Extended Style Guide
For many authors, it will suffice to follow just the stipulations in the ‘Submission Agreement’. For those who need to resolve more complex style issues or who want to know the standards that the RTR administrator and editors will apply, the extended style guide may be consulted.
For matters not covered below, RTR may follow precedent from previous issues or use the University of Oxford Style Guide.
- The main submission file: Microsoft Word format (.docx). An MS Word Article Template is available.
- For documents with special fonts, illustrations or other complex formatting, a supplementary PDF could be appropriate.
- All illustrations, figures, and tables: placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
- Articles, when being submitted for review, should have identifying information removed (including the removal of author identification in the Word document properties).
- Book reviews: 300–700 words. Footnotes are usually unnecessary.
- Articles: 7,000–10,000 words including footnotes and bibliographical data.
- Line-spacing (main text and footnotes): single.
- Paragraph alignment (main text and footnotes): justified.
- Paragraph indent: main text first line 0.5cm; footnotes 0.0cm.
- Sentence spacing: one space (not two) between sentences within a paragraph.
- Paragraph spacing: no spacing around main text and footnote paragraphs.
- Line spacing: 14pt main text; 12.6pt foonotes.
- Bulleted lists: 0.5cm indent from left, hanging 1cm. The use of bulleted lists should be minimised.
- Shorter numbered lists: 0.5cm indent from left, hanging 0.5cm, or if a long list with double digits, 1cm.
- Longer numbered lists: as for shorter, except kept at 0cm indent from the left. The use of sections with subheadings would be preferred.
- First level numbered lists: numerical with one dot after the number (1. 2. 3.).
- Further levels numbered lists: if there are lists within lists, second level is lower-case alphabetical (a. b. c.) and third level is lower case roman numerical (i. ii. iii.). Each new level adds 0.5cm indent.
- Main article text: 12pt Times (RTR actually uses Arno Pro)
- Book reviews main text: 11pt Times (RTR actually uses Arno Pro)
- Footnotes (article and review): 11pt Times (RTR actually uses Arno Pro)
- Unicode fonts should be used for Greek and Hebrew. E.g. the free fonts provided by the Society of Biblical Literature. RTR actually uses Linguist Software Unicode fonts (New Jerusalem U, GraecaUBSU—the editor will make the conversion).
- Subheadings are usually required for essays, up to three levels as appropriate.
- Headings should be get as short as possible, and the article heading should be no longer than two lines.
- Article heading (‘Heading 1’): 18pt Arial bold centred; Paragraph spacing 24pt before, 22pt after.
- Subheadings: 0.0cm indented, including numbered subheadings and any 2nd line.
- Numbered subheadings are preferred: numbered and sub-numbered (1. … 1.1 … 1.1).
- Numbered subheadings hanging indent: 0.5cm (i.e. 0.5cm between the number and the text), and increments added of 0.5cm if that is required to avoid running the number and text together.
- Main subheading (‘Heading 2’): 11pt Arial bold; paragraph spacing 14pt before, 2pt after.
- Second subheading (‘Heading 3’): 11pt Arial italics; paragraph spacing 14pt before, 2pt after.
- Third subheading (‘Heading 4’): 12pt Times italics; paragraph spacing 0pt before, 2pt after.
- Capitalisation: title capitalisation for heading levels 1–3 (capitalise first word, and then all words other than articles and prepositions).
- Headings examples: are provided in the MS Word Article Template available on the website.
- Em dashes rather than ordinary dashes when setting apart words in a sentence—like this em dash here, with no spaces around the dash.
- En dashes when ‘through to’ is meant, such as when giving dates and verse ranges.
- bc and ad: small caps, no dots, and after and before the year respectively (586 bc, but ad 70).
- bce and ce are permitted but not preferred.
- The article should be substantially free from typographical errors, and the Word Processor’s Spelling and Grammar check function used.
- The language in the Word Processor should be set to UK or Australian English (if installed) in both the body and footnotes.
- Preferably, the author will check the article in Grammarly.
- Preferably, the author will check the article in anti-plagiarism software.
- Translation should be provided for any non-English language used (including Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and all modern languages).
- Hebrew and Greek transliteration should not be used, except for well-known words. E.g. koinonia can be used. Transliteration should be italicised.
- Hebrew pointing should not be used unless significant to the discussion.
