Spelling and Abbreviations

(revised May 8, 2012)

A PFD of this guide may be downloaded here.

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In general, use The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. (2010).

  • For spelling, use Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. (2005)
  • References such as 8.110 refer to entry numbers in the Chicago Manual of Style.
  • References such as 55/98 point to an example found in TS, vol. 55, p. 98.

Follow the links below to reveal the associated content (e.g., click or tap “A” to see items that begin with the letter ‘A,’ and so on).

Acts of the Apostles, the (8.102, 104) [no italics]
AD 68, but 68 BC or 621 BCE [full caps and no periods] (9.35)
ad hoc
ad hominem
Adoptionism, Adoptionists (8.96, 8.107)
Advent (the coming of Christ) (8.116)
Advocate (the Holy Spirit) (8.99)
a fortiori
aesthetic, AVOID, use esthetic
African-American (noun & adj.)
Age of Reason, Enlightenment, etc. (8.79)
Annunciation, the
Antichrist (the great antagonist)
anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic
apocryphal (of doubtful authority)
Apocrypha (deuterocanon)
Apologists (Justin Martyr, etc.)
a posteriori
a priori
Apostle to the Gentiles (8.100)
Apostles, the [when referring to the Twelve] (8.100)
Apostles’ Creed (8.115)
Apostolic Fathers
Apostolic See ( = Rome) (8.108)
apostolic age, community, letter, succession, synod, etc.
archaeology [AVOID, use archeology]
archeological [prefer this spelling]
ark of the covenant (8.119)
article, in this [AVOID expression “in this essay”]
Ascension, the (8.107)
Assumption, the; atonement, the (8.107)
baptism, the sacrament of (8.109)
baptism of Jesus, the
68 BC (but AD 68), 68 BCE (full caps) (9.35)
Baptist, the; the Precursor (8.92)
Beatitudes, the (8.107)
Beloved Apostle (8.92)
Benedictus, the
bi (as prefix, typically no hyphen, 7.79)
Bible, the (8.102)
biblical (8.102)
Biblical Commission
bio (as prefix, typically no hyphen, 7.79)
bishop, Bishop Jones [see also the pope]
Body of Christ (8.107)
bread of life
bread-of-life discourse
ca. [ca. 1850, not c.a] (7.53)
canon (the Jewish canon)
canon, a canon from the Code; e.g., in canon 526
(see below Code . . . )
Captivity Epistles 8.105; see also Pastoral Epistles
cataphatic [AVOID, use kataphatic]
Catholic Church
catholicism, early
century, centuries (8.70, 9.33, 9.34) [see also numbers]
as adjectival, use this form: the late third-century Fathers; the fifth-century controversy; first-century idea; twentieth-century book; also: during the 1890s, the 1990s, etc.
cf. [avoid, use see]
“In chapter 1 of his book.” (chapter is lower case); in notes and parenthetical references, chapter(s) is abbreviated as chap. or chaps. In a footnote: e.g.: (. . . Fortress, 1970) chap. 3.
charism (not charisma)
chosen people
City of God
Christ event
Christian (but unchristian)
Christology, Christologies,
church, the (but capitalized when used as a proper noun, e.g., the Roman Catholic Church);
church, local church and state, church and throne; the universal church, the Third Church
church as adjectival, lower case, e.g., church politics, church-state relations (8.97)
city of David
Code of Canon Law [the 1983 Code vs. the 1917 Code]
Codex Iuris Canonici = CIC (canon 915, or c. 1012 of the 1917 Code; cc. 1110- 1111).
Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches [promulgated in 1990] (CCE = Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium) = CCEO
Commandments, the Ten Commandments
common era = CE [full caps, no periods] (9.35)
Communion (sacramental Eucharist)
communion of saints
confirmation (sacrament)
council, councils, the council, but Second Vatican Council (8.101, 7.85)
covenant, the; new covenant;
covenant theology
Creation, the [as an event] (8.107)
Creator [when referring to God]
creedal, intercreedal [AVOID credal]
cross, the cross [as the event]
Cross, the [when = Redemption; this usage is rare]
Crucifixion, the
Curia, the = Roman/Vatican Curia
Dark Ages (8.72)
data (plural)
Day of Atonement
Lord’s Day, the (Sunday)
Day of Judgment
de (as prefix, no hyphen: decontrol; BUT de-emphasize)
Dead Sea Scrolls, the scrolls, the Qumran scrolls
de facto
defense (n.) = American usage [AVOID defence (n.) = British]
de iure
demythologize, demythologization
Diaspora (in biblical sense only, 8.107)
Dionysius (Dionysian)
Dionysus (Dionysiac), the Greek god
Divine Liturgy (Easter Rites)
divine presence
divinity (but the Divinity, as a name for God)
Docetism, Docetic, Docetist
Doctor of the Church [see also, Father, Church]
early Christian
early catholicism
