Jehovah's Witnesses Research Bibliography
No attempt is made here to be exhaustive. Rather, this bibliography lists the most significant publications and other resources, pro and con, pertaining to Jehovah‘s Witnesses (JWs), with annotations. I have avoided listing popular works that recycle earlier materials.
I. General Works
Works listed here cover a range of issues pertaining to JWs. See Part II for works on specific issues.
A.Primary Sources: Watchtower Publications
Insight on the Scriptures. 2 Vols. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988. The Society‘s official Bible encyclopedia (a thorough revision of Aid to Bible Understanding).
Reasoning from the Scriptures. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. A-to-Z reference work of brief answers to various doctrinal questions and challenges to JW beliefs, designed for use in the field when JWs are proselytizing.
What Does the Bible Really Teach? Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2005. The religion‘s current doctrinal primer, which all persons becoming JWs must read and affirm.
Awake! A news and culture magazine published twice a month to reflect to a JW worldview.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. A teaching magazine published twice a month, which all JWs are required to study and discuss in weekly meetings.
3. Web site
Watchtower. http://www.jw.org/. The official web site of the JWs.
B.Secondary Sources: JW
Stafford, Greg. Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics. 3rd ed. Huntington Beach, CA: Elihu Books, 1998, 2000, 2009. Stafford, who was of course a JW when he originally wrote this book, handles theological issues with remarkable proficiency. The third edition ironically reflects the fact that Stafford has since left the JWs (his theology is largely but not entirely the same).
2. Web sites
Jehovah’s Witnesses United. http://jehovah.to/index.htm. Site featuring fairly sophisticated articles by various JW apologists, predominantly Hal Flemings.
C.Secondary Sources: Former JW but Not Evangelical
Stafford, Greg. Three Dissertations on the Teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Murietta, CA: Elihu Books, 2002. Defends core Jehovah‘s Witness doctrines but calls for reform of authoritarian and legalistic tendencies in the organization. Stafford has since dissociated himself from the JWs and is attempting to start his own association.
2. Web sites
Biblical Research and Commentary International (BRCI). http://www.brci.org/. Former JWs, generally non-Trinitarian, associated with Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of JWs.
Jehovah’s Witness Discussion Forum. http://www.jehovahs-witness.net/. Forum populated especially by former JWs, some of whom are evangelical and some not.
D.Secondary Sources: Evangelical
Bergman, Jerry. Jehovah’s Witnesses: A Comprehensive and Selectively Annotated Bibliography. Intro. By Joseph F. Zygmunt. Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies 48. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Zondervan Guide to Cults and Religious Movements. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995. Biblical responses to the group‘s major doctrinal errors.
__________. Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. Studies in Jehovah‘s Witness interpretation of the Bible.
Finnerty, Robert U. Jehovah's Witnesses on Trial: The Testimony of the Early Church Fathers. Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Publishing, 1993. Draws on the ante-Nicene Fathers to show that the earliest post-New Testament Christians held to orthodox views, not JW doctrines.
Lingle, Wilbur. Approaching Jehovah’s Witnesses in Love: How to Witness Effectively without Arguing. Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 2004. Presents questions to ask JWs and various recommendations for sharing the gospel with them.
Reed, David A. Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses Subject by Subject. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996. A-to-Z reference work of brief responses to JW views on a wide variety of topics.
__________. How to Rescue Your Loved Ones from the Watchtower. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989. Helpful manual for persons unfamiliar with the Jehovah‘s Witnesses.
__________. Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990. Helpful reference tool arranged from Genesis to Revelation, by a former JW.
__________. Jehovah’s Witness Literature: A Critical Guide to Watchtower Publications. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993.
2. Web sites
Free Minds: Watchers of the Watchtower World. http://www.freeminds.org/. Started by former JW Randall Watters, who is broadly evangelical (though, on the basis of some confused thinking, he denies biblical inerrancy).
Institute for Religious Research (Rob Bowman). http://www.irr.org/. Various resources on Jehovah‘s Witnesses, notably critiques of JW biblical interpretations.
