Guidelines for WTJ...
Editorial Aims and
Article Submission...
Book Review Guidelines
Footnote Style

Article Submission Guidelines

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The Westminster Theological Journal welcomes contributions on biblical, theological, and historical subjects. Contributors should attend to the guidelines given below.

Please note (N.B.): The editors do not give advice on how to write an article. It is assumed that authors submitting manuscripts to the Journal will have some expertise in the field and be familiar with academic writing.  

General Information

1.  A manuscript should be submitted in what the author intends as its final form, and should conform to the guidelines given below.  If a manuscript departs from these instructions in major ways, it may be returned to the author for corrections before it is considered for publication.

2.  The manuscript should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word 2003/2007/2008/2010 format (i.e. doc and docx). 

Submissions are to be sent to:
Randall J. Pederson, Managing Editor
The Westminster Theological Journal
Phone: 215-887-5511
Address:  P.O. Box 27009, Philadelphia, PA  19118

3.  A statement certifying that the article is not being submitted simultaneously to another journal should accompany the manuscript. Articles that have appeared or are to appear elsewhere, whether in English or in another language, should not be submitted.

4.  Except for the specific instructions given below, the directives of the most recent editions of The Chicago Manual of Style and The SBL Handbook of Style  are to be followed. The American style of spelling is to be used, and the preferred authorities on spelling are Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.; Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1993) and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1967). When there is more than one way of spelling a word, the first one listed in these authorities should be used.

5.  Authors of articles selected for publication will receive first page proofs, which they are expected to read carefully, check against the original manuscript, correct, and return promptly. The editors will accept no changes at this stage other than clear errors that might appear in the page proofs over against the original manuscript.

Form of the Manuscript

1. Manuscripts should normally be between 8,000-12,000 words, including footnotes, in the fields of Reformed theology, history, or exegesis. Shorter manuscripts are also welcomed when the topic warrants it, and longer manuscripts may be considered where the importance of a full dicussion requires it. We do not publish devotional essays, or non-scholarly literature.

2. The manuscript file should contain the name of the article and the author's name; however, the author's contact information should not appear within the manuscript file itself.  In a separate document, either by email or a printed document, the author should include the following:  name, date of submission, title of article, mailing address, email address, phone number, and statement certifying that the article is not being submitted simultaneously to another journal.

3. All lines are to be double-spaced, including those of footnotes and indented quotations. There should be no single-spacing or one-and-a-half spacing. Text should always be ragged right, never justified.  Margins of at least 1.25 inches are to be left on all sides of the document. Font is to be Times New Roman, font size 12.

4. Special material (e.g., complex lists, tables, charts, diagrams) should be produced in documents separate from the main article; however, the location of such material in the main text should be indicated clearly (e.g., “insert here chart 1”). Charts and tabular material of a particularly complex nature may be submitted in JPEG (.jpg) or PDF (.pdf) format.

Biblical Fonts

1.  Ordinarily, Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Coptic—whether a block of material is quoted or just a word or phrase—should not be transliterated, but given in the proper characters. The unpointed consonantal text of Hebrew or Aramaic is to be used. If the argument calls for the vocalized form of the words, this can also be set; but it is often an unnecessary luxury—which the editor may decide to change. Other Masoretic marks should also be avoided.

2.  Whether or not one transliterates, an English translation should normally accompany at least the first occurrence of any Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Coptic word. In cases where transliteration seems appropriate, the systems specified in The SBL Handbook of Style, §§5.1-9; pp. 25-31, should be used.

3.  Only the SBL Biblical Fonts (SBL Greek Font and SBL Hebrew Font) are to be used (Nota bene: We no longer use the older, outdated SP Legacy fonts). Manuscripts must be submitted with these newer fonts for them to be considered, so please revise your manuscripts accordingly. You can find the SBL fonts at:


Stylistic Guidelines


1.  Quotations of five or more lines in any language will be printed as a separate, indented paragraph without opening and closing quotation marks. Such quotations should be double-spaced, typed in the same font as the body of the article (i.e., Times New Roman, font size 12), and indented in the manuscript.

