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.

Jan 28, 2017

Peer-Reviewed Journals Pt 1 (and the benefits of Galaxie Software for the seminary student)

Anybody can publish (especially in an age of “e-publishing” and “self-publishing”), but whether or not what is written is worth reading is another matter altogether. For theological and biblical research, graduate school demands the highest quality of sources. This is where the concept of “peer-review” comes in to play. If a book or article has been “peer-reviewed,” this means that established scholars have read it and rendered a verdict as to its academic quality and contribution to scholarship (regardless of whether or not they agree with it). This provides a standard that (at least in theory) weeds out sloppy work, false information, and material that simply rehashes what others have said. While not a perfect system, this provides “quality assurance” at the academic level (though obviously not at the spiritual level).
            Most peer-reviewed journals are “anonymous” peer-review, which means that the articles were evaluated solely on the basis of content, not authorship. This eliminates favoritism and bias (in theory, any seminary student could be published in a mainstream journal if their work was up to par). In my next post, I will list the most important journals for graduate students to be aware of and utilize.
Many of these journals, especially the top-tier journals, are behind a “paywall,” which means they are not accessible for free unless an institution has an ATLA database subscription or something similar (ours does not). However, some journals are “partial paywall,” which means all but the last couple volumes are accessible for free online. For example, at https://www.ibr-bbr.org/bulletin-biblical-research you can access all volumes of the Bulletin for Biblical Research up through 2011. For journal websites that allow such access, my former student David Dzimianski has shown me how to search for key words and topics via google. For example, to search BBR for any articles that discuss “angels” you would type the following:   site:www.ibr-bbr.org filetype:pdf angels   Also, some journals that are “partial paywall” may not be accessible on the official website, but may be accessible through http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/articles_evangelical_quarterly.php (e.g. Evangelical Quarterly) or related sites.
            Finally, “Galaxie Software” (http://www.galaxie.com), for a recurring charge of only $5 a month, will give you fully searchable access to all or almost all of the volumes of the top evangelical journals. I believe “Logos” offers a similar option (though I am not sure if it is more expensive or cheaper than Galaxie). Also, just recently, Galaxie software added some sort of compatibility with Zotero software (I'll confess the technical details are beyond me; I don't use Zotero yet).
           I have strongly urged my seminary students to subscribe to Galaxie Software's journal library. At present they have a incredible 37 journals, fully-searchable (a few of them will not have the last two years or so available, but those become available over time). All of these are confessional journals, which means they are published by schools or organizations who would self-identify as Christian (I think almost all of them evangelical). On the one hand, the top-tier journals will be lacking (Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, etc.). However, almost all the top evangelical journals (many of which are cited by mainstream publications, not just evangelical publications) are included, including the top two evangelical journals in the world, Tyndale Bulletin and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (well, the top two according to my humble but correct opinion, at least!). In addition. other top academic evangelical journals include Bulletin for Biblical Research, Trinity Journal, Westminster Theological Journal, Bibliotheca Sacra, etc. At the academic level, the only major evangelical journals not included here, in my opinion, are Expository Times and Evangelical Quarterly.
      Not all journals in Galaxie's collection are of equal quality, of course (and some of them are more valuable for nostalgia or historical studies than academics per se). Having said that, there are a number of journals that, while less academic, are immensely helpful for pastoral studies or even personal spiritual reflection. In this category I would include Emmaus Journal, Faith and Mission (though since replaced with the more academic Southeastern Theological Review, also included in Galaxie), Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry (has some helpful material for non-Baptists, too, in my opinion), and Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry.
    Finally, for those interested in the debate on gender roles within evangelicalism, Galaxie Journals includes both sides with 1. Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Complementarian) and 2. Priscilla Papers (Egalitarian).
   At $5 a month, this is an incredible valuable resource for any seminary students or pastors who take their study time seriously (case-in-point: for a series of classes on the Trinity I'm presenting at Falls Baptist for the layman and laywoman, I have already utilized three journal articles I accessed via Galaxie for my research).
    Next post I will discuss what are the top-tier journals that graduate students and especially doctoral students need to have access to.

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