TowerWatch Ministries (Cal Lehman). http://www.towerwatch.com/. Former JW of 35 years Cal Lehman heads TowerWatch Ministries, an evangelical parachurch ministry focusing on ministry to JWs.
Witnesses for Jesus (Christy Darlington). http://www.4jehovah.org/. User-friendly web site with articles, questions for JWs, and testimonies of former JWs.
E.Secondary Sources: Other
Chryssides, George D. Historical Dictionary of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies and Movements. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008.
2. Web Sites
A Catholic Critique of Jehovah’s Witnesses. http://www.catholic-forum.com/members/popestleo/bibleteachlinks.html. Useful page with numerous links to resources, both Catholic and evangelical, responding to Jehovah‘s Witnesses.
JW Facts (Paul Gundry). http://www.jwfacts.com/. Former JW‘s very informative and well-organized web site; Gundry provides some guidance for ex-JWs as to what options they have, while recommending they consider affiliating with no denomination at all.
As with the general works listed in Part I, no attempt is made here to be exhaustive, either in the topics covered or in the works listed for each topic.
A.History of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Jehovah’s Witnesses: Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1993. The Society‘s own official, self-promoting history of JWs.
Penton, M. James. Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah’s Witnesses. 2d ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997. The best history of JWs, by a Canadian JW formerly lauded within the religion for his historical research.
B.The New World Translation
BeDuhn, Jason David. Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, 169-81. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003. Religion professor specializing in Manichaeanism compares how nine English New Testament translations handle a handful of controversial texts (mostly Christological) and concludes that the NWT is the least religiously biased!
Countess, Robert H. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament. 2nd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1987. Evangelical critique; some good information, but (in my opinion) not entirely accurate.
Furuli, Rolf. The Role of Theology and Bias in Bible Translation: With a Special Look at the New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Huntington Beach, CA: Elihu Books, 1999. Furuli is a Norwegian Hebrew scholar and a Jehovah‘s Witness. See my review on Amazon.com.
The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1985. Presents a reliable text of the Greek New Testament and the Society‘s own interlinear rendering underneath, alongside the NWT. Extremely useful for showing JWs mistranslations in the NWT.
The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1950. Abbreviated NWT (or NW). The first edition of the New Testament portion of the JWs‘ Bible, of interest to those researching the NWT.
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: With References. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1984. Official Bible translation of the religion. The text of the NWT is available online, https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books.
C.The Divine Name (YHWH/Jehovah)
BeDuhn, Jason David. "Appendix: The Use of 'Jehovah' in the NW." In Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament, 169-81. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003. Argues that the JWs are wrong to use "Jehovah" in the NT, while other translations are wrong to use the surrogate "LORD" in the OT.
Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Understanding Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why They Read the Bible the Way They Do, 109-22. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992. The concluding chapter responds to the standard JW arguments defending the use of "Jehovah" in the NT.
Countess, Robert H. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New Testament. 2nd ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1987. Includes an extensive critique of the NWT use of "Jehovah" in the NT.
The Divine Name that Will Endure Forever. Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1984. Defends the religion‘s signature claim that Christians should be known for their constant use of the name Jehovah. Online, http://www.jw.org
Gieschen, Charles A. "The Divine Name in Ante-Nicene Christology." Vigiliae Christianae 57 (2003): 115-58. Provocative, sometimes over-reaching review of the roots of the NT‘s "divine name Christology" in Jewish thought, its development in the NT, and its continuing effect on Christology in the second century. Probably tough going for those with limited background.
Howard, George. "The Tetragram and the New Testament." JBL 96 (1977): 63-83. Notorious article by a non-JW scholar arguing that the NT may have originally contained the name YHWH.
Kooten, Geurt Hendrick van, ed. The Revelation of the Name YHWH to Moses: Perspectives from Judaism, the Pagan Graeco-Roman World, and Early Christianity. Leiden: Brill, 2006. Collection of academic articles centered around the theme of the name YHWH.
