SBL Handbook Tip: Formatting Names of Publishers

Yesterday, looking through the SBL Handbook (2nd Edition), I came across section Names of Presses, which lists the preferred bibliographic forms for publishers’ names (76) along with some other useful information. I’ve always struggled with discerning the format for publishers. For example, should is Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company supposed to be formatted as Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Wm. B. Eerdmans, or Eerdmans? Should the state be listed alongside the city like Wheaton, IL or left alone like Grand Rapids? All this and more is found in the handbook in section 6.1.4 pages 76ff.

This is a welcome update from the first edition, which only gives a few examples for formatting publishers and ambiguous about whether or not you include the state along with the city. Granted, not every publisher is listed but it does include over 500 publishers. If the publisher is not listed then the following guidelines are give, which is similar to the first edition:

If the title or copyright page lists more than one city, only the first city should ordinarily be used in the bibliography and notes (see CMS §14.135). When the city or publisher is not well known, reference to the state or country should be included. Be careful to do this consistently; thus if you name “Grand Rapids, MI” in one citation, you must include the state in every other citation of a publisher in Grand Rapids. On the use of two-letter postal abbreviations for state/province references, see §8.1.1 (82).

Another interesting tidbit related to publishers is

Presses named after a founder or family member are generally identified by the founder’s last name only (e.g., Brill rather than E. J. Brill; Eerdmans rather than Wm. B. Eerdmans). Presses named after a historical figure who was not a founder are identified by the full name (e.g., John Knox rather than Knox) (76).


  • Physical copy (link)
  • Kindle (link)
  • List of additions and rule changes to the second edition (link)
  • Accordance version (link)
  • Logos version (pre-order link)
  • SBL Series and Journal Abbreviations provided by Danny Zacharias (link)
  • SBL Style Guide Digital Supplement ($5) from Danny Zacharias (link), which includes:

    • Primary Literature Abbreviations
    • Serial and Abbreviations List in Word
    • How to Create a Scripture Index on a Mac
    • Screencast Tutorial for Creating an Abbreviations List
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