SBL (2nd edition, footnotes)

The SBL Handbook of Style primarily follows the Chicago Manual of Style for footnote referencing; although primary resources are usually cited in text following the parenthetical style (e.g., citing the Bible). Primary references can use 'Cite  resource' or they can be added manually into your paragraph or quote. Here is a comparison table of the top reference managers and ComWriter showing how ComWriter can accurately generate all references according to SBL style.


 The following comments are taken from the SBL Handbook of Style, and we have provided a commentary as to how we have interpreted them into ComWriter.

  • 6.2 General Examples: Books
    • 6.2.13 Article in a Festschrift: use 'Book / Section in edited book'
    • 6.2.19 A Forthcoming Book: this status will be assumed when there is no Year Published available
    • 6.2.25 Electronic Book : add the kind of book (e.g. 'Nook edition', 'Kindle edition') into the data field 'Format' for the relevant book (e.g., Authored book, Edited book)
  • 6.3 General Examples: Journal Articles, Reviews and Dissertations
    • 6.3.5 An Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis: Use 'Thesis or dissertation', make sure you add the Thesis type (e.g., 'PhD diss.')
    • 6.3.6 An Article in an Encyclopedia or Dictionary: Use 'Book / Encyclopedia entry', or 'Book / Dictionary entry'
    • 6.3.7 An Article in a Lexicon or Theological Dictionary: User 'Book / Dictionary entry'
    • 6.3.8 A Paper Presented at a Professional Society: Use 'Conference material / Conference paper'
    • 6.3.9 An Article in a Magazne: Use 'Article / Magazine article'
    • 6.3.10 Electronic Journal Article: Use 'Journal material / Journal article', but set the source to 'Online'
  • 6.4 Special Examples
    • 6.4.1 Texts from the Ancient Near East
      • Citing The Context of Scripture (COS): Use 'Creative work  / Ancient text'
        • The Abbreviated entry is used, but only if COS has been added to the 'Series abbreviation'
        • The subsequent entry will have the text in brackets (COS 1.26:44-46)
      • other texts from Ancient Near East: Use 'Creative work / Ancient text'
        • The first entry will list the abbreviated form if, and only if, there is a Series abbreviation. If there is no Series abbreviation, the full reference entry will be listed. Note: if a Series abbreviation is present, the first entry will always be the abbreviated form. 
        • Example: 'Erra and Ishum" should be added as a Section Title for the text Myths of Mesopotamia
        • Section number: identify the location of a section; e.g., S3 (A I 10-17)
        • Text Description: include data such as 'Ashur Inscription, obv. lines 10-17', if present, this will replace the Section title
        • Text Edition: e.g., '2nd', '3rd rev', 'rev and enl.' (do not add 'ed.' at the end, as this is in the template)
        • Publication Note: add any text that you would like to precede the Series Title; e.g., 'Page 187 in', 'In vol. 1 of'
        • Letters and letters in collections: use Archive / Letters or Archive / Collection of letters
    • 6.4.2 Loeb Classical Library (LCL): use 'Book / Classic work'
      • Short title: e.g., 'The History and the Annals' is shortened as 'Ann.'. 
    • 6.4.3 Papyri and Ostracraca: Use 'Creative / Ancient text'
      • If you are citing from the standard critical edition (Oates, et al.), then simply put the catalogue number (e.g., P.Cair.Zen.59003) into the footnote manually (nothing else is required in the footnote).
      • If you are using a different source (e.g., Hunt and Edgar), include the catalogue number of any papyrus or ostracon in the 'Description' field in the resource (e.g., P.Cair.Zen.59003). Then insert the reference into your footnote.
      • If you are citing more than one papyrus or ostracon, we suggest you do your footnotes manually
    • 6.4.4 Ancient Epistles and Homilies: use 'Book / Classic work'
      • Publication Note: add any text that you would like to precede the Series Title; e.g., 'Page 187 in', 'In vol. 1 of'
    • 6.4.5 ANF and ANPNF, First and second series: Use 'Book / Classic work'
    • 6.4.6 J.-P. Migne's Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca: Use 'Book / Classic work'
      • Note: the Work title will be in italics.
      • To cite a section, add a different resource using Book / Classic work
    • 6.4.7 Strack-Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament
      • Footnote: add this manually using 'Str-B' as the 'Author' name
      • Add the work to 'Book / Authored book'
    • 6.4.8 Aufstieg und Niedergang der romischen Welt (ANRW): Use Book / Section or chapter in book volume
      • The entire work can be added as a 'Book / Edited book'
    • 6.4.9 Bible Commentaries: Use 'Book / Authored book'
      • The Series abbreviation will be italicised
    • 6.4.10 A single Volume of a Multivolume Commentary in a Series: Use 'Book / Book volume in series'
    • 6.4.11 SBL Seminar Paper: use 'Article / Working paper'
    • 6.4.12 A CD-ROM reference (with a corresponding Print Edition): Use relevant Book resource
      • Add Medium = CD-ROM
    • 6.4.13 Text Editions Published Online with No Print Counterpart:
      • Mark the Source as 'Online', and add the URL and DOI if available
    • 6.4.14 Online Database
      • Mark the source as 'Database', add the Database Owner, and Database identifier
      • Also add a URL into the 'Online' section
    • 6.4.15 Websites and Blogs:
      • Blog: Use Internet material / Blog or forum
      • Website: Use Internet Material / Web or wiki page


General tips and comments:

  • Always add as much data as you can into your resource records
  • Ensure titles have capitals for the first letter of every word
  • If the full title is 'short' add this as a 'Short title'
  • If an 'Author' or 'Editor' has a single name (e.g., Heraclitus, Tacitus) then add this as an 'Organization' so the template doesn't go looking for a first name
  • Use Smart List / Bibliography rather than Smart List / Cited resources, as sometimes the reference entry needs to be a separate resource to the footnote
  • We have added 'Publisher' as an optional data field to overcome one issue, so please ensure you add Publisher when it is required (e.g., Publisher is not required for Patrologia)
  • When we use a Series abbreviation, it will always be italicised (some SBL templates are italicised, and some are not)
  • We cannot optionally exclude the Series Abbreviation (e.g., the ANF and APNF bibliography entries do not list the abbreviation) from some templates, and add it in for others (e.g., the Loeb Classic Library) so it will always be added. Another example: the Ancient Epistles and Homilies do not list the Series abbreviation in the footnote, whereas, the COS is included


Current issues: The following cannot yet be accommodated

  • Multiple publishers can be added using 'Publication note'
  • Reprint edition
  • Book review (untitled): all reviews require a title
  • Multiple volume/pages: add additional data into Citation suffix
  • Non-consecutive pages:  add additional data into Citation suffix
  • An Introduction, Preface, or Forward written by Someone other than the Author [in an Authored book]: solution in progress
  • The Full History of a Translated Volume: the footnote can be added manually, but the full history cannot be included in the Bibliography
  • Discontinuous pages: cite the most relevant, but at the least, the starting page. This way a reader can locate the text
  • Volume span or Discontinuous volumes: use most relevant volume
  • Publication year spanning multiple years: add start year to 'First published' and end year into 'Year published'


Attached: working paper outlining details of ComWriter mapping to SBL

Updated: 29-Jan-2015

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