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.
The full, legal name of the publisher of official JW publications is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc. Its main offices for a century were in Brooklyn, New York. Since about 2010 its main location has been in Wallkill, New York. Evidently in the near future its offices will be located in a new facility in Warwick, New York. The copyright for official JW publications is held by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, which has had the same cities as its main locations. For the sake of simplicity, in bibliographical citations I will refer to the publisher simply as Watchtower.
Suggestions and corrections in keeping with the purpose of this bibliography are welcome.
I. General Works
Works listed here cover a range of JW-related issues. See Part II for works on specific issues.
A. Primary Sources: Current Watchtower Publications
1. Current Books
Insight on the Scriptures. 2 Vols. Watchtower, 1988, 2015, 2018. The Society’s official Bible encyclopedia (a thorough revision of Aid to Bible Understanding ).
Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will. Watchtower, 2005, 2015, 2019. The manual on working within the religious organization.
Reasoning from the Scriptures. Watchtower, 1985, 1989. 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.
“Shepherd the Flock of God” 1 Peter 5:2. Watchtower, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019. Secret manual for use by JW elders, focusing mostly on matters pertaining to disfellowshipping and other judicial matters. Accessible at https://avoidjw.org/en/publications/manuals/elders/.
The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life. Watchtower, 1968, rev. 1981. For almost 40 years this was the JWs’ doctrinal primer. The Watchtower printed well over 100 million copies, enough to make it into the Guinness Book of Records.
What Does the Bible Really Teach? Watchtower, 2005, rev. 2014. The religion’s most recent doctrinal primer, which all persons becoming JWs must read and affirm. The book is available online at https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/publication/r1/lp-e/bh.
Awake! A news and culture magazine inculcating a JW worldview. Online, https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/library/r1/lp-e/all-publications/awake (1970–2019).
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. A teaching magazine, which all JWs are required to study and discuss in meetings. Online, https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/library/r1/lp-e/all-publications/watchtower (1950–present).
3. Web sites
Jehovah’s Witnesses. https://www.jw.org/en/. The official web site of the JWs (formerly watchtower.org).
Watchtower Online Library. https://wol.jw.org/en/. Searchable site that includes the NWT (1984 and 2013 editions), the KIT, the KJV, ASV, and Steven Byington’s The Bible in Living English, and Watchtower literature from 1950 to the present.
B. Primary Sources: JW and Similar Groups
1. Charles Taze Russell
Russell, Charles Taze. Millennial Dawn. 6 vols. Allegheny, PA: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, 1886–1904. Revised as Studies in the Scriptures. 6 vols. Brooklyn: International Bible Students Association, 1904–1911. For a fairly complete list of the various editions of the volumes in this series from 1886 through 1916, see my bibliography, “Editions of Charles Taze Russell’s Millennial Dawn and Studies in the Scriptures.”
CT Russell Database. https://www.ctrussell.us/ctrussell.html. Searchable text that can be copied and pasted; includes Studies in the Scriptures, Zion’s Watch Tower 1879–1916, and other publications. Note that this database uses a later edition of the text that reflects changes made after the failure of Russell’s predictions for 1914.
The Online Books Page: C. T. Russell. https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/search?author=taze&amode=words.
2. Greg Stafford
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 reflected the fact that Stafford had since left the JWs (his theology remained largely but not entirely the same).
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.
3. Web sites
Bible Student Archives. https://www.biblestudentarchives.com/. Wealth of resources in the tradition of Charles Taze Russell, with major categories including chronology, Israel, prophecy, pyramid, temple, etc. Includes a page of links to other relevant 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: Christian
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, NJ: P&R, 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, 2010. 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.
Rhodes, Ron. Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Updated and expanded ed. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2009. For some time, this has been the most popular Christian book about JWs.
2. Web sites
Centers for Apologetics Research. https://thecenters.org/. Organization with affiliate and partner ministries in Brazil, East Africa, Hungary, the Philippines, Romania, and Russia, all of which keep track on JWs and other religious movements in their regions.
