Ranking Religious Studies Journals

Ranking Religious Studies Journals December 20, 2014

Several years ago, I shared a blog post which sought to rank the top three tiers of journals in New Testament studies. That list by Peter Head was as follows:

PhD students often ask for advice on the top journals in the field. So here is the list, in three separate tiers, of the top eight journals in New Testament studies. This list uses three published ranking lists (the only three that I am aware of) and my own personal ranking:

The three published ranking lists are:

  1. European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH) (published in 2007) (A, B, or C)
  2. Excellence in Research for Australia Initiative (ERA) (published in 2010) (A*, A, B, or C)
  3. J.A. Fitzmyer, An Introductory Bibliography for the Study of Scripture (Rome: PIB, 1990), 12-21 (which marks the top journals with a double asterisk).

The personal ranking is simply a PMH top five. Personal opinion based on experience, discussion, rejection rates (when known), editors.

The top tier is simply those journals ranked at the top of all four lists:

NTS (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*] [PMH5]

ZNW (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*] [PMH5]

The second tier are those journals lacking a single top rank:

JBL (**) [ERIH: B] [ERA A*] [PMH5]


Rev. Bib. (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A]

Biblica (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*]

CBQ (**) [ERIH: A] [ERA A*]

The third tier is the one other journal lacking two separate top rankings:

Nov. Test. [ERIH: A] [ERA A] [PMH5]

When I was recently asked about this subject once again, I happened across the SCImago Journal Rankings on Religious Studies, and took this screenshot of the 2013 ranking, thinking it might be useful:

Religion Journal Rankings

There are different ways of assessing which journals are the best, and think Peter Head’s approach, of combining different forms of assessment and noticing which journals rank the highest across those different perspectives, is to be recommended.

Of related interest, see too David Lincicum’s post about the latest ranking of UK religious studies and theology programs.

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  • Jim

    Sure I may be weird, but I really appreciate your post on this. 🙂 Rankings may also change with time for several reasons, so thanks for the update on this.