How Zotero Makes It Easy to Handle Serial Journal Articles

Sometimes, journal articles are too long for their usual format.1 So, they get serialized, or broken up across multiple journal issues.

The guidance that the SBL Handbook of Style provides for how to cite these articles contains a couple ambiguities. But assuming for the moment, however, that proper resolutions for these ambiguities are discernible, how might you accommodate such a citation with Zotero?

Serialized Articles within the Same Volume

If all of the parts of a serialized article appear in the same volume, as with the Wildberger example, all you really need to do is to include all of the different parts’ page ranges in Zotero’s “Pages” field.

In this way, you could get citation and bibliography information like

David W. Chapman and Andreas J. Köstenberger, “Jewish Intertestamental and Early Rabbinic Literature: An Annotated Bibliography Resource Updated Again,” JETS 63 (2020): 559–609, 789–843.

Chapman, David W., and Andreas J. Köstenberger. “Jewish Intertestamental and Early Rabbinic Literature: An Annotated Bibliography Resource Updated Again.” JETS 63 (2020): 559–609, 789–843.

Serialized Articles across Multiple Volumes

For articles serialized across multiple volumes like the Wellhausen example, you’ll want to enter

  • the earliest volume’s year in Zotero’s “Date” field and page range in the “Pages” field followed by the volume number, year, and page ranges for the subsequent parts of the article or
  • the latest volume’s year in Zotero’s “Date” field and page range in the “Pages” field because you’ve included all of the earlier volume information in the “Volume” field.

Zotero doesn’t have a “serialized journal article” item type to allow you to specify the individual volumes and pages for those volumes where an article was serialized. But either of these methods will allow you to shoehorn the information you need into the appropriate Zotero record. Zotero will then be able to produce citations like those shown below.

M. Pabst Battin, “Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy in the Poetics,” JAAC 32 (1974): 155–70; 33 (1975): 293–302.

Battin, M. Pabst. “Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy in the Poetics.” JAAC 32 (1974): 155–70; 33 (1975): 293–302.

Just be aware that a side-effect of this shoehorning is that Zotero won’t be able to automatically

  • transform hyphens to en dashes in some of your page ranges or
  • abbreviate the last page number in the range according to the rules that SBL style uses.

So, you’ll need to ensure you enter an en dash (rather than a hyphen) and abbreviate the page range as appropriate for yourself when entering the item’s Zotero record.

Now, as to the addressing the special difficulties with this type of citation, you might be able to avoid both of them if you

  • simply make your first citation a citation of the serialized article as a whole and
  • don’t subsequently need to specifically cite any pages that occur in more than one of the serialized articles.

Citing Part of a Serialized Article Only on the First Reference

But if you need to cite something less than the whole serialized article the first time you cite that source, you can create a second Zotero record just for the sub-part of the article you need to cite.

So, you might have two journal article records with the title “Die Composition des Hexateuchs.” One would include the full serialized information; the other would include only the information for the part you need to cite individually.

In your footnotes, you would use only the one with the part of the article. That way, Zotero could produce short or full notes properly.

When it comes time to produce a bibliography, you’d then use the Add/Edit Bibliography tool to remove this record and insert instead the record with the full serialized article information.

Disambiguating Page References in Short Citations

You can easily disambiguate page page references to particular articles in a series from the citation dialog. In the locator field there, you’ll just enter the volume number, a colon, and the page range you want to cite (e.g., “21:407–50” in the Wellhausen example).

When you do so, just be aware that having the volume number in the locator field won’t allow Zotero to transform hyphens into en dashes or abbreviate the last number of a page range as it usually does. So, you’ll need to enter these components as such (i.e., the text “–50” in the Wellhausen example).


SBL style involves several specific details that can prove challenging to accommodate consistently. Nevertheless, Zotero is able to handle even cases like serialized journal articles.

It can take some massaging and trial-and-error to see exactly how best to incorporate the data you need to get the citation format you’re looking for. But once you’ve got that saved in Zotero, it isn’t something you’ll need to bother with further.

  1. Header image provided by Zotero via Twitter

Categorized as Weblog

How to Cite Serialized Journal Articles in SBL Style

Journal articles are usually comparatively brief pieces. But every so often, one will be too large for a single publication. So, a journal might choose to serialize that article into two or more parts.