How to Answer Jehovah’s Witnesses (David A. Reed). http://www.answerjw.com/. Former JW’s resources, such as an “online dictionary of J.W.ese” and the full text of his 2010 book How to Rescue Your Loved Ones from the Watchtower. Reed’s own views on the end times (see especially his “Prophecy Time Line”) are controversial.
Institute for Religious Research (Rob Bowman). http://www.irr.org/. Various resources on Jehovah’s Witnesses, notably critiques of JW biblical interpretations.
John Ankerberg Show: Jehovah’s Witnesses. https://www.jashow.org/articles/category/false-teaching/jehovahs-witnesses/. Nearly 50 resources on JWs, including transcripts from the TV show, featuring such former JWs as Bill and Joan Cetnar, Lorri MacGregor, Robert Countess, and Helen Ortega.
JW Files. http://www.jwfiles.com/. Documented information on Watchtower false predictions, teachings, changes, occult connections, JW news, links to other sites, etc. Material all seems to be published anonymously, but appears to be evangelical.
MM Outreach (Keith and Lorri MacGregor; now Richard and Cheryl Schatz). http://www.mmoutreachinc.com/. Originally MacGregor Ministries; founded in 1979 four years after Lorri MacGregor left the JWs and became an evangelical. The website addresses numerous topics arranged alphabetically (Armageddon, Blood, Christmas, etc.).
TowerWatch Ministries(Cal Lehman). http://www.towerwatch.com/. Former JW of 35 years Cal Lehman heads TowerWatch Ministries, an evangelical parachurch ministry to JWs.
Watchman Fellowship: Jehovah’s Witnesses. https://www.watchman.org/articles/jehovahs-witnesses/. Over 20 articles on JWs.
Witnesses for Jesus(Christy Darlington). https://www.4witness.org/. User-friendly web site with articles, questions for JWs, and testimonies of former JWs.
Witnesses Now for Jesus. https://wnfj.org/. Holds three annual conferences for former JWs (West Coast, Midwest, and East Coast).
D. 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
Avoid Jehovah’s Witnesses. https://avoidjw.org/. Includes secret Watchtower publications such as Shepherd the Flock of God, the most current Watchtower Library CD (2016), a very large library of Watchtower books in PDF format, links to other websites about JWs including sites in other languages (German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and Hungarian, including apologia.hu), news stories, and more.
Herzog, Mark, et. al., exec. prod. The Witnesses. Oxygen Channel, 2020. https://www.oxygen.com/the-witnesses/the-witnesses-investigative-documentary-jehovahs-witnesses-oxygen. Documentary focusing on the work of Trey Bundy of the Center for Investigative Reporting concerning the systematic cover-up by the Watchtower of sexual abuse among JWs.
Jehovah’s Witness Discussion Forum. http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/. Forum populated especially by former JWs, some of whom are evangelical and some not.
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. Includes many well-done articles on the Watchtower’s date-setting and other errors.
JW Studies (Doug Mason). https://jwstudies.com/index.html. Former JW who seems to have gone though an evolution from ex-JW Christian to radically liberal Christian (à la John Shelby Spong). Includes useful information rightly critical of Watchtower interpretations but also tendentious liberal criticisms of the Bible.
JWsurvey. https://jwsurvey.org/. Site by Lloyd Evans (aka “Cedars”), a former JW turned atheist and the author of The Reluctant Apostate (JLE Publishing, 2017).
Pew Forum Religious Landscape Study: Jehovah’s Witnesses (2014). https://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/religious-tradition/jehovahs-witness/. Survey with such notable findings as that 35% of US JWs are men, 36% are White, 37% have education beyond high school, and 52% have annual incomes over $30,000; these figures are the lowest for any major religious group except in some categories the historically Black Protestant denominations. Cf. Michael Lipka, “A Closer Look at Jehovah’s Witnesses” (April 26, 2016), https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/26/a-closer-look-at-jehovahs-witnesses-living-in-the-u-s/.
