SBLHS 2 §8.3.8 provides two sets of spellings for tractates from the Mishnah, Talmud, and related rabbinic literature: one according to a technical transliteration style, the other following a general-purpose transliteration style. The same section provides a single set of abbreviations for these works based on the technical transliteration style.
Needless to say, offering two sets of tractate spellings can be confusing, as authors wonder which of the two they are to use in a given context. Providing a single set of abbreviations for both sets that is based on the spellings found in only one set only exacerbates the potential for confusion. In fact, it creates a situation in which one might reference the entire tractate m. Bava Metzi’a (general-purpose) in one paragraph but cite the specific text m. B. Meṣ. 2:2 (technical) in the following one. The different spellings obscure the fact that the same work is in view in both places.
To promote clarity and to bring SBLHS’s preferred style for mishnaic, talmudic, and related works into conformity with the treatment of other ancient works, we are revising the guidelines offered in §8.3.8 in two significant ways.
- Because SBLHS does not offer two sets of spellings for any other body of ancient works, we are instituting a single standard for the spellings of mishnaic, talmudic, and related works.
- Because SBLHS defaults to a general-purpose transliteration style with other ancient works, we will do the same for this corpus.
Each point requires clarification. (1) By stating that we are instituting a single standard for the titles of these works, we are not implying that the alternate way is incorrect. We mean only that, for the purposes of SBL style, the single standard is strongly preferred. (2) Specifying the general-purpose spellings of mishnaic, talmudic, and related works promotes consistency with our treatment of other ancient works. For example, SBLHS refers to Enuma Elish, not Enuma Eliš, and to Atrahasis, not Atraḫasis (see §§188.8.131.52, 4.3.6). Most obviously, we write Mishnah, not Mišnah. SBLHS does, of course, specify full transliterations for qur’anic and Islamic titles (see §184.108.40.206), but one should note that these are full technical transliterations that also mark vowel length. SBLHS nowhere else transliterates titles in the partially technical, partially general manner seen in the first two columns of §8.3.8.
In light of all these considerations, SBLHS now prefers the following spellings and abbreviations of mishnaic, talmudic, and related works. These spellings and abbreviations are to be used in all types of writing, whether technical or for the general reader. Notes: (1) Initial aleph and ayin are not transliterated. (2) Medial aleph and ayin are transliterated, both with an apostrophe (’).
Mishnah and Talmud Tractates
|Avodah Zarah||Avod. Zar.|
|Bava Batra||B. Bat.|
|Bava Metzi’a||B. Metz.|
|Bava Qamma||B. Qam.|
|Betzah (= Yom Tov)||Betzah|
|Ma’aser Sheni||Ma’as. Sh.|
|Mo’ed Qatan||Mo’ed Qat.|
|Rosh Hashanah||Rosh Hash.|
|Tevul Yom||T. Yom.|
Other Rabbinic Works (§8.3.10)
|Avot of Rabbi Nathan||Avot R. Nat.|
|Aggadat Bereshit||Ag. Ber.|
|Derekh Eretz Rabbah||Der. Er. Rab.|
|Derekh Eretz Zuta||Der. Er. Zut.|
|Kallah Rabbati||Kallah Rab.|
|Massekhtot Qetannot||Mas. Qet.|
|Pesiqta Rabbati||Pesiq. Rab.|
|Pesiqta of Rab Kahana||Pesiq. Rab Kah.|
|Pirqe Rabbi Eliezer||Pirqe R. El.|
|Rabbah||Rab. (e.g., Gen. Rab.)|
|Seder Eliyahu Rabbah||S. Eli. Rab.|
|Seder Eliyahu Zuta||S. Eli. Zut.|
|Sefer Torah||Sef. Torah|
|Seder Olam Rabbah||S. Olam Rab.|
Applying the same principles to SBLHS §8.3.9, we now prefer Targum Yerushalmi I and II, not Targum Yerušalmi I and II.
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Should the abbreviation of tractate Zavim really be “Zabim”?
Thank you for noticing the inconsistency. We have updated our post so that the abbreviation now matches the nontechnical transliteration of the tractate’s title.
as to the current Gen. Rab, Exod. Rab etc., this is not in line with the abbreviations of biblical books which are without period: Gen, Exod etc.
This is a case in which we match the name of the biblical book to the other element of the work/abbreviation. Thus, since Rab. uses a period, we use a period with Gen. and Exod.