- ‘S’ spellings should be used: -ise -yse, and -isation, not -ize, -yze, nor -ization. Minimise, recognise, evangelise, realise, baptise, sympathise, emphasise, memorise, polarise, criticise, modernise, realisation, summarisation, Judaiser, secularisation, Christianisation. The British spelling in the Oxford Dictionary can be consulted.
- The style of the Tetragrammaton is the author’s decision: Yahweh, Yhwh, Yhwh, small capitals, etc., but not normally Jehovah. The use of the Hebrew characters requires the English translation to accompany it.
- Authors generally should avoid referring to themselves as ‘I’.
Better: It is concluded… The conclusion to be drawn…
- ‘We’ should not be used for a single author.
- In-text capitalisation should be minimised. E.g. ‘the crucifixion’, ‘the church’; but still ‘Passover’ and ‘Exodus’.
- Capitalisation of divine pronouns is the author’s decision: He, Him, he, him.
- Do not commence sentences with conjunctions: And, But, For, Nor, Or, Yet, So. A sentence starting with a conjunction does not give a full thought and is still often avoided in academic writing.
- Commas, including the so-called Oxford comma, are to be used whenever they will help the reader to see word groupings and to indicate emphasis, including:
- [A short sentence with one subject, no comma: Calvin preached in Geneva and ministered in Strasbourg.]
- [Defining clause (using that), no comma: ‘The journal that is published three times a year is sent to libraries around the world.’ ‘Three times a year’ publishing defines the journal—an unlikely definition, as it happens.]
- Direct quotes: Commas before direct quotes unless the quote fits smoothly into the sentence (and so no comma if the quote is preceded by ‘that’).
Always: Jesus said that ‘God so loved the world’.
Always: Jesus said that God loved ‘the world’.
- Contractions should not be used: not can’t, don’t, I’ll.
- Avoid the use of the oblique stroke or forward slash (/) for and, or, and nor, and so expressions such as ‘and/or’. Use and, or, or nor.
- Abbreviations: no dots, full stops, or periods when the first and final letters of the word form the abbreviation.
- Exclamation marks: preferably not.
- Et al.: not italicised, only one dot (et al.), and with a comma before it if preceded by two or more elements.
- Avoid colloquial language, metaphors, figures of speech, and illustrations.
- Use ‘First…secondly…thirdly…’
- Use ‘which’ for non-defining clauses (i.e. clauses that could be removed from the sentence); use ‘that’ for defining, essential, or restrictive clauses.
- Use ‘an’ when followed by a vowel sound, and ‘a’ for a consonantal sound: ‘a historical occasion’; ‘a unique situation’; ‘a BTh’; ‘an MA’.
- Historical studies should ordinarily use past tenses for people’s actions and thoughts: ‘Bavinck thought…’; ‘Calvin believed’.
- Gendered language should be accurate. When male and female are in view, use male and female language or gender non-specific language. An exception is when using the language of a source document, for which no explanation is necessary if the context of the article makes the reason for the use clear.
- ‘They’ and ‘them’ may be used for 3rd person singular pronouns, though the preference is to use the singular pronouns, especially if there is a sense of a clash caused by syntactical proximity.
- Main text and footnotes: no definite article, day cardinal number first (no ordinal indicators), month non-abbreviated in main text but abbreviated in footnotes, full year, no inner punctuation. E.g.
Footnote: 25 Dec 2015
Never: 25th December 2015
Never: December 25, 2015
Never: 25 December, 2015
Never: the 25th of December
- The essay introduction should state the rationale for the article in relationship to the state of current academic understanding, set out the contention of the article in terms of what is being added to academic understanding, and explain how the contention is going to be validated and so usually giving a summary of the structure of the essay.
- The essay conclusion should summarise the contention of the article and the grounds upon which the contention was demonstrated throughout the essay.
- The opinions and character of others are to be reflected upon respectfully, and no material is to be included that is defamatory or otherwise unlawful.
- Single quotation marks, but double marks for a quote within a quote.
- Punctuation not part of a quote should never be within the quote.
Instead: ‘Jesus wept’, and then raised Lazarus.
Instead: ‘God so loved the world’.
- Punctuation at the end of a quote may be inside the quote if part of the quote—the author can decide. E.g.
Believers will not die ‘but have everlasting life.’
Believers will not die ‘but have everlasting life’.
- Short, non-whole sentence quotes typically will not have the full stop within the quote, even if at the end of the sentence.
Rather: Jesus said that they will have ‘everlasting life’.
[Never: Jesus said that they will have ‘everlasting life.’.]
