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Religious & Classical Works

The following list contains examples of references formatted for Religious and Classic materials. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) offers some guidelines for referencing Biblical and Scriptural materials, but if significant scholarship in Theology is being conducted, CMS recommends the use of The SBL Handbook of Style.

The Chicago Manual of Style chapter numbers are included so that more information can be located easily in either the print or online manual.  Use the numbers as a reference for the relevant sections in the print volume, or link straight through to the Chicago Manual of Style Online from this guide.

Click on the links below to learn more about:

Footnote Style Examples  |   Biblical Book Abbreviations  |  Explanatory Notes

Footnote & Bibliography examples

Bible: 10.46 & 14.253

Biblical book names are used in full in running text:

... According to Genesis 1:27, God created man in his own image.

Abbreviations of the Biblical books may be used within the text in parentheses, or where there are many references to list without parentheses:

... There are several instances where bread is used in a figurative context (Isa 55:2; 1 Cor 10:17; 2 Cor 9:10)...

... Bread is used in a figurative context in Isa 55:2; 1 Cor 10:17; 2 Cor 9:10...

or in footnotes:

5.   Isa 55:2; 1 Cor 10:17; 2 Cor 9:10.

See below for Biblical book abbreviations. 

Other Sacred Texts: 14.255

Like the Bible, sacred works of other religious traditions should be cited in text.

...can be compared to the Qur'an verse (19:17-21) where it mentions that Mary gave birth to Jesus.

Classics - Ancient: 14.256
Classics - Modern works: 14.265
Conciliar Documents - Second Vatican Council
Conciliar Documents - Council of Trent
Papal Documents
Summa Theologiae
Works by saints: 14.74

Biblical book abbreviations

There are several possible ways to abbreviate biblical books.  The School of Philosophy & Theology prefers the use of the SBL version as follows:

Scriptural Abbreviations^ (used without a full stop):
Old Testament Gen Exod Lev Num Deut Josh
  Judg Ruth 1-2 Sam 1-2 Kgs 1-2 Chr Ezra
  Neh Esth Job Ps/Pss Prov Eccl (or Qoh)
  Song or (Cant) Isa Jer Lam Ezek Dan
  Hos Joel Amos Obad Jonah Mic
  Nah Hab Zeph Hag Zech Mal
Deuterocanoncial Bar Add Dan Pr Azar Bel Sg Three Sus
  1-2 Esd Add Esth Jdt 1-4 Macc Pr Man Sir
  Tob Wis Ep Jer      
New Testament Matt Mark Luke John Acts Rom
  1-2 Cor Gal Eph Phil Col 1-2 Thess
  1-2 Tim Titus Phlm Heb Jas 1-2 Pet
  1-3 John Jude Rev      

^From: Patrick H. Alexander and the Society of Biblical Literature, eds., The SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient near Eastern, Biblical and Early Christian Studies (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1999), 73-74.

Explanatory notes


"References to the Jewish or Christian scriptures usually appear in text citations or notes rather than in bibliographies.

Parenthetical or note references to the Bible should include book (in roman and usually abbreviated), chapter, and versenever a page number.

A colon is used between chapter and verse. Note that the traditional abbreviations use periods but the shorter forms do not."

Identify which version is being referred to in your paper in the first footnote, e.g.

           6. 2 Kings 11:8 (New Revised Standard Version).



14.74 Single names:

Authors known only by their given name (and not by any surname) are listed by that name. E.g. Augustine, Plato, John Paul II.

14.75 Name order:

In a footnote, the author’s name is given in the normal order (first name first). In the short form of the citation, only the last name is given.

In a bibliography, where names are arranged alphabetically, the first (or only) author's name is inverted (last name first); other authors remain in normal order.

14.76 Four or more authors:

In a footnote (full and short forms), cite only the name of the first-listed author, followed by et al.

In a bibliography, with four or more authors, list all the authors. Word order and punctuation are the same as for the bibliography rule for two or three authors.

See also:

14.63-66 Repeated names in a bibliography: the 3-em dash
14.79 Anonymous works
14.92 Organisations as authors



"Titles of [classical] works and published collections are italicized whether given in full or abbreviated (see 14.258). Latin and transliterated Greek titles are capitalized sentence-style"



DOIs are preferred to URLs.  In a citation, it should be written doi:10.1086/ahr.133.3.752 There is no space after the colon, and no http://