early church (8.97)
East, Eastern (cultural), east, eastern (directional)
East-West dialogue
Easter Day
ed. When used in a bibliographic reference after a title = “edited by” and so is used with one or more editors.
When preceding a title, “ed.” or “eds.” = editor, editors.
e.g. always followed by a comma, 6.43; avoid abbreviating such expressions except in footnotes and embedded parenthetical notes.
elect, the
encyclical (individual titles: Divino afflante spiritu)
second, third words are lower case.
Enlightenment, the
Enquiry [AVOID; use inquiry]
Epiphany, the
Epistles of the New Testament (8.105)
Pauline Epistles
Pastoral Epistles, etc.
Epistle to the Hebrews
Letter to Philemon
Epistles of Paul (see Gospels)
eschatology, eschaton
essay, in this [AVOID; say “in this article”]
et al. [no comma before, 6.20]
Eucharist (sacrament), eucharistic
Evangelical Lutheran Church
Evangelist, the (one of the four), the Evangelist Mark
evangelist, an (a preacher of the gospel)
exile, the
Exodus, the (8.107)
ex cathedra
excursus, excursuses
fall (season) (8.87)
Fall, the (the biblical event, 8.107)
the Father (= God)
Fathers of the Church, Church Fathers, the Council Fathers, Alexandrian Fathers
Feast of Tabernacles
feast of the unleavened bread
Festschrift (no italics)
ff. [as in 134ff.] [AVOID; rather, give inclusive p. no.; but if used, no space follows the number]
final judgment
first-century [when used as preceding adj., 7.85]; BUT: “In the first century, the church. . . .”
first edition
First Person (of the Trinity)
Flood [unless context makes cap unnecessary]
florilegium, florilegia
focused, focuses, focusing
form criticism, form critic, form-critical [when used adjectivally]
formulas (plural)
Fourth Gospel, the
Fundamentalism (8.98) [caps only when used as the name of a specific religion or sect]
Gentile (biblical sense)
gnostic (adj.), gnostic(s) (noun),
God as creator
God’s people
gospel (the teaching of Jesus and apostles)
Gospel (Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn)
Gospel harmony
Hades (8.108)
haggadah, haggadic
halakah, halakic, halkot
hand (of God)
hapax legomenon/legomena
health care (n.), health-care institutions (adj.)
heaven (8.108)
Hellenic, Hellenize, Hellenization
Hellenistic-Jewish (adj.)
high priest
High Priest (= Christ)
high holy days
higher criticism
history, historian: a history, a historian [NOT an historian]
historical-critical (adj.)
history-of-religions (adj.)
Holocaust, the (the Shoah)
Holy Bible
Holy Land
holy of holies
holy orders
Holy Sacrifice (Mass) (8.109)
Holy See (8.99)
Holy Spirit
Holy Scripture
holy souls
Holy Week (8.88)
Holy Writ
house church
Humanists (e.g., Erasmus, 16th cent.)
HYPHEN, use of, 7.77-85, 5.91-92
hypostatic union
Ibid. [no comma after, when citing a page no.; no italics]; in a sentence ibid. is lower case: e.g.: See ibid. 3.
inasmuch, inasmuch as
incarnate Word
Incarnation, the
indexes [not indices]
Infancy Narratives, Infancy Gospel of Thomas
insofar, insofar as
institution of the Eucharist
Irenaeus of Lyons, Irenaeus’s view
Isaiah Scroll
iure, de
Jesus’ name (always omit final s after apostrophe—an exception to 7.20)
Jesus event, the
Jewish Christianity, a Jewish Christian, Jewish-Christian (adj.)
1 John, 1 John 5, 1 John 5:3
Jr/ III/ Sr etc. [no comma before, 6.47, 10.19]
Judaism, Judaize, Judaizer, Judaizing
Judea, Judean, Judean Desert
Judgment Day
kataphatic [use this form; AVOID cataphatic]
kenosis, kenotic
kingdom of God/Christ
Koran, AVOID; use instead Qur’an
Lamb of God
last day
Last Judgment
Last Supper
late Judaism, late Jewish
Law, the (the Torah, Mosaic Law), Law of Christ
Lent (8.88)
Letter to the Corinthians [see Epistle]
locus, loci
logion, logia
Logos ( = Christ, otherwise logos)
Lord’s Prayer, the
Lord’s Supper, the (8.107, 8.109)
love feast
Lukan [AVOID Lucan]
Magi, the
Magnificat, the
Manichean, Manicheism
Markan [AVOID Marcan]
Mariology, mariological
Mass (as in “attending Mass”), BUT a mass, three masses (8.109)
Messiah ( = Christ), otherwise messiah
messiahship, messianic, messianism
messianic secret
mid-20th-century philosophy
Middle Ages
Middle Platonism
midrash, midrashic
millenarianism, millenary
millennium, millennia
Modernism, Modernists, the Modernist controversy/crisis
moral law
Mosaic Law, the Law of Moses
Mother of God
ms. and mss.
multi (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85)
Muslims, [AVOID “Moslems”]
mystery religions
n. = note [e.g., “as cited above in n. 32”]
naïve, naïveté
nativity of Christ (Nativity, if referring to Dec 25)
natural-law concepts
Near Eastern
neoorthodoxy of Barth
