Frequently Asked Questions
The following page answers the most common questions that publisher/authors, reviewers, and volunteers have posed to the RBL staff. If you have a question not addressed below, feel free to pose your question to RBL's managing editor, Bob Buller
- What types of books does RBL generally review?
RBL focuses on reviewing academic works relevant to biblical studies or its related fields. Given our goal to be timely, we typically limit reviews to works published in the past three years. Further, as a matter of policy, we do not review fictional or self-published works.
- How can I propose a work for review in RBL?
The simplest approach is simply to send a review copy to RBL (address below), so we can consider the work for possible review. If you prefer, you may email Bob Buller with information about the book (author, title, publisher, publication date, summary of book); he will contact you if RBL would like to receive a review copy.
- Where should I send a review copy for RBL?
Since the SBL's Journal of Biblical Literature no longer publishes book reviews, all review copies should be sent to:
Book Review Editor
Review of Biblical Literature
825 Houston Mill Road, Suite 350
Atlanta, GA 30329
- What happens to books submitted to but not reviewed by RBL?
Review copies that RBL receives but that are not reviewed, either because a book is not closely enough related to RBL's mission or we are unable to secure an appropriate reviewer, are donated to an Atlanta-area library. We do not return such review copies to the publisher or author.
- What guidelines am I to follow in writing my review?
Complete guidelines are provided in PDF form here. Please note especially that RBL reviews are generally around 1,500 words in length (no less than 1,000 words). In addition, reviews must be submitted in either Microsoft Word (.doc) or rich text (.rtf) format. Finally, we prefer that reviews including Greek characters use either a Unicode Greek font or SPIonic. For Hebrew, we prefer that reviewers use SPTiberian.
- How do I submit my finished review?
You can either upload the review yourself at the link provided in the email notifying you when the review copy was sent or, if necessary, email it to Bob Buller as an attachment.
- How do request an extension of my review due date?
If you are unable to meet your original deadline, you may email Bob Buller with a request for a later date. Please include the author name and title of the book, as well as your preferred due date, when making such a request.
- What should I do if a review copy does not arrive promptly?
Although the postal service does on occasion lose review copies, in most cases a book is only delayed, not lost. If you are within the United States, please wait three to four weeks after the sending of the book before contacting RBL staff about a possibly lost book. If you live outside the U.S., please wait at least a month (preferably two) before contacting RBL.
- What is the RBL policy on volunteer reviewers?
The RBL editorial board has the final discretion in assigning reviews. They seek the most qualified reviewers for works submitted, so in most cases the board first offers a review copy to one or more established scholars in the field. When we are unable to secure a reviewer, we rely on qualified volunteers. Thus, we invite SBL members to volunteer to review any available book.
- How can I volunteer to review for RBL?
SBL members who are interested in reviewing a particular book are invited to do so by following the directions on our volunteer page. Given the large volume of email that we receive each day, we ask that you not contact RBL with specific review requests or expressions of interest in broader subjects.
- How long will it take to receive a response to my volunteer offer?
It may take as little as a week or as long as several months. You will receive an email informing you of our decision once it has been made, so we ask you to wait patiently in the meantime.
- Why was my volunteer offer to review declined?
If your offer is declined, please understand that this is most likely due to one of two factors: an editor-identified reviewer has accepted our offer to review the work (see above); or, since we typically receive multiple volunteer offers for each review copy available, the book was assigned to another qualified volunteer.