Repeating Information: Text versus Footnote

Traditional bibliographic style uses footnotes to cite sources. At times a writer may also wish to mention the author and/or the title of the source in the main text. In such cases, some writers choose to abbreviate the footnote, excluding information that has already been mentioned in the main text. For example:

De Wette’s devastating critique of the Chronicler precisely as historian arose out of his case against the Mosaic authorship of pentateuchal legislation and was a necessary corollary of it.1

1. Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 2 vols. (Halle: Schimmelpfennig, 1806–1807).

The Chronicler’s History followed some years later, and this translation included the appendix on the implications for the Pentateuch of Noth’s Deuteronomistic hypothesis.2

2. Trans. H. G. M. Williamson, JSOTSup 50 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1987).

In the first example, the writer has omitted the author’s last name from the footnote because it is mentioned in the main text. In the second example, both the author’s last name and the title have been omitted.

SBL Press discourages the abbreviation of footnotes in this manner. Rather, we recommend that writers include the full bibliographic citation in the footnote or its shortened form as appropriate (see our post here for the formatting of subsequent references to the same source).

De Wette’s devastating critique of the Chronicler precisely as historian arose out of his case against the Mosaic authorship of pentateuchal legislation and was a necessary corollary of it.1

1. Wilhelm M. L. de Wette, Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 2 vols. (Halle: Schimmelpfennig, 1806–1807).

The Chronicler’s History followed some years later, and this translation included the appendix on the implications for the Pentateuch of Noth’s Deuteronomistic hypothesis.2

2. Martin Noth, The Chronicler’s History, trans. H. G. M. Williamson, JSOTSup 50 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1987).

With such repetition, the reader is able to locate key bibliographic data quickly without needing to search for it in the main text.

Works Cited

Examples in this post have been modified from Auld (forthcoming) to illustrate the concepts discussed here. They do not reflect the author’s preference or personal style.

Auld, A. Graeme. Forthcoming. Life in Kings: Reshaping the Royal Story in the Hebrew Bible. AIL 30. Atlanta: SBL Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s