Citing NPNF in SBL Style

According to the SBL Handbook of Style blog, the example given for citing NPNF in the SBL Handbook of Style’s second edition (pg. 101) is inconsistent:

Contra the example given in SBLHS, the series number is best indicated by a 1 or 2 plus a solidus preceding the volume number (not a superscripted 1 or 2). Thus volume 12 of the second series would be cited as follows:

NPNF 2/12:85–96

For additional discussion of SBL style, see SBLHS’s original post, as well as these related posts.

SBLHS2 and Ibid.

With the release of the Chicago Manual of Style‘s 17th edition, the SBL handbook began deferring to this edition (rather than the 16th) for matters not explicitly addressed in the SBL Handbook‘s 2nd edition or on the SBLHS blog.

One of the changes with CMS17 is eliminating the use of “ibid.” In keeping with CMS17, SBLHS also now eliminates “ibid.” But, SBLHS does have a slightly different convention for how to format notes where “ibid.” would have appeared (i.e., a short tile is always included).

For further discussion, see the SBLHS blog and The Chicago and SBL Manuals.

The Chicago and SBL Manuals

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) has been updated to its 17th edition (2017).1 According to the second edition of the SBL Handbook of Style (SBLHS),

Currently in its 16th edition, The Chicago Manual of Style remains the most comprehensive general authority on editorial style and publishing practices. Answers to questions not addressed in this handbook may be found there. (§3.3)

The reference to CMS’s “current” edition raises the possibility that a new CMS edition may occasion a change in the CMS edition best followed by users of SBLHS2. In addition, on noting the release of CMS17, SBL Press commented that

based on the Chicago Manual of Style, this new edition will no doubt prompt changes to our own style. We will announce relevant changes on this blog in the coming months.

This comment made it sound like changes might be affected in SBL style before the release of SBLHS3 simply based on the release of CMS17. On reaching out to the ever-helpful folks at SBL Press, they’ve confirmed that

Our deference to CMS in matters not explicitly covered in SBLHS2 or on the SBLHS2 blog automatically upgrades to the most current version of CMS. Thus, as of September 1, 2017, we now defer to CMS 17th ed.

For the balance of the SBL Press’s note about CMS17, see the SBL Press blog. For more information about CMS17 or to order a copy, see the University of Chicago Press, Amazon, or other booksellers.


  1. Header image provided by the Chicago Manual of Style

Loving one’s neighbor in JBL and elsewhere

The most recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature carries Matthew Goldstone’s essay “Rebuke, Lending, and Love: An Early Exegetical Tradition on Leviticus 19:17–18” (307–21). According to the abstract,

In this article I posit the presence of an early Jewish exegesis of Lev 19:17–18 preserved in the Tannaitic midrash known as Sifra, which is inverted and amplified in Did. 1:3–5, Q 6:27–35, Luke 6:27–35, and Matt 5:38–44. Identifying shared terminology and a sequence of themes in these passages, I argue that these commonalities testify to the existence of a shared exegetical tradition. By analyzing the later rabbinic material I delineate the contours of this Second Temple period interpretation and augment our understanding of the construction of these early Christian pericopae. In commenting on Lev 19:17, Sifra articulates three permissible modes of rebuke: cursing, hitting, and slapping. In its gloss on the subsequent verse, Sifra exemplifies the biblical injunction against vengeance and bearing a grudge through the case of lending and borrowing from one’s neighbor. The Didache, Matthew, and Luke invert the first interpretation by presenting Jesus as recommending a passive response to being cursed or slapped, and they amplify the second interpretation by commanding one to give and lend freely to all who ask. The similar juxtaposition of these two ideas and the shared terminology between Sifra and these New Testament period texts suggest a common source. By reading these early Christian sources in light of this later rabbinic work I advance our understanding of the formation of these well-known passages and illustrate the advantages of cautiously employing rabbinic material for reading earlier Christian works.

In addition, I hadn’t been aware of it, but Goldstone’s n37 refers to John Piper’s SNTSMS publication of a revised version of his dissertation. This volume was republished by Crossway with an additional preface in 2012. As tends to be the case with a very few exceptions, this latest edition of the volume is available as a free PDF via the DesiringGod website.

The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society‘s current issue has an essay on the command to love one’s neighbor that I haven’t yet read but looks quite interesting too.

How Can You Get SBL BibLit on iOS?

One of the less-than-ideal features of using an iOS device for editing or producing documents in Biblical Studies has been the difficulty of getting standard biblical language fonts (e.g., SBL BibLit) to work on the device. There are now, however, at least a couple solutions:

  1. Chris Heard has discussed how AnyFont can resolve the issue successfully and allow users to install SBL BibLit (or other fonts) onto iOS devices and use them within standard productivity tools (e.g., Pages, Word, Keynote, PowerPoint). In the App Store, AnyFont goes for $1.99.
  2. On the freemium side of things, Fonteer will also do the same thing. Fonteer’s free version allows users to install up to 3 fonts. So, if you anticipate only using this number or fewer, the free version will do the job. Fonteer premium (also $1.99 via in-app purchase) allows unlimited fonts to be installed. Below is an example of Fonteer working with a draft excerpt from my essay in Explorations in Interdisciplinary Reading.
Example of Fonteer working with SBL BibLit

SBL Press on citing Migne’s “Patrologia Graeca”

SBL Press logoSBL Press continues to be quite responsive on its blog to questions submitted by users of the SBL Handbook of Style. One of the latest examples is the Press’s clarification of how to format citations from J.-P. Migne’s Patrologia Graeca. The 161-volume series is available online in the public domain from various sources, including Patristica.net and Document Catholica Omnia.

For a previous string of comments by the Press about citing Migne’s Patrologia Latina, see Fun with Multiple Editions of Migne’s Patrologia Latina, Migne’s “Patrologia Latina”: Mystery Solved, and A further update on Migne’s “Patrologia Latina.”