2.  Respect for accuracy in verbatim quotations requires that the spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviations of the original be reproduced exactly, even if they differ from the style of this journal. Should a quotation contain an error, this may be indicated by [sic] or [?], at the author’s discretion. Note that the editor may change initial capitalization or final punctuation according to the quote’s syntactical relationship to the surrounding text (see CMS, §§11.16-18 and 11.57).

Footnote Style

1.  Footnotes should be numbered consecutively using arabic numerals, double-spaced, and gathered together at the bottom of the page or at the end of the article.  (Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page in the Journal itself.)  No period is to be placed after the number at the beginning of the footnote.

2.  A raised arabic numeral (without punctuation or parentheses) should follow the appropriate word in the text (and its punctuation, if any) to call attention to the note. Footnotes should not accompany titles or subtitles, and, insofar as possible, footnotes should occur at the end of the sentence.

3.  Multiple footnotes within one sentence should be avoided. For example, when several names occur in one sentence and a bibliographical reference is to be given for each, only one footnote should be used (not a separate footnote for each name). This should be placed at the end of the sentence and should include the pertinent reference for each name.

4. Ibid. (set in roman) is used to refer to a single work cited in the immediately preceding note. If the preceding note contains more than one citation, ibid. cannot be used; a short title plus page reference is employed instead. If ibid. is to refer to the preceding citation exactly, including page number(s), ibid. appears alone. If the page number(s) differs, ibid. plus page reference is used. Examples:

Murray, Principles of Conduct, 100-103.
Ibid., 104-5.

5. The use of idem is discouraged. Instead, when several works by the same author are cited within the same note, the author’s last name is repeated. Example:

See Thomas Hooker, The Soules Ingrafting into Christ (London, 1637), 2; Hooker, The Soules Humiliation (London, 1638), 21-22, 45; Hooker, The Soules Preparation for Christ: Or, a Treatise of Contrition (London, 1632), 90.

Or the note could be handled this way:

See the following works by Thomas Hooker: The Soules Ingrafting into Christ (London, 1637), 2; The Soules Humiliation (London, 1638), 21-22, 45; The Soules Preparation for Christ: Or, a Treatise of Contrition (London, 1632), 90.

6.  When a footnote comments on an issue and includes a bibliographical reference within a sentence, the reference should be set entirely within parentheses, not commas, and if possible at the end of the sentence. Example:

But Charles C. Torrey thinks that the name “Cyrus” has been interpolated in Isa 45:1 (“The Messiah Son of Ephraim,” JBL 66 [1947]: 253).

7.  The following are general footnote formatting guidelines (see The SBL Handbook of Style, §§7.1, 7.2, 7.3 for complete guidelines):

• “As a general rule the sequence of publishing information (that given inside parentheses in a note) is as follows: editor; translator; number of volumes; edition; series; city; publisher; date. Colons precede page numbers in journal articles, and colons separate volume and page numbers” (SBL Handbook, §7.1.1; p. 40).
• “Whenever possible, the author’s or editor’s first name (not just an initial) should be provided. A space should always be left between initials” (SBL Handbook, §7.1.2; p. 40).
• “Avoid using f. and ff. for ‘following’ pages; give actual page ranges” (SBL Handbook, §7.1.5; p. 46).
• For abbreviations, including state abbreviations for bibliographic citations (e.g., “Pa.”, “N.J.”, and “N.Dak.” not “PA”, “NJ”, and “ND”), see ch. 8 of SBL Handbook, pp. 68-152.
• “All occurrences of biblical books in parentheses and footnotes should be abbreviated” (SBL Handbook, §8.2; pp. 71-72).

8.  Sample footnote styles are available on the Footnote Style sheet.

Citations of Ancient Texts and Abbreviations of Ancient Texts

See The SBL Handbook of Style, §§8.1, 8.2, 8.3.

