Guide for Authors

This guide covers the standards expected in article submissions, the sections to be included, and details of the submission process.

Encyclopaedia articles

Articles are around 10,000 words in length (including bibliography). Each article will treat a significant topic in theology in a scholarly and balanced way. We expect all articles to be models of the encyclopaedic virtues of concision, clarity, rigour, and compendiousness. They should survey their subject dispassionately and present all sides of significant controversies. Treatments should be conceptually structured and historically informed; the emphasis must be on the interaction of ideas, rather than the twists and turns of scholarly debate.

Articles should explain how their topic has influenced, and been influenced by, major traditions of theological thought. This will involve identifying those for whom these traditions have been authoritative. Authors should be transparent about their own beliefs, fair and charitable towards those of others, and display ecumenical breadth.

Controversial claims by others should have an indication of their degree of acceptance in the field. The author’s own novel or controversial claims must not dominate articles to the exclusion of other points of view. They may be included as ‘possible ways forward’ or other forms of suggestion. Authors should not use their articles to reply to their critics. If the framing of the article itself is necessarily controversial, please discuss this with the editors.


Authors should write for a theologically literate but non-specialist audience. Each article should provide a comprehensive picture of the subject, guiding readers towards the best results of scholarship. Articles should be constructed for:

  • Advanced undergraduates to use as significant sources.
  • Teachers of undergraduates, especially in the majority world, to develop curricula.
  • Postgraduates and established scholars in theology to use as introductions to a subject, especially suggesting further reading.
  • Scholars in adjacent disciplines (history, philosophy, etc) to come up to speed on theological topics.
  • Clergy and laypeople to gain an understanding of the state of academic theology.

Authors should keep in mind that the Encyclopaedia has a broad geographical and cultural reach. As a result, many readers will have English as an additional language.

Articles should present ideas in straightforward language wherever possible; clearly explain technical terminology and specialized theological language; and avoid using dense paragraphs containing extensive quotations and unnecessary citations. Authors should also take care to avoid overemphasizing any one national or cultural context.

Article structure

All articles should conform to a standard structure and should deal with a number of key themes. As part of the commissioning process we ask authors to provide us with an abstract and table of contents, to make clear how their work will fit the requirements.


Authors should use the following structure for articles. In the main body, headings and subheadings must be numbered as shown. It is important that you use sequential numbering with full stops, as in the example below, for compatibility with the Encyclopaedia's content management system.

  • Abstract and keywords
  • Table of contents
  • Main body
    1. Heading one
    2. Heading two
      1. First subheading
      2. Second subheading
    3. Heading three
      1. First subheading
        1. First subsection in subheading
        2. Second subsection in subheading
      2. Second subheading
    4. Heading four
  • Bibliography
    • Further reading
    • Works cited



A short, easy-to-read introduction should provide a brief explanation of the subject and give a clear sense of the topics covered in the article. The introduction should help readers to determine whether they have found the article for which they are looking.

Table of contents

The table of contents will link to each section of the article. It must accurately reflect the numbering of headings and subheadings within the main body text (see 'Structure', above).

Main Body

Authors should decide on the best organization for their own articles. In general, themes are preferable to historical periods as subsections, except in clearly historical entries.

As entries in an encyclopaedia of theology, articles should engage with the key themes of sacred texts and the believer and the community. Authors are also strongly encouraged to identify any scientific interactions with their subject.

These themes may be integral to the subject and require substantial treatment, or they may be considered only briefly alongside the article's main discussion. In either case, these themes should generally be presented under their own subheading, titled appropriately for the article.

In every case, authors are asked to indicate to the editors the heading or subheading where this treatment takes place. The required themes are as follows:

Sacred texts

Articles are expected to engage with the most significant areas of the tradition's sacred texts or scriptures and interpretation relating to their material. Where relevant, articles should discuss questions of exegesis, reception, and other interactions with sacred texts that have a bearing on the article's topic.

As a guide, authors might consider the following questions:

  • Are there important passages or themes within the relevant sacred texts that have been influential for the article's topic?
  • Are there debates about textual interpretation that have shaped the development of the article’s topic?
  • How, if at all, has the article’s topic impacted the reading of the tradition’s sacred texts?

The believer and the community

Articles should relate their subject to the life and experience of the believer, as well as to the community of faith (historically and in the present day).

As a guide, authors might consider the following questions:

  • In what way is the life of the believer shaped by the article's topic?
  • What is the relationship between the article's subject and the community of faith?
  • What worship practices vary depending upon interpretation of article's topic?
  • In the case of controversy, what is at stake for individual believers and the community of faith?

Scientific interactions

Authors are asked to highlight any interactions between their topic and scientific perspectives (including social scientific perspectives), especially where these connections may not be immediately obvious.

For example, an article on theological anthropology might refer to biological evidence; a treatment of sacrifice might consider sociological or psychological aspects.