When this happens, SBL style requires that

If a multiple-part article includes “Part 1,” “Part 2,” and the like as a part of the title, omit the “part” specification and cite only the primary title. Including a part number in the first reference complicates short-title citations for later references, since one would then need to include the part number as a part of the short-title reference.1

This requirement then entails some changes to the typical way of citing a journal article and to how such serialized articles are handled in Zotero.

What SBL Style Requires

Instead of citing each “part” article independently as its own piece, SBL style prefers concatenated citations like the examples below.

21. Hans Wildberger, “Das Abbild Gottes: Gen 1:26–30,” TZ 21 (1965): 245–59, 481–501.

Wildberger, Hans. “Das Abbild Gottes: Gen 1:26–30.” TZ 21 (1965): 245–59, 481–501.

24. Julius Wellhausen, “Die Composition des Hexateuchs,” JDT 21 (1876): 392–450; 22 (1877): 407–79.

Wellhausen, Julius. “Die Composition des Hexateuchs.” JDT 21 (1876): 392–450; 22 (1877): 407–79.2

As the Wildberger example shows, this citation pattern nicely compresses the serial article information when all the parts of an article are published in the same volume.

On the other hand, the Wellhausen example illustrates two difficulties that arise when an article spans multiple volumes. For these difficulties, other authorities (e.g., Turabian, Chicago) appear to provide no guidance.

1. Specific Initial Citations

The given example of an initial citation for Wellhausen’s article works well if you want to cite that serialized article as a whole. But how should you format the citation if you wanted to cite, for example, pages 395–400 the first time you referred to the article?

One approach here might be to cite just the pertinent part’s information in the footnote but then the full serialized article’s details in the bibliography. In this way, you would have

24. Julius Wellhausen, “Die Composition des Hexateuchs,” JDT 21 (1876): 395–400.

Wellhausen, Julius. “Die Composition des Hexateuchs.” JDT 21 (1876): 392–450; 22 (1877): 407–79.

2. Ambiguous Short Citations

The second difficulty is that a short citation for an article like Wellhausen’s might normally be

Wellhausen, “Composition,” 407–50.

But this page range occurs both in the 1876 article from volume 21 and in the 1877 article from volume 22. So, a reader would need to consult the text of both articles to be sure of locating the section the author is referencing. But it’s presumably better to avoid an ambiguous reference. So, the form

Wellhausen, “Composition,” 21:407–50.

suggests itself as a reasonable solution on analogy to the citation pattern given for multivolume works.3


Hopefully, how best to address the particular challenges raised by this type of citation will be something that SBL Press will clarify in the future.4 Meanwhile, even this citation type is something Zotero can certainly handle, including the guesses I’ve made above for what to do in the couple unclear situations.

    1. Society of Biblical Literature, The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd ed. (Atlanta: SBL, 2014), §6.3.2. 

    2. Society of Biblical Literature, SBL Handbook, §6.3.2. 

    3. Society of Biblical Literature, SBL Handbook, §6.2.20. 

    4. I’ve written the Press to inquire whether about this but thus far have yet to hear back. 

    Categorized as Weblog

    How to Stop Word from Messing Up Greek Diacritics

    For the kind of responsibilities authors have in biblical studies, Microsoft Word does a lot of things well.1 It does a lot of other things passably. And other things take fiddling until you find the setting or workflow that makes Word work well for you.

    Not infrequently, that fiddling involves cases where Word is trying to be too helpful in a given direction. That direction might be helpful for most users. But it might sometimes also run counter to what’s helpful for the kind of writing you need to do as a biblical scholar.

    Word’s Automatic Language Detection Option

    A case in point is the language box, which contains an option to “detect language automatically.” That sounds helpful, right?

    If I turn it on, maybe it will keep me from having to tell Word “This text is Greek [or Hebrew or whatever], and no, I don’t want you to try to proofread it for me.”

    Maybe it will mean less distraction from fewer red squiggly or double blue underlines as Word stops trying to suggest improvements for non-English text as if it were English.

