Purpose:

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 100+ Academic Journals for Biblical Studies (Ranked)

[Progressively updated as I get feedback, etc. Most recently updated 3/12/2021.]

Click here to skip this introductory stuff and jump down to the list of journals.

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 (except for those well-known, top-class journals such as Biblica and Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche 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! 


The Journals:
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.


The "Big Five" for NT studies:
*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 die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft (ZNW) (first published in 1900!)

Other tier-1 journals:
Aramaic Studies (?) Covers more than (but includes) biblical studies, and is probably the top journal in its field of the ancient Aramaic language.
Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) Although not technically a biblical studies journal per se, it publishes broadly on ANE research and thus includes articles on biblical studies. In the broad realm of ANE studies, BASOR is probably the top journal.
Dead Sea Discoveries (DSD) As the title indicates, this is another journal that is not strictly about biblical studies, per se, though it includes it. In so far as the Dead Sea Scrolls go, however, this is the top journal.
Ephemerides theologicae lovanienses (ETL)
* Harvard Theological Review (HTR)
Hervormde teologieses studies (HvTSt)--note that this journal is completely open access, including its most recent issues!
* The Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR)--this would probably be the premiere journal for Jewish studies, and has been around since 1889!
Journal of Early Christian Studies (JECS) [formerly known as 
The Second Century (SecCent)], published by The North American Patristics Society.
* Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages (JNSL)
Journal of Theological Studies (JTS)
* Maarav: A Journal for the Study of the Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures (Maarav)
* Mission Studies (?)--published by Brill, this is probably the premiere journal for missiology and the relationship between Christianity and world society and culture.
* 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 4 evangelical journals.

Upper-tier Level 2:
[These are those journals that, quite frankly, are better than most level-2 journals, but just short of being in the same category as JBL or NTS.]
Interpretation (Int)
Journal for the Study of the New Testament (JSNT)
Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (JSOT)
Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionphilosophie (Neue Z. Syst. Theol. Relig. [?])
Tyndale Bulletin (TynB)--the premiere evangelical academic journal, and apparently the most cited by mainstream scholarship.

The rest of level 2: 
* Bibel und Kirche (BK)
The Bible Translator (BT)--the premiere journal for Bible translation theory and practice. Contains both technical and practically-minded articles. Sometimes deals with issues of exegesis or discourse analysis.
* Biblical Interpretation (BibInt)
* Biblical Theology Bulletin (BTB)
* Biblische Zeitschrift (BZ)
* Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (BJRL)
* Christian Research Journal (CRJ)
* 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.
* Estudios bíblicos (EstBib)
Evangelical Quarterly (EvQ)
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.
* Fides et Historia (?)
* Filologia Neotestamentaria (FilNet)--a journal devoted exclusively to the study of the Greek of the NT and its textual criticism.
* Hebrew Studies (HS)
* Heythrop Journal (HeyJ)
International Journal of Systematic Theology (IJST)
* Irish Theological Quarterly (ITQ)
* Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ)
Jewish Bible Quarterly (JBQ)
* Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and  Roman Periods (JSJ)
* Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha (JSP)
* Journal of Ecclesiastical History (JEH)
* Journal of Ecumenical Studies
* Journal of Greek Linguistics (?)
* Journal of Hebrew Scriptures (?)
* Journal of Jewish Studies (JJS)
* Journal of Near Eastern Studies (JNES)
* Journal of Reformed Theology (JRT)
* Journal of Pentecostal Theology (JPT)
* 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 Bible and Its Reception (JBRec)--a very new journal (first issue was 2014) published by the Society of Biblical Literature.
* Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS)--probably the #2 academic evangelical journal.
* Judaica (Jud)
* Kerygma und Dogma (KD)
* La nouvelle revue théologique (NRTh)
* Lešonénu: A Journal for the Study of the Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects (?)
* Modern Theology (MOTH)
* New Blackfriars (NBf)
* Neotestamentica (Neot)
* Perspectives in Religious Studies (PRSt)
* Pneuma (Pneuma)
* Princeton Seminary Bulletin (PSB)
* Pro Ecclesia (ProEccl)
* Prooftexts: A Journal of Jewish literary History (Proof)
* Religious Studies (RelS)
* La Revue de Qumrân (RevQ)
* 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!
* Sixteenth Century Journal (?)--for those interested in the era of the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Radical Reformation, this is a key journal. It publishes religious, political, and social studies.
* Studia Theologica (ST)
* Studies in Christian Ethics (?)
* Svensk exegetisk årsbok (SEÅ)
* Textus: A Journal on Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
* Theological Studies (TS)
Theologische Rundschau (TRu)
* Theology Today (ThTo)
* Zeitschrift für Antikes Christentum (ZAC), a.k.a. Journal of Ancient Christianity
* Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche (ZTK)

Level 3
Although these journals may still have a solid reputation for academic quality, they are not as well-known or 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, and some of these are very niche to a particular theological or ecclesiastical persuasion.

