The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Mar 31, 2017

Peer-Reviewed Journals Pt 2: The Top 50+ Academic Journals for Biblical Studies (Ranked)

[Progressively updated as I get feedback, etc.]

In part 1 of this series of posts, I highlighted what were the top Evangelical peer-reviewed journals and how to access most of them (either online or via the immensely helpful Galaxie Software at $5 a month). The focus of this post will be on the strictly academic ranking of journals (laying aside theological benefit). In part three of this series I will highlight some journals that combine scholarship with spiritual/practical benefit.

For serious graduate work, having access to the top evangelical journals is not enough. You also need access to the top mainstream journals. Some of these will still be, technically, confessional (e.g., Catholic Biblical Quarterly) while some will be technically secular (e.g., Journal of Biblical Literature), but both types will focus more on the academic quality and originality of the submitted article than on theological belief. Consequently, you will find a large variety of articles ranging from liberal to conservative, post-modern to neo-orthodoxy, feminist theology, liberation theology, devoutly religious to agnostic and atheist.

I here rank the journals according to their general academic reputation in three tiers or levels. Which ones are most likely to be cited in scholarly books? To which ones do the top scholars send their prospective articles? I will mention, however, that many articles published in mainstream journals do have the potential to help committed Christians understand scripture better. For example, in a future post, I will discuss the excellent article in German by Dieter Böhler, "Liebe und Freundschaft im Johannesevangelium. Zum alttestamentlichen Hintergrund von John 21, 15-19," Biblica 96.3 (2015), available online here. Although I disagree with the author's take on the difference between Philew and Agapaw, I still greatly appreciated his perspective on how the "sheep/feeding" language in this passage is most likely drawing from Ezekiel 34. I had never thought of that before, and Böhler makes a very good argument here. In other words, I, an independent Baptist, benefited in my understanding of Scripture from a German article in a Catholic journal!

Keep in mind that the following list represents my perspective as a North American researcher and professor, so some of the European journals are under-represented (with the obvious world-class exceptions such as Biblica and Zeitschrift für neuentestamentliche Wissenschaft).

So without further ado, here are the top journals that grad students in Biblical studies need to have access to (list subject to change; some of this is my informed opinion, but much of it is the scholarly consensus, so far as I can tell). I also list the official SBL handbook (1st edition) abbreviation next to the title (with a ? where the 1st edition did not include the journal). I rank them according to 3 tiers/levels, but within those levels they are simply listed in alphabetical order (with the exception of the first 5 in Level 1).
Feel free to post in the comments if you disagree with the rankings or have suggestions on something to add!

Level 1
These are the journals universally acknowledged as top-tier, indispensable for any serious graduate level library. Except for the first five, they are all in alphabetical order.

*Journal of Biblical Literature (JBL)--probably the most widely distributed of all, with a very wide range of topics and perspectives. Has been around since 1881!
* Biblica (Bib)--the official journal of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; considered very prestigious (and has been around since 1920).
* Catholic Biblical Quarterly (CBQ)
* New Testament Studies (NTS)
* Zeitschrift für neuentestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche (ZNW)
Note: The above 5 are probably the "Big Five" for New Testament Studies.
Ephemerides theologicae lovanienses (ETL)
* Harvard Theological Review (HTR)
Hervormde teologieses studies (HvTSt)
Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR)--this would probably be the premiere journal for Jewish studies, and has been around since 1889!
* Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages (JNSL)
Journal of Theological Studies (JTS)
* Novum Testamentum (NovT)
* Old Testament Essays (OTE)
* Revue biblique (RB)
* Scottish Journal of Theology (SJT)
* Theologische Zeitschrift (TZ)
Vetus Testamentum (VT)
* Vigiliae christianae (VC)--probably the premiere journal for church history.
Zeitschrift für alttestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZAW)

Level 2
All of these belong in any decent library for biblical studies, and top scholars would gladly submit to these journals, especially if their article was a "niche" fit for such a journal. In this list I also include the top 3 evangelical journals.