Silent Lambs. http://www.silentlambs.org/. This organization was at the forefront in exposing the problem of sexual abuse being covered up in the JW religion. See also their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Silentlambs, which seems to be more current.
Watchtower Documents. http://watchtowerdocuments.org/. Site by Barbara Anderson, a JW from 1954 to 1997 who discovered while working in the Writing Department that the Society was covering up child molestation.
Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses. Wikipedia, frequently updated. This is a rather impressive article for Wikipedia, with over 400 footnotes, many of them to primary JW sources. Includes links to several other relevant Wikipedia pages (History of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bible Student movement, Development of Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Organizational structure of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah’s Witnesses beliefs, Jehovah’s Witnesses and salvation, Eschatology of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jehovah’s Witnesses practices, and many more).
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. The references here generally do not include resources from the more general works listed in Part I.
A. History of Jehovah’s Witnesses
Besier, Gerhard, and Katarzyna Stoklosa, eds. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Europe: Past and Present. 2 vols. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016.
Chryssides, George D. Jehovah’s Witnesses: Continuity and Change. Ashgate New Religions. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2016. History of the movement that seeks to avoid either criticizing or defending its teachings.
Knox, Zoe. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Secular World: From the 1870s to the Present. New York: Springer, 2018.
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. 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. Previous editions in 1985 and 1997. The best history of JWs, by a Canadian JW formerly lauded within the religion for his historical research.
Reed, David A. “‘Proclaimers’ Answered Page by Page.” Assonet, MA: Comments from the Friends, 1994. Online at http://www.answerjw.com/cftf/booklets/proclaimers/index.html. A point-by-point critical response to the 1993 Watchtower Proclaimers book.
B. The New World Translation
Andrews, Edward D. Reviewing 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Examining the History of the Watchtower Translation and the Latest Revision. Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018.
AvoidJW.org. “Bibles of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” https://avoidjw.org/bibles/. PDFs of (apparently) every edition of the Bible published by the Watchtower (over 30 volumes), plus their two Bible encyclopedias.
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!
Byatt, Anthony, and Hal Flemings, eds. “Your Word Is Truth”: Essays in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1950, 1953). Malvern, UK: Golden Age Books, 2004. Essays by JWs (Byatt, Flemings, David Jakubovic, Nelson Herle Jr., Edgar Foster, Rolf Furuli, and Pal-Espen Torisen and Dan-Ake Mattson) defending the NWT. I am the main Christian critic of the NWT mentioned.
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.
Countess, Robert H. “The Translation of QEOS in the New World Translation.” Bulletin of the ETS 10.3 (Summer 1967): 153–60.
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.
Howe, Thomas A. The Deity of Christ in Modern Translations: A Response to the Claims of Jason BeDuhn and a Defense of the Biblical Testimony that Jesus is God. CreateSpace, 2015.
“In Defense of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.” https://onlytruegod.org/defense/pageindex.htm. Anonymous web articles defending the NWT against Christian critics including me.
The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures. Watchtower, 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. Watchtower, 1950. 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. Watchtower, 1984. Official Bible translation of the religion. Abbreviated NWT (or NW). The text of the NWT is available online.
Spencer, Lesriv. “Does the New World Translation Committee Know Greek?” Scribd.com, Feb. 2011, updated Nov. 2017. https://www.scribd.com/document/48234022/Did-the-New-World-Translation-Committee-know-Greek. Briefly attempts to counter my work.
Wikipedia. “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.” Wikipedia, frequently updated. Surprisingly well-done article on the NWT.
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. Watchtower, 1984. Defends the religion’s signature claim that Christians should be known for their constant use of the name Jehovah. Online.
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.
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 (a viewpoint I do not share).
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.
