Author guidelines

Instructions to authors 
(download instructions)

1. Acta Theologica is an accredited, South African journal publishing independently reviewed research articles on broad Christian-theological and religion topics, aimed at a national and international academic audience/readership. The Editorial Board accepts and considers for possible publication articles in English, written from a responsible point of view on subjects in a relevant field of study within the Christian-theology science. In the Supplementa articles in English, Afrikaans, German and Dutch will be considered. Manuscripts should be between 4000 and 7000 words. By submitting the article to the journal, the author gives permission to the journal to publish their article once it is accepted for publication.
2. Authors must have an ORCid. Registration is free at Manuscripts may be submitted to the editor by e-mail to and from 1 January 2018 via the website . The same author cannot publish more than once a year in Acta Theologica. All authors listed must have contributed to the article.
3. As Acta Theologica is an accredited journal, a page fee of R250 (plus VAT) per page is levied (The fee is subject to change). Such fees may be recouped from earnings on research publications. Authors do not bear the costs of articles, but receive accounts for submission to the management of the university or other institution where the author is employed. Only authors affiliated to South African Higher Education Institutions are eligible for page fees.
4. The author of an article receives one free copy of the specific issue of the journal.
5. Articles submitted to Acta Theologica will be tested for plagiarism.
6. All contributions are reviewed on academic grounds. Refereeing is always anonymous.
7. There are three levels of review: self-review by the author, pre-review by at least two members of the editorial board and lastly, review by two independent referees.
8. Manuscripts of high scientific standard according to set guidelines are considered for publication provided that the editor reserves the right to make such alterations as he sees fit to accommodate the style and presentation to the editorial policy. Should extensive changes be necessary, the manuscript will be returned to the author for correction or approval.
9. Manuscripts are to be submitted in the first instance ready for the press: finally edited, stylistically polished and carefully proofread. SBL fonts should be used for Greek and Hebrew texts. They are available at:
10. Titles should be as short and concise as possible.
11. Articles should preferably be divided into subsections with suitable headings. Headings and subheadings should be indicated by means of Arabic figures, for example 3 being followed by 3.1, 3.1.1 and (at most).
12. All articles must be provided with an edited abstract (a summary in English) not exceeding 150 words. If the article is not in English (in special issues) the abstract should be between 150 and 250 words.
13. Three to four key words in both English and Afrikaans should be provided at the end of the article. These should accurately render the discipline in which the article is written as well as the specific contribution of the article.
14. Abbreviations and acronyms should be avoided. Acronyms in current use, for example USA, are acceptable. Abbreviations can be used in footnotes and between parentheses.
15. Italics (not bold or underlined) may only be used to indicate emphasis, a word or expression from another language, or the title of a book.
16. Quotes shorter than 20 words are placed in quotation marks as part of the text. Quotes of 20 words and more form a separate paragraph indented without quotation marks.
17. References in the text should be in the Harvard style, mentioning only the author’s name as follows: (Young 2004:231, 272) or Young (2004:231, 272) alleges that …
Please note:
• No comma after the author’s surname.
• No space after the colon.
• References to works by Classical or Middle Ages authors should mention the name of the author, the Latin/Greek title of the work (italics), and the reference to the book, chapter, paragraph or sentence (in Arabic figures with full stops), for example: Vergilius (Aeneis 12.601) or Cicero (de Officiis 1.13.2).

18. Quotations and references in footnotes are similar to quotations and references in the text (See 12 and 13).
19. If figures, tables, illustrations, photographs, etc. from other sources are included in the article it will be deemed that the author has the appropriate permission.
20. All manuscripts reporting studies with humans or human data, including studies that involve primary collection of personal data such as surveys or interviews, must state the relevant Research Ethics Committee or Institutional Review Board provided (or waived) approval. Please ensure that you have provided the full name and institution of the review committee, in addition to the approval number. Please include these details on the title page of your submission.
For research articles, authors are also required to state in the methods section whether participants provided informed consent and whether the consent was written or verbal.
21. Please visit the journal’s website for policies on plagiarism, corrections, conflict of interest, copyright, etc.
22. Bibliographical details are provided in the literature list and not in footnotes. A complete bibliography in the Harvard style must be provided, giving all relevant details. All sources must be listed alphabetically by authors’ surnames. Only works referred to in the text should be listed in the bibliography. The following is a guideline to be used:


2012. Research paradigms and their use and importance in theological inquiry and education. Journal of Education and Christian Belief 16(1):23-40.