* Acta Theologica (AcT)
* Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology (?)
* Andrews University Seminary Studies (AUSS)
* Anglican Theological Review (AThR)
* Asbury Theological Journal (AsTJ)
* Ashland Theological Journal (ATJ)
* Asia Journal of Theology (AJT)
* Australian Biblical Review (ABR)
* Bibleotheca Sacra (BibSac)--this is one of the oldest journals 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).
* Biblical and Ancient Greek Linguistics (BAGL)--open-access, published by MacMaster Divinity College
* Biblical Research (BR)--produced by the Chicago Society of Biblical Research (note that many of their articles are by members and invited guests, though they will still consider unsolicited manuscripts) 
* Bulletin for Biblical Research (BBR)
* Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology (?)
* Calvin Theological Journal (CTJ)
* Churchman (Chm)
Church History and Religious Culture (?)
* Concordia Theological Quarterly (CTQ)
* Criswell Theological Review (CTR)
* Currents in Biblical Research (?)
* Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ)
* Emmaus Journal (?)
* European Journal of Theology (EuroJTH)
Evangelical Review of Theology (?)
* Foi et Vie (FoiVie)
* Horizons in Biblical Theology (HBT)
* International Review of Mission (?)
* Jahrbuch für Biblische Theologie (JBTh)
* Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry (JBTM)--a bit more practically-oriented than many in this list (and I'm not sure to what degree it's peer-reviewed), but still includes some solid scholars as contributors.
* 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 Ancient Judaism (?)
* Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies (?)--fairly new, produced by Grand Canyon Theological Seminary
* Journal of Dispensational Theology (?)
* 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 the Society of Christian Ethics (JSCE)
* 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)
* Kirche und Israel (?)
* Laval théologique et philosophique (LTP)
* Lectio difficillior (?): as best as I can figure, this is a brand new, online-only journal that focuses on feminist criticism/exegesis. Any clarifications on this new journal are welcome! Click here for the link to their website [b/c otherwise simply running a Google search of "lectio difficilior" would probably not take you there]
* Missiology: An International Review (?)
* Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (?)
* Puritan Reformed Journal (PRJ)
Reformed Theological Review (RTR)
* Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception (?) (online: here). This journal focuses mostly on book reviews.
* Review and Expositor (RevExp)
* Restoration Quarterly (ResQ)
* Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology (SBET)
* Sewanee Theological Review (STRev)
* Southeastern Theological Review (SETR)--fairly new (replaces the older Faith & Mission).
Southern Baptist Journal of Theology (SBJT)
* Southwestern Journal of Theology (SWJT)
* Studies in World Christianity (?)
* 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 article appears (I'm thinking specifically about W. Edward Glenny's recent survey of theological interpretation of the LXX)
* The Conrad Grebel Review (?)
* The Master's Seminary Journal (MSJ)--along with BSac, the best source for dispensational theology.
* The Princeton Theological Review (?)
* Toronto Journal of Theology (TJT)--really more known for its book reviews than ground-breaking articles.
* Trinity Journal (TJ)
* Westminster Theological Journal (WTJ)
* Word and World (WW)




24 comments:

  1. Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal is DBSJ

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

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

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

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

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  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.

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    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.

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  6. I was surprised to see JPT (Journal of Pentecostal Theology) and Pneuma not listed.

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    Replies
    1. Good point; no excuse for Pneuma, since I've seen them around (I'm less familiar with JPT). I've put them both up at Level 2, since they're published by Brill.

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  7. Where would the Journal of Biblical and Theological Studies (Wipf and Stock) fall?

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  8. A good question; I'd forgotten about them since they're fairly new. I've added them at Tier 3. I've seen some legitimate scholars publish material in the journal, but I have not yet seen material from the journal itself cited in an academic publication. We'll have to wait and see.

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    Replies
    1. I believe you're correct about Tier 3. Thanks!

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  9. JECS is the journal of NAPS (North American Patristics Society) and is tier 1. I would also include JSNT in tier 1. Many, many important articles have been published there.

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  10. Thanks, I've bumped up JECS to tier #1. I'm still debating JSNT. I would definitely agree that it's a step above almost all of the journals that I have listed in Tier 2, I just don't feel it's quite there with NTS and NovT, but I'm willing to reconsider. I'll start reviewing the secondary literature again and see how often it occurs compared to the others (keeping in mind how often each one is published yearly)

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  11. A couple of journals worth considering, though they are more systematics and philosophy of religion journals.

    1. Religious Studies (at least tier 2)
    2. Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie (I would say tier 2. Check out the editorial board).
    3. Churchman (Probably a tier 3, maybe a 2. It’s had some really strong publications, and it’s been around, though by different titles, since the late 19th century).

    Two other notes.

    1. I did not see the Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry listed though it was in post 1. Wasn’t sure if it was intentional or an oversight.
    2. The abbreviation for Modern Theology is MOTH.
    3. I think International Journal of Systematic Theology ranks as a tier 2. Many, I dare say most, theologians rank it on level with Scottish Journal of Theology.

    Be try informative list. I greatly appreciate this.

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  12. The abbreviation for International Journal of Systematic Theology is IJST.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, that was very helpful. Systematic theology is my weakness, so I'm less informed of the top journals. I've added those you mentioned, added in the abbreviations, and bumped IJST to tier-2 (also added in JBTM to tier three; not sure why I had forgotten about that).

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. The spelling needs to be corrected for the Zeitschrift für neutestamentliche Wissenschaft.

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  15. These are trivial, but a couple more typos: (1) "Estudios Biblicos" needs an "s" at the end of the noun; (2) "Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods" needs an "s" at the end.

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