Shaw, Frank E. The Earliest Non-Mystical Jewish Use of Iaw, Contributions to Biblical Exegesis & Theology 70. Leuven: Peeters, 2014. Originally a Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Cincinnati (2002). The most sophisticated defense of the Watchtower’s position, produced ironically by a former Jehovah’s Witness.
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).
Wilkinson, Robert J. Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 179. Leiden: Brill, 2015. The best overall treatment of the subject of the divine name YHWH, covering the Old and New Testaments and Christian history after the Bible.
D. The Trinity
A list of 40 books on the subject is given in my “Trinity: A Too Short Bibliography.” For a much lengthier list, see my “Trinity: A Research Bibliography.”
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? Watchtower, 1989. JW pamphlet critiquing the doctrine of the Trinity as a pagan corruption of Christianity. Available online.
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.
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.
Metzger, Bruce M. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ.” Theology Today 10.1 (April 1953): 65–85. Popular article by a renowned scholar of the Greek NT.
Ramos, José Carlos. “A People Waiting for Salvation: A Biblical Evaluation of Watchtower Christology and Soteriology with Suggested Strategies for the Evangelization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” D.Min. thesis, Andrews University—Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, 1984. Interesting study by an SDA under the direction of Nancy Vyhmeister, with Gerhard F. Hasel (the dean of the seminary) also on the committee.
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 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
https://ad1914.com/. Very useful website focusing on the Watchtower’s chronological changes and errors.
Bregninge, Poul. Judgment Day Must Wait: Jehovah’s Witnesses—A Sect between Idealism and Deceit. New York: YBK Publishers, 2013. Weaves the history of the JW religion with analysis of its failed chronological speculations.
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.
Jonsson, Carl Olof, et. al. “Christian Freedom” (website, with articles in English, Swedish, Spanish, Greek, and Czech). http://kristenfrihet.se/english/epage.htm. Informative, well-researched articles and papers supplementing Jonsson’s two books, including detailed rebuttals to attempts by JWs to defend their prophetic chronology.
I. Blood Transfusions and Related Matters
Advocates for Jehovah’s Witness Reform on Blood. http://ajwrb.org/. Name tells all.
Elder, Lee. “Why Some Jehovah’s Witnesses Accept Blood and Conscientiously Reject Official Watchtower Society Blood Policy.” Journal of Medical Ethics 26.5 (2000): 375–80. Spokesman for AJWRB explains its position in an academic medical periodical. Includes references to earlier articles by Watchtower spokesmen. Available free online: https://jme.bmj.com/content/26/5/375.
Williams, Joel Stephen. “Ethical Issues in Compulsory Medical Treatment: A Study of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Blood Transfusion.” Ph.D. diss., Baylor University, 1987. Argues, in effect, that the state has a legitimate interest in intervening with regard to medical care for children but much less so for adults. Currently online at http://www.afn.org/~afn52344/dissertation1.html (see also ...dissertation2.html through …dissertation5.html).
J. 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/.
Evans, Lloyd. The Reluctant Apostate: Leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses Comes at a Price. Foreword by Hemant Mehta, Editor of FriendlyAtheist.com. JLE Publishing, 2017. Currently the best-selling book about JWs on Amazon, indicative and reflective of the secular and skeptical direction many if not most former JWs are going.
Franz, Raymond. Crisis of Conscience. 4th ed, Atlanta: Commentary Press, 2002; 5th ed., NuLife Press, 2018. Classic testimony of a former member of the Governing Body who was disfellowshipped.
Scorah, Amber. Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life. New York: Viking, 2019. Another JW-to-secularist conversion story; enthusiastically recommended in O: The Oprah Magazine and in the New York Times.
Wilson, Diane. Awakening of a Jehovah’s Witness: Escape from the Watchtower Society. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.
Zieman, Bonnie. Exiting the JW Cult: A Healing Handbook for Current and Former Jehovah’s Witnesses. CreateSpace, 2015. Former JW and now psychotherapist offers counsel for persons who are leaving or who have left the JW religion.