Please note:
• Comma after the surname. 

• Full stops after the initials. If there is more than one initial, there is no space 
between the initials. 

• Use capital letters in the title only where absolutely necessary. 

• Only title of journal is in italics. 

• No spaces between issue number, colon and page numbers. 

• You are welcome to use abbreviations for journals, but should you suspect 
that the reader will not know which journal is referred to, you may write the title out in full. Abbreviations for journals may be found in The SBL Handbook of Style (PDF available on web) or Abkürzungen Theologie und Religionswissenschaft nach RGG4 

• Please add DOI-number if it is available. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) a unique alphanumeric string assigned by the International DOI Foundation providing a persistent link to the location of content on the internet, thus helping researchers to find it easily. DOI-numbers may be found at 

2002. Die Kunst der Argumentation bei Paulus. Studien zur antiken Rhetorik. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. WUNT 1.149.

1995. Trinitarian theology today. Essays on divine being and act. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Please note:
• Comma after the surname.
• Full stops after the initials. If there is more than one initial, there is no space between the initials.
• Use capital letters in the title only where absolutely necessary.
• Only title of book is in italics.
• No space before colon after place of publication.
• The series in which the book appears is mentioned at the end and not placed in brackets.

Articles in books with an editor:
1997. Finding the way to Paul’s theology. In: J.M. Bassler (ed.), Pauline theology. Vol 1. Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon (Minneapolis: Fortress, SBLSS 4), pp. 3-21.

Please note:
• The reference is similar to the one for an ordinary book, except that “In:” is added, the editor(s) is/are named and the reference to the place of publication, publisher and series are placed in brackets so that the reference to the page numbers reads more easily. Furthermore, pp. is used.

Newspaper reports:
When the author is not mentioned:
2001. Aborsie nie aanvaarbaar. 15 June, p. 23.

When the author is mentioned:
2002. Die pad vorentoe. Die Volksblad 23 July, p. 2.

When the person concerned is mentioned:
2003. Nuwe onderwysbedeling. Die Volksblad 4 December, p. 9.

Web pages:
Web page (author and date of publication mentioned)
2002. Teologie in ’n nuwe eeu. [Online.] Retrieved from:
http:// [5 January 2003].
Web page (no author)
Teologie in ’n nuwe eeu.
1989. [Online.] Retrieved from:
http://www. [5 January 2003].

Web page (author; no date of publication)
[s.a.] Teologie in ’n nuwe eeu. [Online.] Retrieved from:
http:// [5 January 2003].

Electronic sources:

2011. ’n Waardering vir die positiewe! Waarderende betrokkenheid as ’n gemeentelike- en pastorale lens. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 67(2):1–7. Retrieved from: [22 January 2014].


2012. Viral. How social networking is poised to ignite revival. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook press. (Kindle edition.)

Conference contributions:
In text: The many manifolds are not confusing to the professional, says Clark and Smith (2002).
In bibliography:
2002. Latest research on car exhaust manifolds. In: L. Macadam(ed.), 17th international conference on strain analysis London, UK, 23–25 September 2010 (London: Professional Engineering Publishing), pp.12–14.

Government publications:
In text: If there is no obvious author or editor, cite the sponsoring agency as the author:
There will be research done on the topic of education and science (Department of Education, Science & Training 2000).
In bibliography:
Give the name of the ministry or agency that has issued the document:
2000. Annual Report 1999-2000. Canberra: AGPS.

