Modern Author Names

Ideally, the names of modern authors would be listed in bibliographic references in the same form as they appear in their published works (CMS 14.73). However, not all authors spell their names consistently in published works, due to changes in authorial preference, editorial oversight, changes made to the legal name, or variations in publisher preferences. For this reason, SBLHS recommends that the author’s full first and last name (not just a first initial) be provided in bibliographic references whenever possible (e.g., Julius Wellhausen, not J. Wellhausen). If the author’s published name includes a middle name or initial, consistently include the middle name or initial (e.g., Bernard Brandon Scott; Jeffrey H. Tigay). Regardless of how names appear in the published work, an author should not be listed under one name for one work and under a different form of his or her name for another work. Multiple references to the same author in a bibliography should be conformed to the same style. This post discusses notable exceptions.

1. References to Author Names in the Main Text

The first time a modern author is mentioned in the main text, one should include the full form of the author’s name exactly as it is listed in the bibliography.

Julius Wellhausen states …
Bernard Brandon Scott states …
Jeffrey H. Tigay …

Subsequent references to the author can use the last name only (e.g., Wellhausen, Scott, Tigay).

2. References to Author Names in Titles

When an author’s name is mentioned in the title of another work, the author’s name should follow the form in the official published title of a volume. For example:

Logan, Alastair H. B., and Alexander J. M. Wedderburn, eds. The New Testament and Gnosis: Essays in Honour of Robert McL. Wilson. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1983.

In this title, the honoree’s name should remain Robert McL. Wilson; it should not be changed to Robert McLachlan Wilson, R. M. Wilson, or R. McL. Wilson.

3. Using Initials Only

If an author has made a habit of using initials rather than full given names, there is no need to supply those names. Thus, even if one consistently lists first names and middle initials, one would cite W. D. Davies, not William D. Davies or William David Davies. Note that initials should always be followed by a period and that a (preferably nonbreaking) space should separate initials.

4. Legal Name Changes

If an author has legally changed his or her name, each work should be listed under the name under which it was published. Add a cross-reference to the alternate name (see CMS 14.82).

Barbour, Jennie. The Story of Israel in the Book of Qohelet: Ecclesiastes as Cultural Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
———. See also Grillo, Jennifer.

Grillo, Jennie. “‘From a Far Country’: Daniel in Isaiah’s Babylon.”  JBL 136 (2017): 363–80.
———. See also Barbour, Jennie.

If the works cited are listed by only one version of the author’s name, no indication of the name change is necessary.

5. Hyphenated and Extended Names

Hyphenated last names or last names with multiple elements should alphabetize the author by the full last name.

Eilberg-Schwartz, Howard. “The Problem of the Body for the People of the Book.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 2 (1991): 1–24.

Schüssler Fiorenza, Elisabeth. “A Feminist Critical Interpretation for Liberation: Martha and Mary; Luke 10:38–42.” RIL 3 (1986): 21–35.

Trebolle Barrera, Julio. “Agreements between LXXBL, Medieval Hebrew Readings, and Variants of the Aramaic, Syriac and Vulgate Versions in Kaige and Non-kaige Sections of 3–4 Reigns.” Pages 193–206 in XIV Congress of the IOSCS: Helsinki, 2010. Edited by Melvin K. H. Peters. SCS 59. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013.

In-text citations should include all elements of an author’s name. However, if an author is generally known by a shorter form, he or she may be referred to by the shorter form after the full form has been noted.

Howard Eilberg-Schwartz has stated …. Eilberg-Schwartz goes on to argue ….

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has stated …. Schüssler Fiorenza goes on to argue ….


Julio Trebolle Barrera has stated …. Barrera goes on to argue ….

6. Names with Particles (e.g., von, de, van)


7. Non-English Names in English Contexts

See CMS 8.7–8.18.

8. Unconventional Names

Some authors prefer unconventional forms of their names (e.g., bell hooks). Such forms should be respected. In the middle of a sentence or in a bibliography, for instance, bell hooks’s name would remain lowercased:

hooks, bell. Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Boston: South End, 1990.

Reword sentences as necessary to avoid beginning with a lowercase letter:

Discouraged: bell hooks offers …

Recommended: As bell hooks offers …

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