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SBL Handbook of Style

A guide to using the SBL Handbook of Style.


bibliography is the list of all resources cited in your paper. SBL indicates to list all resources. Always consult with your professor.  

7.2 Alphabetizing Your Bibliography

  • Bibliography entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the author or editor. 
  • When utilizing more than one work by the same individual, alphabetize the items by title. 
  • For each item after the first, replace the author's last name with a 3-em dash. 
    • 6 hyphens is the equivalent of a 3-em dash.  When needed, place a comma and the appropriate abbreviation such as ed., after the dash.
  • When using both items written, edited, or translated by an individual and items co-authored or co-edited by the same individual, list items co-authored or co-edited after all other items.
  • Items without a named author are alphabetized by the first word of the title omitting initial articles (a, an, the).

Formatting Bibliography

  • Center and bold the word Bibliography at the top of the first page. 
  • Do not repeat this heading on additional pages.
  • Leave two blank lines before the first item in the bibliography.


  • A bibliography should be single-spaced with a blank line between entries.
  • Bibliography entries utilize hanging indentation as shown in the example below. The first line of each bibliography entry is not indented and begins at the far left margin. Each subsequent line is indented one tab or 5 spaces like a paragraph.

Sample book bibliography citation

  • Utilize the tab key rather than the space bar to achieve consistent alignment.