Guidelines for Authors

Please consult with the Editors before submitting manuscripts

The best guideline is familiarity with the journal; see the Tables of Contents and sample articles, at this site. This page provides major policy statements, and mentions some editorial preferences.


Character. Above all, we want short pieces which contribute to the better understanding of the past. Our standard length is 2-4 pages, but 1-page notes are also welcome. A note which raises a question may be as much a contribution to scholarship as a tome which answers it. Sometimes more.

Subject Range. The first Christian Century, with emphasis on the Synoptic Gospels, the seeming Alpha or pre-Resurrection texts (the Epistle of James, the Didache, the Philippians 2 and other hymns), Paul, and the immediate post-Pauline period. Methodology as such is a constant emphasis, as is the process of text formation, and the benefit to history when the source texts for history have been properly understood.

Subject Divisions in each volume of Alpha, apart from an initial Methodology section, are historical. They are:
The First Generation
The Post-Apostolic Age

No book reviews, letters to the editor, announcements, thesis abstracts, memorial minutes, or bibliographies. For all these, there are other and better established outlets. No surveys of current scholarship, though a closely focused status quaestionis report may be useful. A study responding to someone else's previous study, however, is quite in order.

No "postmodern" approaches or presentist expositions. We take the view that the past objectively exists, and we intend to explore the past "as it was," not to expound its relevance for the present day.

Comparative Studies of more than one ancient situation are very welcome. This, or any, field should be aware of its neighbors.

Language. English. Translations of brief articles of uncommon importance, whether recent or not, are in principle acceptable. Translators should consult with the Editors, and then secure the necessary authorization from the original author or publisher. The sound work of the early 20th century scholars would be of special interest and relevance.

Audience. Professional, but not necessarily expert in your topic. Write for the physicist, or Hellenist, across the cafeteria table from you. Clarity of presentation is essential. Seriousness requires precision, but not necessarily jargon. Brevity is strongly recommended; nearly all scholars talk too long, and write too much.


Acceptance will be judged on the following criteria: (1) importance, (2) accuracy, (3) proper acknowledgement of previous work, and (4) clarity, including suitable length. The Editors, in reviewing manuscripts, will as necessary consult with others on technical points.

Copyright and Permissions. Authors should secure any needed permissions for included copyright material, including illustrations, and should submit those permissions with their manuscript. Authors are liable in case of copyright infringement.

Author Agreement. Each journal requires first serial and subsequent reprint rights, including electronic reprint rights, in order that the volume may be copyrighted for the protection of all contributors, and archived for the eventual convenience of all readers. It is understood that the paper edition of a volume may be reprinted if demand warrants, and that each volume will eventually be available in open-access form, and in one or more commercial databases. Authors retain all other rights, including publication elsewhere of revised, abridged, or extended treatments of the topic, subject only to the request that such subsequent publications contain reference to the initial publication in Alpha. To see our standard permission form, click here.


See the separate Style Sheet and Usage Page, for editorial suggestions in small matters.

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21 Oct 2012 / Contact The Editors / Exit to Alpha Home Page