Lundquist, Lynn. The Tetragrammaton and the Christian Greek Scriptures. 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Word Resources, 1998. Non-academic, thorough study critiquing the NWT use of "Jehovah" in the NT. Lundquist also thinks other English versions are wrong not to use the name in the OT.
McDonough, Sean M. YHWH at Patmos: Rev. 1:4 in its Hellenistic and Early Jewish Setting. WUNT 2.107. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999. Important monograph that shows the relevance of the divine name YHWH and the use of surrogates beyond the obvious, and discusses the factors that led to the use of surrogates. Includes criticisms of Howard‘s view (60-61, 97-98).
Pietersma, Albert. "Kyrios or Tetragram: A Renewed Quest for the Original Septuagint." In De Septuaginta: Studies in Honour of John William Wevers on His 65th Birthday, ed. Albert Pietersma and Claude E. Cox, 85-101. Mississauga, ON: Benben Publications, 1984. Essay arguing that the few early fragments of the Septuagint containing the tetragrammaton (YHWH) are inconclusive for establishing that the Septuagint originally or usually contained the name.
Skehan, Patrick W. "The Divine Name at Qumran in the Masada Scroll and in the Septuagint." Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies 13 (1980): 14-44. Provides documentation from the Dead Sea Scrolls showing that the practice of avoiding speaking the name Yahweh aloud dated back to at least the second century BC, and there are reasons to think it originated even earlier.
Stafford, Greg. Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended: An Answer to Scholars and Critics, 1-126. 3rd ed. Murietta, CA: Elihu Books, 2009. Exhausting defense of the NWT use of "Jehovah"; about half of this long chapter defends the form Jehovah over the form Yahweh.
Trobisch, David. The First Edition of the New Testament. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. A recent scholar who follows Howard‘s theory (see pp. 66-67).
Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity: An Answer to Jehovah’s Witnesses. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989. Point-by-point response to the Watchtower booklet, Should You Believe in the Trinity? (1989). Out of print.
Bray, Gerald H. Creeds, Councils and Christ: The Continuity between Scripture & Orthodoxy in the First Five Centuries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1984. Lucid, informative book showing that the orthodox creeds were a responsible theological development in line with the teaching of Scripture.
Erickson, Millard J. Making Sense of the Trinity: 3 Crucial Questions. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. One of the best introductions to the doctrine for those with little or no background.
Letham, Robert. The Holy Trinity: In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2004. Excellent introductory textbook.
Should You Believe in the Trinity? Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1989. JW pamphlet critiquing the doctrine of the Trinity as a pagan corruption of Christianity. Available online, https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/g201308/trinity.
White, James R. The Forgotten Trinity: Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998. Popular apologetic treatment of the Trinity; includes some endnotes responding to Greg Stafford on various points.
E.Deity of Christ
Bauckham, Richard. Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008. Major defense of the deity of Christ. Includes material from his earlier short book God Crucified (1998).
Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989. The exegetical and translational issues pertaining to the NWT handling of John 1:1 and John 8:58, explained for those with no background in Greek.
Bowman, Robert M., Jr., and J. Ed Komoszewski. Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2007. Wide-ranging study of NT Christology arguing that Jesus shares God‘s honors, attributes, names, deeds, and seat (or throne); interacts frequently with JW arguments, including those of Greg Stafford. See the endnotes in this book for extensive additional resources on the deity of Christ, including numerous secondary sources pertaining to specific biblical passages of importance. See http://www.deityofchrist.com.
Fee, Gordon D. Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007. Massive study showing that Paul thought of Jesus as deity—though denying that Paul calls Jesus "God" in either Romans 9:5 or Titus 2:13.
Harris, Murray J. Jesus as God: The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992. Standard textbook on NT texts that (may) refer to Jesus as God.
Boa, Kenneth D., and Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell, 63-79. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Succinct defense of the resurrection of the physical body.