    Problems with Word’s Automatic Language Detection

    Maybe the setting does do some of that. But by far the biggest difference I notice when it’s on is that combining Greek diacritics don’t actually combine. Or if they do, they don’t stay combined.

    So, for instance, what should be

    will come out as

    The diacritics are all dislocated right, up, or both from where they should appear. For some reason, Word’s automatic detection of this text as Greek (besides the English insertion) causes it to mishandle the placement of the diacritics.

    And it’s not just a display issue. The diacritics also print in their dislocated positions.

    Reapplying language formatting by manually selecting Greek in the language box resets the diacritics to their appropriate positions for a time. But they have a habit of repeatedly “forgetting” where they’re supposed to appear. This presumably happens when Word next automatically assesses what language it thinks a given string of text is.


    So, if you’re finding that your diacritics are getting dislocated, check whether Word’s “detect language automatically” setting is enabled. If it is, you might find yourself needing to turn it off and fix each place where Word “helped” identify the language of a given portion of text. But on the upside, disabling the setting should allow your corrections to remain and not be overwritten.

    Consequently, despite it’s helpful sound, you probably want to avoid enabling Word’s “detect language automatically” setting. Instead, simply set the language as needed for a given string of text either through the language box or via a style.

    Tired of fighting with Word? Want to be done with frustrated hours fussing over how to get the formatting you need?

    My new guide shows you how to bypass all of this so you can let Word work for you while you focus on your research.

    Garrett Thompson (PhD)

    For students in any graduate program, mastering the full range of available research tools is crucial for efficient and consistent productivity. Dr. Stark has mastered these tools—the most important of which is Microsoft Word…. Students eager to take their work to the next level would do well to follow Dr. Stark’s in-depth guidance.

    1. Header image provided by the Noun Project

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    How to Understand Paul’s Hermeneutic through Aristotle’s Rhetoric

    Rhetoric and hermeneutics aren’t two separate things.1 Instead, they mirror and interpenetrate each other. As H.-G. Gadamer summarizes,

    There would be no speaker and no art of speaking if understanding and consent were not in question, were not underlying elements; there would be no hermeneutical task if there were no understanding that has been disturbed and that those involved in a conversation must search for and find again together.2

    This observation means that, in principle, one should be able to clarify hermeneutics by leveraging rhetoric and vice versa. A key case in point is how Aristotle’s concept of the enthymeme provides a way to gain purchase on Paul’s hermeneutic.

    What Is the Enthymeme for Aristotle?

    Authors have spilled a good bit of ink attempting to define what Aristotle means by the “enthymeme” that plays such an important role in his rhetorical theory. Aristotle calls enthymemes “the body of proof” (Rhet. 1354a [Freese, LCL]; σῶμα τῆς πίστεως) but nowhere explicitly defines the category.

    The typical “textbook definition” tends to try to define enthymemes around either (a) their formal incompleteness in missing one or more premises or (b) their use of more tenuous premises. But Lloyd Bitzer helpfully situates the enthymeme by comparison to other types of syllogisms that Aristotle discusses. Bitzer suggests that

    (1) Demonstrative syllogisms are those in which premises are laid down in order to establish scientific conclusions; (2) Dialectical syllogisms are those in which premises are asked for in order to achieve criticism; (3) Rhetorical syllogisms, or enthymemes, are those in which premises are asked for in order to achieve persuasion.3.

    Thus, on Bitzer’s reading, the distinguishing features of the enthymeme are not its completeness or incompleteness or the kind of premises it involves. Rather, three features distinguish an enthymeme. These features are

    • the context in which it occurs (rhetoric),
    • the way its premises are obtained (asking of the audience), and
    • the end toward which it is employed (persuasion).

    The enthymeme is a deductive argument that occurs in a rhetorical context just like the example is an inductive argument that occurs in a rhetorical context (Aristotle, Rhet. 1356b–1357a, 1394a, 1419a).4

    How Can Study of Enthymemes Clarify Paul’s Hermeneutic?

    When it comes to Paul’s hermeneutic, Aristotle’s concept of the enthymeme proves particularly helpful by highlighting how Paul asks his audience for premises for his arguments.

