Manual of Style

Every publisher has a manual of style. So does every college for their masters and doctoral theses. CPH has one for authors. Their own variant to properly express our theology.

Turns out I sort of do as well. When I was writing Catechetics, I decided on various conventions I would follow – and some of them are rather unconventional.

1) Scripture references have only the chapter number (unless I’m quoting someone else). I don’t think it looks very good with verse numbers. I prefer the clean look. And the reason for including them is to give you a context in case you want to look it up yourself. Since giving the chapter number is roughly equivalent to a page number, I figure we don’t need the line number as well.

2) “The Word” is capitalized. It’s a proper noun in my book. It refers to a specific revelation (Holy Scripture) given by a specific person (Our Lord God). Or it refers specifically to His Son – who is a person, which makes it a title. Also included here are terms like Baptism, Holy Communion, etc.

3) I did away with the bibliography. I was planning to include one. Then I realized something – I don’t have to. Why pour through the whole text looking for any book I referenced? If someone wants to follow up on a train of thought, the footnote is right there. And a Bibliography gives all the sources – even the bad ones. That doesn’t help. Instead, I included an essential works section – other books on the topic that you’ll want to own. It isn’t as scholarly, but I think it’s more helpful.

4) For non-scholarly works (Evolution: A Defense Against) I did away with footnotes/endnotes. When I quote a book, I’ll include the author in the text, then have a title/page reference after the quote. Again, it looks cleaner, and it matches the limitations of e-readers, which don’t handle footnotes well.

Nothing earthshaking in any of this, but I was in a bookstore and saw the Chicago Manual of style earlier today, and thought, “I don’t have to follow that. That’s nice.” My mood today can best be described as “observational.”

 

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