Abbreviations of Commonly Used Periodicals, Reference Works, and Serials

See The SBL Handbook of Style, §8.4.1-2; pp. 89-152. Titles not found in this list are to be written out in full, except WTJ.

Other Stylistic Notes

1.  In articles or critical notes discussing biblical verses, the author should provide the reader with the text of the verse (at least in an English translation) at the beginning of the discussion.

2.  Overcapitalization is to be avoided (e.g., biblical, temple). See The SBL Handbook of Style, Appendix A (pp. 153-64) as well as §§4.4.5 (pp. 19-20) and 4.4.7 (pp. 20-21).

3.  Abbreviations such as e.g., i.e., viz., and etc. (all set in roman) are welcome in footnotes, but in the body of the text are to be used within parenthesis marks only. In the body of the text, e.g. should be spelled out as “for example” or “for instance”; i.e., as “that is”; viz., as “namely” or “that is to say.” Etc. can be spelled out as “and so forth” or “and the like.” However, it is often better to avoid the use of etc. by simply bringing a list to an end, as in the following example:

Change—Dan is a careful exegete, giving heed to background, diagramming sentence structure, parsing lexical forms, following the flow of thought, etc.
To—Dan is a careful exegete, giving heed to background, diagramming sentence structure, parsing lexical forms, and following the flow of thought.

4.  “Books of the Bible cited without chapter or chapter and verse should be spelled out in the main text. Books of the Bible cited with chapter or chapter and verse should be abbreviated, unless they come at the beginning of the sentence. All occurrences of biblical books in parentheses and footnotes should be abbreviated” (SBL Handbook, §8.2; pp. 71-72). Examples:

The passage, 1 Cor 5:6, is often considered crucial.
First Corinthians 5:6 is a crucial text. (not—1 Corinthians 5:6 is a crucial text.)

5.  Some possessive rules:

• Add –’s to singular nouns that end in –s. (E.g., Henry James’s novels reward the patient reader.)
• The possessive of the names Jesus and Moses is traditionally formed by adding an apostrophe alone. (E.g., Jesusdisciples were sleepy; Moses’ calling was unique.)
• Add only an apostrophe to plural nouns ending in –s. (E.g., The Jameses’  talents are extraordinary; the Yankees’  victories are fixed.)
• Names of more than one syllable with an unaccented ending pronounced eez are exceptions based on euphony. (E.g., Aristophanes’  plays are funny.)

6. Use of the hyphen and en dash:

• A hyphen is used to separate verses within a biblical chapter, and an en dash to separate chapters. (E.g., Jesus washes his disciples’ feet in John 13:3-17; the fourth Servant Song can be found in Isa 52:13–53:12.)
• A hyphen is used to separate page numbers. (E.g., Richard B. Gaffin Jr., “Systematic Theology and Biblical Theology,” WTJ 38 (1976): 281-99.)
• An en dash is used to separate years. (E.g., By means of several deportations spanning 734–716 B.C., Israelites were placed in a variety of Assyrian provinces.)

7.  The problem of “gender-specific language” is considered a stylistic question that authors must resolve on their own. Contributors are encouraged, however, to avoid offending the sensibilities of readers whenever possible. Thoughtless repetition of “man” in its generic sense, for example, is not advisable, but neither is the excessive use of the contrived “he or she” or the use of generic “she.” For a balanced discussion that is sensitive to both social and stylistic concerns, the editors recommend William Zinsser, On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction (4th ed.; San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1990), 117-20.

8.  Contributors may, at their discretion, use either traditional or more recent alternate abbreviations for chronological periods. The editors do not believe that the use of B.C./A.D. represents disrespect for Jewish and other non-Christian readers, but writers who prefer B.C.E./C.E. are at liberty to follow that preference. The terminology “Old Testament” and “New Testament” (generally abbreviated “OT” and “NT”) is also considered to be completely appropriate, though some authors may wish to use the equivalents, “Hebrew Bible” (abbreviated “HB”) or “Hebrew/Christian Scriptures.”


(rev. date 12/13)