Orientation for Paper Writers

 

Check The SBL Handbook of Style:  For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical and Early Christian Studies, edited by Patrick H. Alexander et al. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999) and follow its orientation regarding capitalization, formatting your bibliography, footnotes, references to ancient and modern sources (including spellings and abbreviations of ancient documents) and on other issues as well.  You will also want to familiarize yourself with the editing and proofreading marks listed in Appendix J of the Handbook since they may be used by your professor. 

 

Here are a few issues that are frequently overlooked:

 

1.     Use one-inch (1) margins.

2.     Use size 12 font New Times Roman for English text and an equivalent size for Greek and Hebrew fonts in the main text.  Footnotes may be written in size 10 font (or equivalent). 

3.     The main text should be double-spaced but footnotes and block quotes may be single-spaced.

4.     Be sure to paginate your paper.

5.     Do not leave your parentheses orphans!  References in parenthesis following a clause or sentence should be included within the punctuation of that clause or sentence.  Do not leave your parentheses sitting between sentences:

Incorrect: Paul says he is “crucified with Christ.” (Gal 2:20)  That is why he ….

Correct: Paul says he is “crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20).  That is why he ….

6.     Do not place words in parentheses that are essential to the sentence structure (including Greek or Hebrew words).

Incorrect: “John uses the word (avga,ph), which means ‘love.’”

Correct: “John uses the word avga,ph, which means ‘love.’”

Correct: “John uses the word for love (avga,ph) because he wants to stress….”

7.     Greek and Hebrew words do not need to be placed in quotes.

Incorrect: “John uses the word “avga,ph,” which means ‘love.’”

Correct: “John uses the word avga,ph, which means ‘love.’”

8.     When your quotation is not followed by a reference in parentheses (unlike the example above) the closing quotation marks should be placed outside (after) a comma or period.  Question marks are placed outside (after) the closing quotation unless they reflect the original author’s question.  Colons and semicolons are placed outside (after) the closing quotation marks (see SBL Handbook paragraph 4.1.5):

Incorrect: Paul says he is “crucified with Christ”.  That is why he ….

Correct: Paul says he is “crucified with Christ.” That is why he ….

Incorrect: Paul says he is an “apostle”, not that he is a bishop.

Correct: Paul says he is an “apostle,” not that he is a bishop.

9.     Beware of common grammatical errors. 

Incorrect:  “He was suppose to go away.”

Correct:  “He was supposed to go away.” (The past participle is required, as in “She was seen”; or “He was considered a genius.”

10. Verify that prepositions are used correctly:

Incorrect:  “There is a contrast between the darkness with the light.”

Correct::  There is a contrast between the darkness and the light.”

Or: “The darkness is contrasted with the light.”