Searching for a specific passage of Scripture

Scripture Searching

The ATLA-RDB offers a unique method of searching the data store, one that is not found in any other EBSCOHost database.  It’s called the “Hierarchical Scripture Authority.”  This intimidating name actually indicates something with which all of our users are already familiar : it uses the canonical structure of the Bible itself to find verses in their Bible context.  When you choose a verse using this method, you will retrieve the articles in the data store that include discussion of that verse, no matter how the passage or pericope is defined by the author of the article.

Using the “Hierarchical Scripture Authority”

On the Advanced Search screen, you will see a set of tabs along the top left edge of the screen.  First, click on the tab marked Scriptures.

You see a list of the books of the Bible in canonical order.  Let’s suppose you are looking for articles discussing Genesis 2:1-4, the conclusion of the long creation narrative in Gen 1:1-2:1-4a.  A complex citation like this is rather tricky to search for.  But the Hierarchical Scripture Authority is just the thing for this type of search!

Next to Genesis, you see the word Expand.  Click on that word.

First, it will offer you a list of all of the chapters in the book of Genesis.  If you click on Expand again next to Chapter 2, it will take you to the next level of detail — all of the verses of Chapter 2.  Choose a verse and click on it to initiate your search.

You receive a list of all of the articles in this data store that concentrate upon the passage you are looking for.  Please note that you are able to retrieve these articles even if the verse you chose is included inside a longer passage.  Of course, scholars writing their articles or essays are free to define the passage as they wish.  Some writers define the pericope as Genesis 1:1-2:4a, while others have chosen to discuss Genesis 1:27-2:24, or Genesis 2:1-3, or even a longer passage such as Genesis 1:1-6:8.  Clearly, several of these choices do include the passage you want.  Using this method, you are able to retrieve many relevant articles with a single search.