Editorial Guidelines

Please consult the Author Guidelines for the submission format.

NIMER normally edits to Chicago style, the chief style of the humanities. Authors whose disciplines require a different style should identify it to the editor. Particularly in the Resources section, articles may be posted in other styles.

The Author Guidelines request that articles be written in the third person. Formal writing is a requirement for the key academic articles. Exercising editorial judgment, articles normally are edited to the third person. Except in personal anecdotes, “I” is understood. The author is speaking.

Articles sometimes read like a revised presentation because they reflect more of a speaking style than a writing style. Comments like “Praise the Lord!” are more sermon oriented than academic paper oriented.

Gender references are inclusive. Use of “their” when referring to a singular subject is acceptable. “Him” or “her” should be avoided. The author may prefer to make the subject plural.

Jargon should be used sparingly. Technical terms are not always avoidable, but readers should be able to understand the arguments the author is making.  NIMER readers normally have some advanced education involving theology and philosophy and biblical languages. If the article develops a thesis that is based on the understanding of certain terms, the author should define them in the text.

Sometimes an article contains many lists – 1, 2, 3 or a, b, c and so on. Paradoxically, the more lists an article contains, the more confusing and less clear it becomes. The author should visualize how to turn some lists into narrative and retain others so that the article makes its points effectively. If an article contains many lists, it begins to read more like lecture notes than academic writing. NIMER mainly uses headings and narrative to convey the progression of arguments.

Currently, capitalizations, bolding, and italics are not used for emphasis. They are used to denote irony.  Authors are writing for intelligent readers with an interest in the subject, who can comprehend their writing without these pointers.

Spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, and note forms should be consistent. After the paper is written, a review for consistency is helpful. In addition, especially in key articles, the editor may make minor changes as per Chicago usages, e.g., twenty-first century rather than 21st century. These changes are best left to the editor as authors used to other styles are not expected to be proficient in Chicago style.

Extraneous words, words that don’t add to meaning, should be trimmed. Academic writing should be precise rather than wordy.

Words that are vague or lack content, e.g., very, interesting, excellent, in order, up, much, so, such, should be removed or replaced with a word that conveys precise meaning. After removing a non-word, the author may read the sentence out loud.  It will be seen that the sentence still conveys the full meaning.

The writing should flow. The length of the sentences and the number of commas should not make the article difficult to read. Short sentences in active voice and with appropriately placed clauses lead readers on. There are no roadblocks to trip them. Again, reading a paragraph out loud can help authors discern where to place punctuation and how long to make sentences and paragraphs.

Related to flow is the placing of information in parentheses in the text. The parentheses are almost always not needed. The information can be worked into the sentence.

Also related to flow, “this” as the subject of a sentence is a vague word that can lead to confusion as to what it modifies. The reference word should be added.

Further, if a sentence intervenes between a subject and a modifier, the subject should be named again. E.g., “Smith and Hall’s research is controversial. There have many contradictory studies. But Smith and Hall continue to maintain that their results are relevant.”

For flow, sometimes the editor may choose a Chicago style format that applies more consistently throughout NIMER. For example, different styles and news outlets use different varying formats for the word, “covid.” Chicago style’s is COVID-19. Chicago style also spells out centuries, as in “the twentieth century.”

A synonym should be inserted if a word has been used repetitively or too close to the previous use.

A basic edit includes looking for redundancies, incomplete sentences, misspellings, and missed punctuation. An example that appears often is that Ibid is followed by a period. If a page is being referred to, Ibid., is followed by a comma and the page number. P. or pp. no longer included. Ibid. is not italicized because it is in common use.

Words like “Old Testament” are spelled out in the text unless the first usage is followed with parentheses enclosing the abbreviation that will be used from then on.

When a Bible book is referred to generally, Chicago style spells out the name of the book in the text and uses abbreviations, with or without periods, in parentheses. When referring to specific verses, authors may abbreviate the name of the book in the text.

The abbreviation of the English translation cited should follow the first biblical reference. If other translations are used, their abbreviations should be noted.

Bible is capitalized but scripture is not. Gospel and Epistle are capitalized unless they occur frequently.

Many words that are capitalized as nouns are not capitalized as adjectives unless part of a title in which the main words are capped. E.g., Bible, biblical, Biblical Studies.

Chicago style does not require periods for abbreviations. NIMER does not include periods. E.g., B.C.E is BCE.

Following the Author Guidelines, authors submit articles in 12-point Times New Roman in a traditional paper format. When the article is set up for posting, the format for HTML is a space rather than an indent, notes follow the article, and the type is changed to 14 point. This is an editorial decision for clarity. The format for the PDF article (the download) is the traditional article format with indented paragraphs, single spacing and footnotes. For clarity, the PDF also uses mainly 14-point type.

Quotes over four lines are block quotations. Block quotations are not enclosed in quotation marks.

Quotes are copied as is. Authors who add italics, bolding, etc., to quotes should indicate that they have done so. E.g., (bolding added).

For even spacing between letters, the narrative is justified to the left rather than between the margins.

If the article has been submitted well before posting, the editor will consult the author about editorial changes or send the edited article to the author for comment. If the consultation has not concluded before posting, the article may be deferred to the next issue.