Aug 1, 2017

Why Christian History Doesn't Use Footnotes

Answering an oft-asked question

We've had several people write us recently asking the same question: given that we strive to be based in accurate research, why don't we use footnotes? 

Since its inception in the 1980s, Christian History has always used the format we now employ: articles written by scholars and based in the best and most current research, but written in an accessible style for a popular audience (like Smithsonian). This approach has served us well for over 120 issues.

As such, we have never included footnotes, though we have always provided a Recommended Resources page, which includes not only the sources used by our scholars, but others which they might have recommended or which we have become aware of through our own study of the topic. We always hope that this section enables people to go more in-depth for their own research.

Our scholars are hand-selected topical experts, and as such we trust them to be up-to-date, accurate, and truthful and to handle their sources thoughtfully and discerningly. Further, for each issue we enlist the services of a noted scholar-advisor who cross-checks content. Whatever authors’ personal beliefs, we ask them when writing for us to abide in the content they produce by the simple statement of faith available on our website: “Christian History Institute is aligned with no particular denomination, but adheres to the Apostles’ Creed and seeks to present the history of the global church and to see the best in each Christian tradition.”  

We feel that in the past 30 years our loyal readers have come to trust the CHI “brand” as providing accurate history in everyday language.

If you want a more academic approach to church history, you can, of course, check out our Recommended Resources in each issue. You might also enjoy two other journals: Church History (which is officially neutral about religious truth, but has some Christian contributors and editors) and Fides et Historia (the explicitly Christian official journal of the Conference on Faith and History, an organization of Christian historians.)

Image: Johannes Bo


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