4 Steps to Using IATG with the SBL Handbook of Style

In the second edition of the SBL Handbook of Style (SBLHS2), chapter 8 is entirely dedicated to abbreviations. According to the Handbook, “abbreviations for works not listed below should follow Siegfried M. Schwertner, Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete, 3rd ed. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2014 [=IATG3]).” Here are four steps to make this process as seamless as possible.

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1. Get IATG3 in Paperback

As of this writing, the hardcover printing of IATG3 currently sells for just over $280 on Amazon, although you can find it a bit cheaper by shopping around.

But, thankfully, de Gruyter has also released IATG3 in paperback. As of this writing, you can find this paperback printing on Amazon for under $60 and just over $50 elsewhere.

IATG3 isn’t an inexpensive text in either case. But, there is definitely enough in it that’s not also in SBLHS2 to make it something useful to have on hand. And the pricing for the paperback copy makes it much more feasible to have your own copy on hand if your library doesn’t have it, or if you just want to keep from having to jockey with others over who’s using the library copy.

2. Consult SBLHS2

Next, check SBLHS2 §8.4 for a corresponding abbreviation. This section has two abbreviation lists. The first is sorted by the name of the source (§8.4.1). According to this list, “Journal of Biblical Literature” becomes simply “JBL” (194).

The second abbreviation list sorts the same works and periodicals as in the first, except that the sort is done by alphabetical order of the abbreviation (§8.4.2). Generally, the order of this section follows closely the order of the first. But, there are exceptions.

So, for instance, in the first list “Journal of Biblical Literature” appears between “Journal of Bible and Religion” and “Journal of Christian Theological Research” (194). But, in the second list “Journal of Biblical Literature” appears between “Jerome Bible Commentary” and “Jewish Biblical Quarterly” since all three abbreviations begin with “JB” (238).

You will probably find the first list more useful when composing a citation or a bibliography entry and the second more useful if you come across a citation with an abbreviation and need to try to expand that abbreviation into the source it represents. But, the second list is also incredibly helpful in connection with step 4 below, and it’s practically necessary if you’re working with a print version of SBLHS2.

In any case, the main point to remember in this step is not to confuse the two lists. You don’t want to accidentally look at the second list (sorted by abbreviation) and miss something because that list isn’t alphabetized by source.

3. Consult IATG3

Like SBLHS2, IATG3 has two main abbreviation lists. The first is sorted alphabetically by abbreviation (3–191). The second is sorted alphabetically by the name of the source (195–726).

So, for instance, if you needed to cite an article from Scriptura, you would find that SBLHS2 doesn’t have a corresponding abbreviation (step 2).

On finding this, you’d then consult the second list in IATG3 (sorted by source name) and find four different sources with this name (632). If you were looking for the Scriptura produced in South Africa, you’d then find the corresponding abbreviation to be Scr.(S).

4. Double check SBLHS2 doesn’t already assign the abbreviation you found in IATG3 to some different source

For example, if you’re citing something from the “Herders biblische Studien” series, you’ll see that SBLHS2 doesn’t include an abbreviation for this source (step 2). You’d then consult IATG3 and find the abbreviation “HBS” (step 3; 424).

If you go back to SBLHS2 and look up this abbreviation, however, you find that it’s assigned to “History of Biblical Studies” (235).

What do you do in this case? If you’re writing strictly according to SBLHS2, then its abbreviations take precedence over those in IATG3 (SBLHS2 §8.4). So, “HBS” would mean “History of Biblical Studies” and not “Herders biblische Studien.”

In this case, you have basically two options. First, if you’re writing a longer-format piece (e.g., a thesis or dissertation) and can create your own abbreviation list, you can adopt your own custom abbreviations for each of these two sources. Or, if you only use one of the sources, you could define “HBS” explicitly as the source you use.

Failing this, second, your best option is not to abbreviate “Herders biblische Studien” and simply write it out in full in order to avoid ambiguity and confusion.


At first blush, the hundreds of pages of abbreviations in IATG3 can be a bit intimidating. But, by following these steps, it doesn’t take much to become accustomed to using IATG3 alongside SBLHS2 as you’re doing research and composing citations.

What other tips do you have for using IATG3 with SBLHS2?

7 Reasons I Moved to DreamHost

It can be difficult to select a website host among myriad of available options. I’ve recently moved to DreamHost. Here are a few reasons why.

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Why I Moved to DreamHost

  1. DreamHost is one of the hosting services that WordPress.org itself recommends. My previous host—which shall remain nameless—consistently had issues. The server rarely went down, so their uptime guarantee was technically met. But, my site would often be unavailable or would load painfully slowly. With this experience, I was intent on finding a new host that would provide much better service. A lesson I learned from this is that there are hosting bargains to be had. But, you should expect to pay around $4–10 per month for shared hosting. Hosts with regular rates substantially below that (not including limited-time or startup discounts) may not perform as well.
  2. I’d previously used DreamHost to host a website for an academic institute. That website has since been taken down. But, the entire experience with DreamHost while developing and maintaining that site was quite good.
  3. DreamHost allows unlimited traffic and offers unlimited storage—within reason.
  4. DreamHost’s sales support was incredibly responsive to questions I had as I was looking for a new host. From experience, I know this kind of responsiveness sadly isn’t always carried through consistently once one becomes a customer. My prior experience with DreamHost suggested they might do exactly this, though. During the site migration process, the support staff was extremely helpful and responsive. And I’ve been very happy to find that to continue to be the case with the few inquiries I’ve sent them since.
  5. Installing WordPress.org on DreamHost is a breeze. The account setup process allows you to opt in to have WordPress installed for you in the background. In my case, things were a touch more complicated since I wanted to set up the site at DreamHost before sending jdavidstark.com visitors there. The instructions DreamHost provides for how to achieve this are quite good, and the technical support folks were most helpful in addressing a couple things I overlooked.
  6. In addition to dedicated and “DreamPress” hosting, DreamHost offers both shared and VPS, or “Virtual Private Server” hosting. In both shared and VPS hosting, the same server will provide access to multiple websites. But, under VPS hosting, the server’s resources are “more isolated which improves performance and helps to maintain stability” (Virtual Private Server (VPS) overview). With my previous host, I suspected the difficulties I experienced were all on their end and not with my site itself. But, just in case that assessment proved incorrect, finding a host with a reasonably-priced VPS option was a definite plus if I needed to go that route. In addition, if you decide to switch to VPS in the middle of a term where you’ve already paid for shared hosting, DreamHost indicated they would apply the unused balance paid for shared hosting to the upgraded VPS hosting.
  7. DreamHost’s shared hosting is quite competitive with the other major host options I was considering. In addition, DreamHost offers special pricing for educators. This pricing applies to the “shared unlimited” hosting plan, which is a step up from the “shared starter.”

A Bonus Reason

Yes, this post is titled “7 Reasons ….” But, I have a final bonus reason I’m glad to have DreamHost as a hosting partner, even though I only learned about this reason after I made the switch.

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If you’re looking for a web host, I hope these thoughts have given you some helpful reasons to consider DreamHost.

Their support team will be the best ones to answer questions about their various services. But, if you have questions about what I’ve mentioned here, certainly feel free to add those in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to respond as helpfully as I can.

Or, if you already use DreamHost, why did you choose them?