Guidelines for Submissions
Research papers should regard the study of the ancient world (with special emphasis on Classical subjects, ancient Near Eastern subjects, and biblical scholarship).
Book reviews should treat a scholarly publication (published in the last five years) that relates to the study of the ancient world.
- Research papers should be 10–20 pages double-spaced (excluding cover page and bibliography).
- Abstracts should be 80–150 words.
- Book reviews should be 1–4 pages double-spaced.
- 12 pt. font (Times New Roman), double spaced, 1-inch margins
- For foreign language characters (Greek and Hebrew), please use Unicode fonts. Free Greek and Hebrew Unicode fonts can be downloaded from the SBL website.
- Use footnotes employing Arabic numerals (e.g. 1, 2, 3, . . .)
- For research papers, include a separate bibliography at the end.
Style and Citations
Submissions must follow The SBL Handbook of Style: For Biblical Studies and Related Disciplines, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2014). If the SBL Handbook is lacking in direction or clarity, authors should consult The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017).
Because conformity to style and citation standards is such an important and oft-forgotten issue, authors are encouraged to refer to The SBL Handbook of Style, 6.1–6.4 (“Notes and Bibliographies”) throughout their writing and editing process. They should also look over section 2.1 (“Responsibilities of an Author: Before Submitting a Book Manuscript”) as they prepare their papers for submission.
Papers that adhere to SBL style and citation standards will be given priority in the review and editing processes; papers that fail to abide by these standards may not be considered for publication. Papers replete with errors in grammar, punctuation, or usage will be rejected.
Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else’s ideas or words. Plagiarized papers will be rejected. If you use the words of someone else, they must be enclosed in quotation marks and properly cited. If you use the ideas of someone else, you must still give credit in the text and provide a citation in a footnote. To avoid plagiarism, it is not sufficient simply to substitute a few synonyms in the original; that still amounts to theft of the author’s argument and ideas.
A good research paper should have the following elements:
- The introduction should begin with a clear and succinct statement of the problem or issue to be addressed. This statement will not come easily and requires a good deal of thought, but the clearer you are able to state the issue, the easier it will be to determine the appropriate method for addressing the issue, and the clearer your paper will be.
- The introduction should also briefly outline the primary sources (texts, archeology, or iconography) relevant to the issue.
- Literature review: The paper should provide a succinct account of the scholarly positions that have, up to now, been taken on the problem (also known as the status quaestionis, or “state of the question”). You can organize this historically or chronologically (i.e., by tracing the history of the debate), or you can proceed analytically, breaking the problem down into its components and aligning scholarly opinion on this template.
- A discussion of relevant background issues (e.g., legal issues, literary antecedents, matters of historicity and authorship, etc.) relating to the primary sources.
- An analysis of the primary sources identified in #2 in light of the history of scholarship (#3) and the relevant background issues (#4). This analysis should be the bulk of the paper.
- A conclusion indicating which interpretive option seems to be the most cogent (and why). The conclusion can also discuss implications for the larger area of study or suggest further avenues of research.
- A bibliography listing the sources used in the paper. It is imperative that your citations be complete, consistent, and accurate.
A good book review should have the following elements:
- A brief summary of the book’s thesis, methodology, and conclusions.
- An analysis of the book’s strengths and weaknesses.
- An evaluation of the book’s quality, especially regarding its contribution to the current scholarly conversation.