Craig, William Lane. Assessing the New Testament Evidence for the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus, Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity, Vol. 16. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989. Although focusing on the historicity of the Resurrection, has much of relevance on the nature of the resurrection body.
Cullmann, Oscar. Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection from the Dead? The Witness of the New Testament. London: Epworth, 1958. This older, short book, available online at www.religion-online.org/showbook.asp?title=1115, explains why resurrection is central to the biblical view of the afterlife. Note that JWs cite this book out of context in their polemic against an intermediate state (which Cullmann affirmed).
Elliott, John H. 1 Peter: A New Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible 37B. New York: Doubleday, 2000. This commentary is especially recommended for its handling of 1 Peter 3:18, a popular JW proof text for a nonphysical resurrection of Christ.
Thiselton, Anthony C. The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000. Massive commentary, arguing forcefully and cogently that Paul understood the resurrection as immortal life for the physical body.
Wright, N. T. The Resurrection of the Son of God. Christian Origins and the Question of God 3. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2003. Tour de force defense of the physical resurrection against liberal reinterpretation; Wright at his best.
Beale, G. K. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998. In my opinion, the best commentary on Revelation.
Boa, Kenneth D., and Bowman, Robert M., Jr. Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007. Biblical defense of the orthodox positions on the intermediate state, eternal punishment, and the new heavens and new earth, especially relevant to answering JWs.
Cooper, John W. Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism-Dualism Debate. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989. Advanced study of the issue of the body-soul issue, which also discusses the soul‘s existence after death.
Fudge, Edward William, and Robert A. Peterson. Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialogue. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000. Articulate defenders of annihilationism and the traditional view of Hell square off.
Hoekema, Anthony A. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979. Excellent textbook on eschatology (the study of last things), with especially good and relevant chapters on immortality, the intermediate state, resurrection, the final judgment, eternal punishment, and the new earth.
Johnston, Philip S. Shades of Sheol: Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002. Of special relevance to the doctrine of the intermediate state.
Morgan, Christopher W., and Robert A. Peterson, eds. Hell under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004. Collection of essays, several of them excellent.
H.Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Prophetic Chronology
France, R. T. The Gospel of Matthew. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007. In my opinion, France presents the best interpretation of the Olivet Discourse, on which the JWs base much of their speculations about the ―end times‖ (and the speculations of so many others). Not all evangelicals will agree.
Gruss, Edmund C. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Their Claims, Doctrinal Changes, and Prophetic Speculation. What Does the Record Show? Longwood, FL: Xulon Press, 2001. Lengthy, quote-filled book documenting the Watchtower‘s history of failed predictions and mishandling of biblical prophecy and chronology.
Jonsson, Carl Olof. The Gentile Times Reconsidered: Chronology and Christ’s Return. 4th rev. ed. Atlanta: Commentary Press, 2004. This book began as a compilation of notes written up by a faithful JW elder who approached the Watchtower with his research and asked them to show him where he had misunderstood the evidence. The Watchtower had no answer. Jonsson demonstrated that the entire edifice of Watchtower prophetic chronology rested on faulty chronological data as well as faulty understanding of biblical teaching.
Jonsson, Carl Olof, and Wolfgang Herbst. The Sign of the Last Days—When? Atlanta: Commentary Press, 1987. Actually a follow-up to the first edition of The Gentile Times Reconsidered, this book presents a vigorous challenge not only to the JW view that the ―last days‖ began in 1914, but to any futurist eschatology.
I. Testimonies of Former JWs
Note: These testimonies are from former JWs who did not become evangelical or orthodox Christians.
Castro, Joy. The Truth Book: Escaping a Childhood of Abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses. New York: Arcade Publishing, 2005. Castro‘s testimony is by no means an isolated case. See http://www.joycastro.com/.
Franz, Raymond. Crisis of Conscience. 4th ed. Atlanta: Commentary Press, 2002. Classic testimony of a former member of the Governing Body who was disfellowshipped.
Wilson, Diane. Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.