    Sometimes, Paul states those premises outright, sometimes he leaves them unstated. Similarly, Paul’s enthymemes sometimes involve him in scriptural interpretation, sometimes not. But when they do, the fact that he must ask for his premises means that his request discloses part of the hermeneutical world within which he and his audience understand their Scriptures.

    This disclosure is not a slip or break in the argument, if one really wants to understand it. Instead, it’s an invitation to imagine how Paul might be correct.5

    And a serviceable approach for accepting this invitation is to arrange the text’s claims into a standard syllogistic format. This format is often too cumbersome to use in a given rhetorical situation. But it provides a mechanism for highlighting the premise(s) that Paul may be requesting from his audience as he appeals to their shared scriptural tradition.

    So, for instance, Romans 15:1–7 discloses three assumptions that Paul thinks are reasonable bases for argument that he shares with his audience.

    1. At least in certain places, the Messiah’s voice may be found in the psalmist’s.
    2. Experiencing insult and pleasing oneself are mutually exclusive.
    3. All Israel’s Scriptures may foster the perseverance, encouragement, and hope of Jesus’s followers.


    As more work gets done along these lines a fuller picture emerges of the hermeneutic world within which early Jesus followers interpreted their Scriptures. That world has features that tend to look a bit odd to modern eyes. But as it comes progressively more into view, even those features that previously looked unlikely to fit may, in the end, make sense as well.

    Would you like to read a fuller version of this discussion? If so, drop your email address in the form below, and I’ll send you a copy of my Trinity Journal essay that discusses this approach to Paul’s hermeneutic in more detail.

    1. Header image provided by Wikimedia Commons

    2. Hans-Georg Gadamer, “On the Scope and Function of Hermeneutical Reflection,” in Philosophical Hermeneutics, ed. and trans. David E. Ligne, 1st paperback ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 25. 

    3. Lloyd F. Bitzer, “Aristotle’s Enthymeme Revisited,” Quarterly Journal of Speech 45.4 (1959): 405; underlining added 

    4. See also John Walt Burkett, “Aristotle, Rhetoric III: A Commentary” (Texas Christian University, PhD diss., 2011), 462–63; William M. A. Grimaldi, Aristotle: A Commentary, 2 vols. (New York: Fordham University Press, 1980), 1:48; William M. A. Grimaldi, Studies in the Philosophy of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1972), 53–82. 

    5. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, ed. and trans. Joel Weinsheimer and Donald G. Marshall, 2nd ed., Bloomsbury Revelations (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), 317. 

    How to Inflect Spiritual Formation for Academic Life: A Bibliography

    Individual vocations require specific kinds of formation.1 Dentists undergo one kind of formation for their craft, lawyers another, biblical scholars still another.

    Although the fact is sometimes obscured by standard preparatory curricula, this formation is a kind of spiritual formation. It’s all the more so if you’re undertaking it to obey a calling you believe God has on your life.

    Some elements of this spiritual formation are distinctive. Others are shared across vocations, even when they aren’t explicitly addressed in preparatory curricula. One example might be the fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5:22–23. For instance, both the Christian dentist and the Christian biblical scholar are called to kindness and self-discipline.

    On the other hand, these vocations often require even their common elements of formation to be “inflected” in different ways.2 How, for example, the virtues of kindness and self-discipline get inflected, or contextualized, will differ somewhat for dentists and for biblical scholars.

    Resources for Inflection

    In that context, I’ve taken encouragement from some recent discussion in the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology to develop a start to a core, annotated bibliography for how spiritual formation can be inflected, or contextualized, for academic life.

    In several cases, I would differ with some of the ideas in these volumes. Some readers may also find there to be occasional instances of objectionable language in some of these volumes (e.g., Pressfield’s).

    So, as goes the general principle, so here too—a work being included doesn’t indicate wholesale endorsement of it. Where differences are particularly pertinent to the topic, I’ve tried to comment on them in the accompanying annotations. Such things notwithstanding, I’m hopeful that others may find as much profit in these texts as I and others have.

    If you have suggestions for additions, please feel free to add those in a comment on this post. Though, please do note that I’ll be selective in making any additions to the bibliography per se in order to keep the main list as close as possible to what seems likely to be most helpful.