* Bibel und Kirche (BK)
* Biblical Interpretation (BibInt)
* Biblical Theology Bulletin (BTB)
* Biblische Zeitschrift (BZ)
* Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (BJRL)
* Christian Scholar's Review (CSR)
* Church History (CH)
Currents in Theology and Mission (CurTM)--probably the premiere journal for missions
* Early Christianity (?)--although not listed in the SBL handbook, this fairly new journal may soon become tier-1.
* Estudio bíblicos (EstBib)
* Ex Audito (ExAud)
* Expository Times (ExpTim)
* Faith and Philosophy (?)--while technically not for Biblical studies per se, this can still be helpful since it is the top journal for Christian philosophers.
* Filologia Neotestamentaria (FilNet)--a journal devoted exclusively to the study of the Greek of the NT and its textual criticism.
* Hebrew Studies (HS)
* Interpretation (Int)
Jewish Bible Quarterly (JBQ)
* Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and  Roman Period (JSJ)
* Journal for the Study of the New Testament (JSNT)
* Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (JSOT)
* Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha (JSP)
* Journal of Early Christian Studies (JECS)
* Journal of Ecclesiastical History (JEH)
* Journal of Jewish Studies (JJS)
* Journal of Near Eastern Studies (JNES)
* Journal of Reformed Theology (JRT)
* Journal of Semitic Studies (JSS)
* Journal of Septuagint and Cognate Studies (?)--This journal used to be known as the Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies; fortunately they switched their title from 24 syllables to 10 syllables!)
* Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS)--probably the #2 academic evangelical journal.
* Judaica (Jud)
* Kerygma und Dogma (KD)
* Neotestamentica (Neot)
* Perspectives in Religious Studies (PRSt)
* Princeton Seminary Bulletin (PSB)
* Pro Ecclesia (ProEccl)
* Scandanavian Journal of the Old Testament (SJOT)
* Science and Christian Belief (S&CB)--technically not biblical studies per se, but is probably the most prestigious journal to deal with the intersection of science and Christianity. Published by the Victoria Institute.
* Semeia (Semeia)--a little bit of an avant-garde journal, if your methodology is just a bit too radical for other journals!
* The Bible Translator (BT)--the premiere journal for Bible translation theory and practice (a technical issue alternates with a more practical issue). Sometimes deals with some topics as exegesis or discourse analysis.
* Theological Studies (TS)
* Tyndale Bulletin (TynB)--the premiere evangelical academic journal, and apparently the most cited by mainstream scholarship.

Level 3
Although these journals still have a solid reputation for academic excellence, they are not as well-known and not as prestigious, and consequently not as likely to be cited by mainstream scholarship. Also, some of these journals are not peer-reviewed, or at least not as frequently.

* Acta Theologica (AcT)
* Andrews University Seminary Studies (AUSS)
* Anglican Theological Review (AThR)
* Asbury Theological Journal (AsTJ)
* Asia Journal of Theology (AJT)
* Australian Biblical Review (ABR)
* Bibleotheca Sacra (BibSac)--this is the oldest journal on the list, and as far as dispensational or pre-mil theology goes, it's probably the best (it's published by Dallas Theological Seminary).
* Bulletin for Biblical Research (BBR)
* Calvin Theological Journal (CTJ)
* Currents in Biblical Research (?)
* Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ)
* Evangelical Quarterly (EvQ)
Evangelical Review of Theology (?)
* Foi et Vie (FoiVie)
* Horizons in Biblical Theology (HBT)
* International Journal of Systematic Theology (?)
* Jahrbuch für Biblische Theologie (JBTh)
* Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament (?)--I'm really hoping this journal will get noticed and become more significant, but it's still not as well known and I've hardly ever seen it cited (though they've had some solid evangelical scholars contribute)
* Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters (?)--brand new, not mentioned in the SBL handbook, but will probably go up to tier-2.
* Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism (?)--fairly new, may move up the ladder to tier-2 soon. We'll keep an eye on how often it is cited.
* Journal of Theological Interpretation (JTI)--this fairly new journal will probably move up in the ranks soon as it continues to demonstrate its relevancy to biblical studies (currently it's the only journal I know of devoted to the "Theological Interpretation of Scripture," and it's received quite a bit of "buzz"!).
* Journal of Translation (?)--the official journal of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL); I think (though am not positively sure) that this replaced their older journal Notes on Translation.
* Journal of Translation and Textlinguistics (JOTT)
* Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (?)
Reformed Theological Review (RTR)
* Restoration Quarterly (ResQ)
* Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology (SBET)
* Southeastern Theological Review (?)--brand new (replaces the older Faith&Mission). I'm not sure if it's peer-reviewed, and it includes a lot of invited papers, but still has some immensely valuable material (like a recent issue devoted to the Pastoral Epistles, including the epic survey of scholarship by my friend Chuck Bumgardner)
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (SBJT)
* Southwestern Journal of Theology (SWJT)
* TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism (TC)
* Themelios (Them)--though technically peer-reviewed, it occasionally seems like this journal focuses more on thematic studies and invited authors. Having said that, once in a while a highly valuable, "tier-1" level article appears (I'm thinking specifically about W. Edward Glenny's recent survey of theological interpretation of the LXX)
* The Master's Seminary Journal (MSJ)--along with BSac, the best source for dispensational theology.
* Toronto Journal of Theology (TJT)--really more known for its book reviews than ground-breaking articles.
* Trinity Journal (TJ)
* Westminster Theological Journal (WTJ)


  1. Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal is DBSJ

    1. Thanks, I've made the addition

  2. Here is another list by Peter Head (2010): http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.se/2010/05/journal-rankings-for-new-testament.html?m=1

    1. Thanks for the link! Not surprised to see NTS at the very top; from what I understand they have a very wide readership.

  3. You left out Perspectives in Religious Studies, which could be put under level 2.

  4. And it is Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal, not Detroit Seminary Journal.

  5. Thanks for this list. I will be adding a permanent hyperlink to this, and the other post covering Evangelical Journals, on my own blog. Very helpful. Especially when one is considering journals for article submission.

    1. Thanks! I'm hoping to do a post in the future where I discuss which journals provide the most helpful feedback when you submit an article. I highly recommend Tyndale Bulletin in that regard; although I've never been published with them, each time I've submitted something I've always gotten constructive feedback.