- A full stop should not be used before a closing bracket at the end of a sentence, and generally, punctuation should be avoided before a closing bracket.
Instead: It is a lovely verse (‘Jesus wept’).
Instead: The text (‘Jesus wept’) is important.
- Long quotations (30+ words): separate paragraph, indented 0.5cm left and right, without quotation marks, 11pt font for articles, 10pt font for reviews.
- An ellipsis character, not three separate dots (… not ...). MS Word usually changes three dots into an ellipsis, unless the feature is turned off.
- No spaces around an ellipsis within a quote:
Always: ‘all who believe…will have eternal life’.
- No fourth dot for a full stop.
Always: ‘Jesus wept…Jesus said’
- There is seldom a need to start or end a quote with an ellipsis.
Usually: Churchill said, ‘tears and sweat’.
- No square brackets around an ellipsis.
- Bibliographic details for all references cited, consulted, or otherwise drawn upon should be appropriately cited. The copyright or property right of another should not be infringed.
- Articles use only footnotes for bibliographical data: i.e. they do not have bibliographies. Only Supplement essays have bibliographies (last name first for the first author entry; everything else the same as for a footnote).
- Examples of footnoted data:
Article: Kurt E. Marquart, ‘Luther and Theosis’, CTQ 64, no. 3 (2000), 182–205.
- Multiple references in the one list: separated by semi-colons, no final ‘and’; in descending date order unless there is good reason otherwise.
- Footnote numbers in the main text: at the end of the sentence wherever possible. In-sentence numbers may be rarely used, to avoid ambiguity, preferably at the end of a clause.
- Subsequent citations should be shortened:
Marquart, ‘Luther and Theosis’, 202.
- Do not use ‘ibid’ nor similar terms.
- To indicate an editor or editors instead of an author or authors: use (ed.) or (eds) after the name.
- Two authors: use ‘and’, no comma.
- For multiple authors or editors: use commas before every entry and the final ‘and’; or et al. may be used, not italicised.
- Given name abbreviations: full stops, with spaces between; first given name in full is preferred.
Never: A B Smith
Optionally: A. B. Smith
Preferred: Adam B. Smith
- For in-text references to author’s names (i.e. not as part of footnoted bibliographical data), first names may be given in full or as initials on the first use. Thereafter, just initials should be used or just the last name.
Never: Adam B. Smith
- When there is a series title, volume title, and the volume number is included in the title, the entirety can be italicised.
- ‘Edition’ abbreviation: edn (not ed. or edn.)
- Use journal abbreviations, as per The SBL Handbook of Style, and without full stops. Less well-known abbreviations should not be used, however, even if in the SBL Handbook.
- Journal volume and number are placed before the brackets.
- Brackets: no commas are used before brackets, and the only information placed in brackets is the place published, publisher, and date.
- Use short publisher names.
- Page range: em dash, and no number abbreviation.
- Never f. or ff.; always give the exact range.
- Referring to a footnote: n. x
- For historical sources numbered by book, chapter, or paragraph, either that data should be given, or the page numbers, or both sets of data separated by a colon. The preference is to have both, particularly if just citing one or other could create confusion.
- Page numbers independent of bibliographical data: p. x, pp. x–x
- Web addresses may be broken at oblique strokes (/) to avoid large gaps on a line (this will be done by the administrator).
- Abbreviate months in bibliographical data (e.g. web accessed information):
- Abbreviations should conform to The SBL Handbook of Style.
- Main text and footnotes: not abbreviated at the start of a sentence, abbreviated when followed by both chapter and verse, otherwise not abbreviated. E.g.
Otherwise: 1 Chron 1:1
Always: 1 Chronicles 1
- No dots, full stop, or periods after abbreviations.
- Semicolons between a list of bible references, with no final ‘and’.
- When citing chapters and verses apart from the book names, use ch. and chs, and v. and vv.
- Verses should never appear without the chapter reference or v. and vv.
Possibly: ‘God so loved the word’ (v. 16)
Possibly: ‘God so loved the world’ (3:16)
- En dashes between verse ranges in the same chapter.
- En dashes and spaces between verse ranges across chapters, and chapters across books
Never: 2:1 — 3:23
Always: 2:1 – 3:23
Always: Gen 1:1 – 2:3
Always: Exod 30:1 – Lev 1:20
Always: Exodus 40 – Leviticus 1
- En dashes between chapter ranges.
Always: Leviticus 1–2
- En dashes between book ranges.