Images, videos, podcasts and songs:

a) Images
The image format must be mentioned in square brackets (e.g. ‘Photograph’, ‘Oil on canvas’) in square brackets.
In text (under image): Squirrel found in city park (Taylor 2020).
In bibliography:
2020. Grey squirrel [Photograph]. [Online.] Retrieved from: [11 May 2020].

b) Videos
Online videos, such as those on Vimeo, YouTube, Dailymotion and Instagram, are cited similarly to general web pages. Where a video is uploaded under the name of an individual, write the name in the usual format. Otherwise, write the username of the uploader as it appears on the site.
If you want to locate a specific point in a video in an in-text citation, you can do so using a timestamp.
In text: The concept of plagiarism is clearly described in the video by Scribbr (2020: 1:58). (It refers to the time minutes: seconds in the video where the words are said.)
In bibliography:
2020. What is plagiarism? 23 January. [Online.] Retrieved from: [14 May 2020].

c) Podcasts
Use the name of the individual episode, not the whole series. The word ‘Podcast’ is always included in square brackets. As with videos, you can use a timestamp to locate a specific point in the in-text citation.
In text: It is a strange world to destroy (Carlin 2017: 25:55) (It refers to the time minutes: seconds in the video where the words are said.)
In bibliography:
2017. The destroyer of worlds [Podcast]. 24 January. [Online.] Retrieved from: [11 May 2020].

d) Songs
In text: "There is nothing more important than conservation, because conservation is the preservation of humans on earth" (Stewart 2013).
In bibliography:
Stewart, R.
2013. Revolution - Official Trailer. [Online.] Youtube. Retrieved from: [18 June 2014].

Social Media:
a) Blog
In text: In one of his recent posts, Rakich (2020) argues the place of Biden in the Democratic party.
In bibliography:
2020. “How does Biden stack up to past Democratic nominees?”, FiveThirtyEight, 28 April. [Online.] Retrieved from: [29 April 2020].

b) Facebook, Twitter, etc
Include the username and the platform in square brackets when refering to social media. Write usernames the way they appear on the platform.
Use the title of the post if it has one (in quotation marks). The text of the post can be used where there is no title.
In text: Public conversation must be more civil, according to Dorsey (2018).
In bibliography:
DORSEY, J. [@jack]
2018. We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation … [Twitter] 1 March. [Online.] Retrieved from: [11 May 2020].


Gn. 1 Ki. Ec. Ob.
Ex. 2 Ki. Can. Jnh.
Lv. 1 Chr. Is. Mi.
Nm. 2 Chr. Jr. Nah.
Dt. Ezr. Lm. Hab.
Jos. Neh. Ezk. Zph.
Jdg. Es. Dn. Hg.
Ruth Job Hs. Zch.
1 Sm. Ps. Jl. Ml.
2 Sm. Pr. Am.

Mt. 2 Cor. 1 Tm. 2 Pt.
Mk. Gl. 2 Tm. 1 Jn.
Lk. Eph. Tt. 2 Jn.
Jn. Phlp. Phlm. 2 Jn.
Ac. Col. Heb. Jude
Rm. 1 Th. Ja. Rv.
1 Cor. 2 Th. 1 Pt.

Additional guidelines to keep in mind:
• Capitalisation:

o Use lower case for all academic and scientific disciplines, except when used to indicate the name of an academic department or a particular module. Thus: systematic theology, missiology, practical theology, humanities, theology, etc., as well as systematic theologians, practical theologians, etc. Exception: The Department of Systematic Theology/Department of Missiology ... /I enrolled for New Testament Studies 101.
o Use lower case when referring to theological orientations. Examples: A new development was liberation theology/black theology ...
o Christology and Christological: Always use a capital C.

o Trinity, Trinitarian: Always use a capital T. However, in the case of “triune” a lower case is used.

o Scripture and Bible: Always use capital letters. However, in the case of “scriptural” and “biblical” lower case letters are used.
o For the word “apartheid” use a lower case “a”.
o Church Fathers: Use capital C and F.

• Other issues:

o Use British English.
o Use “see” instead of “cf.”

o No commas after e.g. and i.e.

o When both s and z are possible, use the s-form. Examples: naturalise, systematise, materialise.

o Gospel with a capital letter only to be used when referring to the Four Gospels; when referring to the gospel message (in general), use lower case. Example: According to the Gospel of Mark ...; The gospel proclaimed by Paul ...
o In the case of personal names ending on an s no extra s is used when an apostrophe s is used. Examples: Jesus’ ...; Judas’ ...

o In the case of compound words with “post” a hyphen is used. Example: post-apartheid/post-colonial.
o Pronouns referring to the Godhead (i.e., he, him, his) should not be capitalised.
o Use “ throughout and not ‘ (except when referring within another quote).