As a guide, authors might consider the following questions:

  • What can theology contribute to scientific engagements with the topic?
  • How do scientific perspectives challenge, deepen, or enhance theological considerations of the subject?
  • What are the major points of dialogue or debate between theology and science (historically or in the present day)?

Editorial Process

Abstract and Table of Contents

The Encyclopaedia editors will discuss the parameters of each article with its author. In every case, authors should provide a provisional abstract (around 250 words) and table of contents for the article, as described above. They should include with this an indication of the sections of their article in which they will cover the key themes of scripture, the believer and the community and, if appropriate, scientific interactions.

The primary purpose of the abstract and table of contents is to ensure that the article meets the aims of the Encyclopaedia and to minimize overlap between articles that are being written simultaneously. The editors will review the abstract and table of contents and provide feedback to authors.


  • After the author(s) and editors have agreed the abstract and table of contents, a letter to confirm the commission will be sent to the author. This will contain information on agreed deadlines and other terms and conditions.
  • Authors will receive login information for the Encyclopaedia's online portal prior to submission.


  • Articles should be submitted through our online portal as MS Word files (DOC or DOCX) with minimal formatting. PDF files cannot be accepted.
  • All submissions must be anonymized for the purposes of double-blind peer review. Authors should remove any identifying information from their documents prior to submission.
  • Authors will receive comments and suggestions for revision from editors and reviewers through the online portal (see below).


Each article will pass through the following stages after submission:

  1. An initial check by the editors to ensure the article is ready for peer review.
  2. A double-blind review process with two peer reviewers, who may make suggestions for revision.
  3. Submission of a revised manuscript.
  4. Copy-editing by the Encyclopaedia’s editorial staff.
  5. Preparation for online publication by Encyclopaedia staff.
  6. Proofs made available for the author to check.
  7. Publication on the Encyclopaedia website.

Style guide

Download the SAET Style Manual (PDF).

  • The Encyclopaedia’s style is adapted from the Modern Humanities Research Association’s guide, and uses British spellings and conventions.
  • Single quotation marks should be used (except for quotations within a quotation, where double quotation marks apply).
  • The Encyclopaedia does not use footnotes or endnotes: author-date citations and in-line referencing (e.g. Smith 2020: 297–299) should be used.
  • Biblical quotations should be taken from the New Revised Standard Version Anglicized (NRSVA) or JPS Tanakh, except where other translations are directly relevant to the discussion.
  • Words in non-Roman alphabets should normally be transliterated, according to the instructions in the SAET Style Manual.
  • First person pronouns and formulations should be avoided.

Authors are encouraged to contact the editors with any questions concerning matters of style.


Citations should be in the ([Author] [date]: [page]) format, without footnotes or endnotes, with the following provisos:

  • Sources originally released as manuscripts (e.g. from before the era of printing) should be cited by author and title.
  • Citations should be made as much as possible to text-internal organization (e.g. chapter and subsection numbers, in addition to page number) for the sake of those using different editions.
  • Authors should feel free to consult the editors if they are concerned that standard citation would be confusing.


The bibliography should contain a short, curated further reading section for students (ideally around 6–10 references) and a complete list of cited works. References reliable for scholarship (e.g. peer-reviewed or established texts) and helpful resources (e.g. online, non-critical editions) should be clearly distinguished. Especially welcome are links to open-access work at stable URLs.

Zhang, Longxi. 1992. The Tao and the Logos: Literary Hermeneutics, East and West. Post Contemporary Interventions. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Veltri, Giuseppe. 1998. ‘On the Influence of “Greek Wisdom”: Theoretical and Empirical Sciences in Rabbinic Judaism’, Jewish Studies Quarterly 5, no. 4: 300-317.

Townes, Emilie M. 2004. ‘On Keeping Faith with the Center’, in Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology. Edited by Linda E. Thomas. Minneapolis: Fortress, 189–202.

A fuller set of examples is available in the SAET Style Manual.


The St Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology is a dynamic reference work. Authors are expected to keep their articles up to date to maintain their relevance.

Authors are welcome to submit minor changes to their articles at any time, which will be translated into XML by the Encyclopaedia’s editorial team and uploaded in batches. The bibliography of each article should be reviewed at least yearly. Minor changes include rephrasing or repunctuating for clarity, adding cross-references, and above all providing additional bibliographical material.

Articles should be comprehensively updated every three to five years, so that they continue to reflect and contribute to the scholarly conversation, or in response to valid criticism. Authors should consider:

  • Adding new material treating new approaches.
  • Removing or diminishing references to once-promising scholarly approaches which have not succeeded.

Authors may wish eventually to share responsibility their article with another scholar, to be chosen in conjunction with the editorial team, or to resign responsibility altogether. In the latter case, the editors will assign the article to a new author, who will either continue to maintain and update it, or rewrite it altogether. The editors would welcome suggested replacements for resigning authors.

Archived copies of all articles will be hosted on the Encyclopaedia website, providing an easily accessible, living record of major changes, rewritings, and developments.