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APA Referencing

Main elements

Religious and classical works are cited differently from most other forms of material. These items are often thousands of years old, have been published multiple times and in many languages, and are well known throughout the world. Therefore, you only need to cite these items within the text of your essay (not in the reference list), unless you are using a translated copy.

Translations are common with classical Greek or Roman texts, and you will usually be able to find translation details on the title page or cover. Because translations can vary, you should include the information for the specific item you are using in your reference list.

Religious and classical works

Items such as the Bible do not require an author, but you need to specify which version you are using in brackets the first time you refer to the Bible in text. Always use the chapter and verse, rather than page numbers.



The Bible (King James Version) is the record of...

Bible - direct quote


"And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:5 King James Version).

Bible - paraphrase


Even those who do not study the Bible are likely to know John 3:16, wherein God sacrifices His Son to save the world from itself.

Qur'an - direct quote


"Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury" (Qur'an 2:263).

Qur'an - paraphrase


The Qur'an 2:263 promotes the value of compassion over retaliation.

In your reference list, place the translator's name in brackets after the title, along with the abbreviation Trans. Use the date of the translated work for publication year and add the date of the original work in brackets at the end of the reference. Use both dates (original date/translated date) in the in-text citation.

Modern edition of translated classic


(Aristotle, 350 B.C./1926) OR Aristotle (350 B.C./1926)

Reference list

Aristotle. (1926). Nicomachean ethics (H. Rackham, Trans.). doi:10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926. (Original work published ca. 350 B.C.)

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