Skip to Main Content

SBL Handbook of Style

A guide to using the SBL Handbook of Style.

Formatting Notes

Referencing Numbers:

  • Insert a superscript number directing readers to a note after referencing or quoting a source. 
  • Place the number immediately following a quotation. 
  • For referenced, but not quoted material, place the number at the end of a sentence or clause after the punctuation mark.

Spacing and Indentation:

  • Notes should be single-spaced with a blank line between items.
  • Notes are indented like a paragraph.  The first line is indented 5 spaces or a tab with subsequent lines not indented.
  • SBL recommends utilizing the tab key rather than the space bar to achieve consistent alignment.
  • The number at the beginning of each note should be a regular number with a period after.

Complex Notes:

When utilizing multiple sources in a single instance, group all of the sources together in a single note. List the sources in the order used in the text and separated by semicolons rather than periods.

Shortened Notes

When citing the same resource in subsequent notes, it is permissible to use a shortened form rather than the entire note. 

Use a Shortened Note for subsequent citations of the same work.

An author-title note provides the author's last name, title of the work, and page number separated by commas as shown below.

N: Wright,  Surprised by Hope, 30

Special Rules for Footnotes

Footnotes must begin on the page where the material is referenced. 

Place a short line or rule between the body of your paper and the first footnote. Most word processors do this automatically. 

If a footnote extends to the next page, such as in a complex footnote, mid-sentence is the best place to put the break.