    Allen, David. Getting things done: the art of stress-free productivity. Rev. ed. New York: Penguin, 2015. Cite
    Burkeman, Oliver. Four thousand weeks: time management for mortals. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021. Cite
    Collins, Jim, and Morten T. Hansen. Great by choice: uncertainty, chaos, and luck—why some thrive despite them all. New York: HarperCollins, 2011. Cite
    Covey, Stephen R. The 7 habits of highly effective people: powerful lessons in personal change. 25th anniversary ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013. Cite
    Godin, Seth. The practice: shipping creative work. New York: Portfolio, 2020. Cite
    Godin, Seth. Purple cow: transform your business by being remarkable. New York: Portfolio, 2003. Cite
    Grant, Adam. Give and take: why helping others drives our success. New York: Penguin Books, 2013. Cite
    Kahneman, Daniel. Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011. Cite
    McKeown, Greg. Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business, 2014. Cite
    Newport, Cal. Deep work: rules for focused success in a distracted world. New York: Grand Central, 2016. Cite
    Newport, Cal. A world without email: find focus and transform the way you work forever. New York: Portfolio Penguin, 2021. Cite
    Pressfield, Steven. Turning pro: tap your inner power and create your life's work. New York: Black Irish, 2012. Cite
    Pressfield, Steven. Do the work: overcome resistance and get out of your own way. New York: Black Irish, 2015. Cite
    Sertillanges, A. G. The intellectual life: its spirit, conditions, methods. Translated by Mary Ryan. New ed. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1998. Cite

    1. Header image provided by Eugenio Mazzone

    2. For this language of “inflection” of spiritual formation, I’m grateful to Craig Bartholomew. 

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    How Zotero Makes It Easy to Cite Specific Locations

    Zotero makes it easy to collect and manage bibliographic data in one central location.1 The word processor plugins for Word, Writer, and Google Docs then make that data conveniently available as you’re working on your documents.2

    But you often need to cite not not just a particular source but a particular place in that source. With Zotero, you supply this information when you add the source in the citation dialog.

    How to Cite Page References

    If you use the “classic” citation dialog, you’ll have a page number field immediately available to you once you select a reference.

    But if you use the default citation dialog, you’ll specify a specific page or page range for your citation in one of two different ways.

    1. Enter the page(s) in the citation dialog.

    You can enter the page(s) you want to cite directly in the search box. Beside your search terms, just enter “p” (or “p.” or “pp.” or “:”) and then the page(s).3 When you press enter, Zotero will interpret what follows “p” as the page(s) you want to cite.

    You can actually leave out the “p” most of the time, and Zotero will interpret the page reference properly. But when a page number is 1000 or above, Zotero tries to interpret it as a year of publication rather than as a page reference. So, at least in those cases, you’d need to add “p” to explicitly tell Zotero that what follows is a page reference.

    2. Enter the page(s) in the popup menu.

    Alternatively, you can enter page references in the popup menu inside the citation dialog.

    Once you select a source, you can click on that source (or do Ctrl+↓) to open the citation dialog’s popup menu. That menu will then have a field where you can enter a page reference, similarly to the classic citation dialog.

    How to Cite Other Locator Types

    Of course, sometimes, you’ll need to cite a source by something other than page numbers. For that, you’ll need either the classic citation dialog or the default citation dialog’s popup menu.

    In both places, you’ll find the default “Page” locator type is actually a drop-down menu. When you click that menu, you’ll see the various types of locators that Zotero supports.

    Some common ones you might use in SBL style would be

    • Folio, for citing locations in original manuscripts;
    • Section, for citing locations in grammars; and
    • Sub verbo, for citing locations in dictionaries.

    Just select the type of locator that’s appropriate to the source you’re citing, and Zotero should be able to indicate that locator type properly in your citation.


    Zotero makes it quite easy to include references to particular pages or other locators in your citations. You can include the locators later by hand. But when you enter them via the citation dialog, the Zotero will be able to ensure that these locators are managed properly in the context of everything else you have in a given citation and any future updates you might make to it.

    1. Header image provided by Zotero via Twitter

    2. “Word Processor Plugins,” Zotero, 12 February 2021. 

    3. “Using the Zotero Word Plugin,” Zotero, 23 November 2022.