How do I cite scriptural writings? And when do I use italics in referring to them?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Create a works-cited-list entry for scriptural writings as you would for any other source: follow the MLA format template. In general, begin with the title. The title should be italicized because you are referring to a published edition. (The published title might be, for example, The New Jerusalem Bible, or simply The Bible.) If the source indicates that there is an editor or translator, list this information as an “other” contributor (see pp. 37–38 of the MLA Handbook for a definition of this element). Then provide the publisher and the date of publication.
The New Jerusalem Bible. General editor, Henry Wansbrough, Doubleday, 1985.
If the source carries a notation indicating that it is a version of a work released in more than one form, identify the version in your entry.
The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.
In the body of your text, general references to scriptural works like the Bible, Talmud, and Koran should not be italicized unless you refer to a specific published edition.
The first part of the Christian Bible is known as the Old Testament.
The 1985 New Jerusalem Bible contains maps and a theological glossary.