The 2013 issue of Studies in the Bible and Antiquity has just been published and mailed. This issue includes Julie M. Smith’s insightful analysis of the anointing of Jesus in Mark’s gospel and Matthew J. Grey’s overview of some fascinating archaeological work at Huqoq, among other great pieces. You can subscribe to Studies here and read past issues here. Volume 5 will be available online soon, and when it is, I’ll post a more detailed summary of the contents.
Since this is Studies‘s fifth year of publication, it is an appropriate moment for retrospection. This post offers a glimpse at how Studies started.
Professor Brian Hauglid initiated discussions in May 2004 concerning the future of the FARMS Occasional Papers series. He regarded this series as very important among Institute publications because of its academic and flexible topicality. Admittedly, few but scholars read it. However, this commitment to publish “scholars writing for scholars” resulted in the publication of a wide-ranging selection of specialized work on religion in antiquity. Between 2000 and 2007 it published three monographs and two collections of studies on diverse subjects.
In October 2006, as the last volume of Occasional Papers was readied for press, Hauglid, Larry Morris, and I proposed that its next iteration be called Studies in the Bible and Antiquity: A Maxwell Institute Occasional Publication. As the title indicated, its primary focus would be the study of the Bible (the first Institute series with such a focus) without impeding the publication’s broader interest in religious antiquity. The Institute’s executive director, Professor Andrew Skinner, accepted the proposal. Hauglid was appointed editor and Morris associate editor (whom I replaced in 2008). In the three years intervening between proposal and publication, the Institute made one significant change to the original prospectus: Studies became a third institute journal for the same readership as its sibling periodicals—in other words, to specialist and non-specialist readers.
Publishing a journal that perfectly serves both readerships is perhaps impossible, but the Institute has more than 30 years of experience in navigating the challenges that such a diverse readership presents. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. As a BYU research unit, the Institute publishes religious scholarship for the broader university community, both students and faculty. The core readership of Studies is comprised of interested and motivated non-specialists, or what Jane Heath has called “the scholarly public.” In our case, we focus particularly on the scholarly Mormon public.
Recognition for our modest success thus far belongs foremost to our authors. Our first issue (2009) took three years to assemble and we appreciate the faith those first authors showed in entrusting their research to a new publication. We wondered if we could maintain the high standard set by that first issue on a yearly basis. We believe that we have, thanks to our talented and willing contributors. Many others have generously labored on behalf of Studies. Our advisory board members deserve special thanks for contributing articles, advice, and peer review. Securing quality peer review is a major challenge for any academic journal, so we extend gratitude to many additional peer reviewers who assisted our authors and improved the journal. We also thank the editors, interns, and other academic and administrative staff within the Institute for their assistance with Studies. Their collegiality has proven inexhaustible and their professionalism is exemplary.
This fifth issue of Studies is its last under the editorship of journal founder Brian Hauglid. Studies exists because of his initiative and has flourished under his leadership. His service to the Maxwell Institute will continue in his new appointment as director of the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies, which includes editorship of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. We invite you to check our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for future announcements on the editorships of both these publications.