources, including meaningful interfaith writings and scholarly analysis of archival texts.

With 150,000 pages of scholarship, this resource gives students and scholars unprecedented access to the diverse ideas that have shaped understandings of Christianity across history. For the first time, researchers can search across hundreds of fully digitized documents to instantly compare how theories, denominations, and cultural groups have intersected, differed, and influenced one another. In addition to English-language texts and translations, the collection will also grow to include works in French, Spanish, German, and other native languages.

Key Thinkers and Works

  • The writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, leading figure in the Protestant fight against Nazism, whose works are available for the first time together in both English and German
  • Nearly the complete works of Hans Urs Von Baltasar, including the series Theo-Drama, Theo-Logic, and Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics
  •  Personal papers of Reinhold Niebuhr, online exclusively in this collection
  • Texts penned by Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), including Church, Ecumenism and Politics: New Endeavors in Ecclesiology, and Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religion
  • The writings of Rosemary Radford Ruether, noted American feminist theologian and author of Women and Redemption: A Theological History
  • Works from James Hal Cone, including A Black Theology of Liberation and God of the Oppressed
  • Writings of Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, considered the father of liberation theology 

Central Themes

  • Protestantism
  • Catholicism
  • Evangelicalism
  • Lutheranism
  • Liberation Theology
  • Systematic Theology
  • Dialectical Theology
  • Theocentric Theology

Learn more about Volume I, Christianity


Volume II, Islam

Volume II, Islam is an extensive research database of the most influential thinkers of modern Islamic theology and tradition. At completion, the text will include 100,000 pages of foundational texts and contextual monographs from the late 19th century to the 2010s.

About 95% of the collection’s key thinkers and authors are Muslims who come from Egypt, Gambia, India, Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tanzania, and Turkey. Included are international selections of English, Arabic, and French editions of the writings.

Key Thinkers and Works

  • The eight-volume work, Interpretation of the Koran, by Rashid Rida and Muhammad Abduh, early Islamic reformers who went on to lay the groundwork for the idea of the “Islamic State”
  • Several works by the controversial Turkish cleric and former Imman Fethullah Gülen, founder of the Gülen movement, including The Essentials of the Islamic Faith, The Messenger of God: Muhammad, Reflections on the Qur’an: Commentaries on Selected Verses, The Statue of Our Souls: Revival in Islamic Thought and Activism, and more
  • Works by Chandra Muzzafar, the Malaysian Islamic reformist and activist, including Universality of Islam
  • Contributions of Sadiq Jalal Al-Azm, a Syrian author with a focus on the relationship of the Islamic World to the West and whose works include On Fundamentalisms, Islam: Submission and Disobedience, Is Islam Secularizable? and Challenging Political and Religious Taboos

Central Themes

  • Women and Islam 
  • The State
  • Tradition and Renewal
  • Text and Reason
  • Qu’ran and Hadith
  • Islamic Law and Legal Reforms
  • Islam and the West
  • Piety Movements
  • Political Islam
  • Salafi Thought

Learn more about Volume II, Islam


Volume III, Judaism 

Volume III, Judaism expands the series to include 100,000 pages of the most important works and primary sources that document the evolution of Judaism from the 1890s-2010s.

This collection contains a curated selection of unpublished primary sources, coupled with key in-copyright or difficult-to-find

texts and authors. It addresses the specific needs of scholars and students of Judaism and other religions, while broadening the value the complete Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library brings to inter-religion study. Featured contributors include the National Library of Israel, Jewish Publications Society (University of Nebraska Press), and more.

Key Thinkers and Works

  • Works by Mordecai Kaplan, rabbi, essayist and Jewish educator and the co-founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, including Judaism as a Civilization: Toward a Reconstruction of American-Jewish Life and The Purpose and Meaning of Jewish Existence
  • Works related to post-holocaust studies by Emil Ludwig Fackenheim (To Mend the World: Foundations of Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought and The Jewish Bible After the Holocaust: A Re-reading), Berel Lang (Post-Holocaust: Interpretation, Misinterpretation, and the Claims of History), Zachary Braiteman ([God] After Auschwitz: Tradition and Change in Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought)
  • Works by women like authors Blu Greenberg (On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition) and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (Women and Gender in Jewish Philosophy)

Central Themes

  • Jewish Mysticism
  • Rabbinic Judaism
  • Orthodox Judaism
  • Conservative Judaism
  • Reform Judaism
  • Midrash
  • Talmud
  • Jewish Law and Ethics
  • Holocaust Studies
  • Kabbalah
  • Jewish Identity
  • Zionism 

Learn more about Volume III, Judaism


Volume IV, Eastern Religions 

Volume IV of the Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library presents the evolution of eastern religion through the seminal works of major religious thinkers. Explore the doctrines of Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and Jainism from the late 19th century through the 21st century. Key themes and topics include afterlife, dharma, incarnation, karma, Maya, meditation, mindfulness, reincarnation, sacred texts, and Zen. 

Learn more about Volume IV, Eastern Religions.


Volume V, Religion in Video New!

The fifth volume of the Twentieth Century Religious Thought Library, Religion in Video, offers a unique opportunity to explore the impact of religion on human cultures and beliefs through the lens of video. This collection of religious films and documentaries provides a deeper understanding of the social and political context surrounding practicing religion in the modern era and discusses how different faith and belief systems have evolved during the twentieth century. 

Learn more about Volume V, Religion in Video.


Advisory Board

      Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Christian studies professor at Georgetown University
      Michael S. Berger, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion, Emory University
      Alan Godlas, Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Georgia
      Yvonne Haddad, professor of the History of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding 
      at Georgetown University
      Zayn Kassam, John Knox McLean Professor of Religious Studies, Pomona College
      Samir Mamoud, Lecturer, American University of Beirut
      Zuleika Rodgers, Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Herzog Centre for Jewish and Near Ea stern
      Religion and Culture, Trinity College, the University of Dublin
      Abdullah Saeed, Director, National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies and Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab & Islamic Studies,
      University of Melbourne
      David L. Stubbs, professor of Ethics and Theology at Western Theological Seminary
      David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam/Nadir Dinshaw professor of Inter Religious Relations at University of Birmingham



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