neo-Scholasticism, neo-Scholastics
New Covenant, the
new hermeneutic
Nicaea, Council of (8.101)
Nicene Creed
no. (= number, e.g., no. 12 [as in Lumen gentium no. 12] [n. = note; see above])
non (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85; but non-Christians)
numbers, inclusive 9.60, 6.78 [refers to pagination]
less than 100: use digits, e.g., 3-10
100 or multiple: 100-104, 600-613
101 thru 109 or multiples: 107-8, 505-17
110 thru 199 or multiples: 321-25, 415-532.
[NB: use the en-dash, not the hyphen, between inclusive numbers.]
Numbers in a sentence are spelled out from 1 through 12 inclusive. Over 12 use digits: 13, 18, 35
Ordinal numbers are spelled out first through twelfth, thereafter numbered 13th, 14th, 100th, etc.
Nunc Dimittis (as title of a prayer, 8.106)
only-begotten Son
ORDINALS (125th, eighth) (9.6, 9.46-50)
Orient, Oriental
original sin (8.107)
our Lady (8.92)
our Lord (8.91)
Our Father, the
over (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.79, 7.85)
overemphasis, overgenerous,
paleography, paleographic
papacy, papal
Parable of the Good Samaritan
Parable of the Unjust Steward
parousia, parousiac return
par., parr. = parallel, parallels [to indicate a parallel Gospel verse(s)]
par excellence
Pasch, Christ’s Pasch, BUT paschal
Paschal Lamb
Passion, the
Passion Week
Passion Narratives
Pastoral Letters, the; the Epistles
patriarch of Constantinople, the
patriarchal, patriarchs (8.92)
Pauline, Pauline corpus
pax Romana [no italics. Familiar words/phrases from foreign languages are not italicized, 7.49.]
penance (sacrament) (8.109)
Pentateuch, Pentateuchal
Pentecostal [upper case only for the modern movement]
people of God
Person (of the Trinity)
the person of Christ
Petrine, Petrine confession, Petrine ministry
Pharisaic, Pharisees
Pneumatology, pneumatological
pope, the; but Pope John XXIII
post (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85) postapostolic, postexilic, postmodern, postconciliar, but post-Bultmannian, post-Mosaic, post-Pauline
Precursor, the; see the Baptist (8.92)
presence of God
pre (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85) preeminent, preexilic, preexistence
priesthood of Christ
prima facie
prologue of John
prophecy (noun)
prophesy (verb)
Prophets, the (part of OT) the Law, the Prophets, the Writings
Protestant (adj. and noun)
psalm, a
Psalms (OT book), the Psalmist, the
pseudo (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85) pseudograph
Pseudo-Dionysius, or Pseudo-Denis
Q, the source Q, the Q-hypothesis
quid pro quo (no italics)
Qur’an [AVOID Koran]; Qur’anic
rabbi, rabbinic
re (as prefix, typically without hyphen, 7.85) reread, but re-creation
real presence (8.107)
redaction criticism, redaction-critical (adj.)
Redeemer, the
Redemption, the (8.107)
Reformation, the
Reformed tradition
reign of God
remnant, the
Renaissance, the; renaissance (adj.)
Resurrection, the (of Jesus)
resurrection of the dead
Roman empire
Romantic theology
Revised Standard Version, the (8.103)
sabbatical (year, etc.)
Sacred Scripture
Sadducees, Sadducean
saints, Saint John
salvation history
sapiential books (Proverbs, etc.)
Satan, satanic
Savior (Christ)
sayings source
Sayings of the desert monks
sceptical [AVOID, use skeptical]
Scholastic philosophy, see also: neo-Scholastic, neo-Scholasticism,
Scholastics, the (8.96)
Scribe, the
Scribes [by analogy with Pharisees]
scriptural, nonscriptural
scrolls (in general)
Sea of Galilee
Second Adam, Second Moses, etc.
Second Coming
Second Temple
Second Vatican Council (or Vatican II)
self- (as prefix, always hypenated) self-consciousness, self-communication
Sermon on the Mount, Sermon on the Plain
Servant literature
Servant Songs, Suffering Servant (8.92)
Shiite, Shiism
signs source
sin offering
Sitz im Leben
skeptical, skeptic, skepticism [not sceptical]
socio (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85) socioeconomic
Son of David (8.92, 8.107)
Son of Man
Son of Man sayings
Son of God (Jesus)
sons of light, sons of darkness
speech event
Spirit, the (8.91)
spring (8.87)
starting point
Stoic philosophy
subapostolic (7.85)
Suffering Servant
Synoptic Gospels, the Synoptics,
Synoptic problem
Talmud, talmudic (8.102)
Temple, the (see Second Temple)
temptation of Christ
Ten Commandments, the
thank offering
that (as restrictive, not which)
theologoumenon, -na (no italics)
Thessalonica (ancient city), Saloniki (modern city)
Third World nations [AVOID this expression; prefer Global South nations, or the Majority World, Majority World nations]
Thomas Aquinas, [use Aquinas in subsequent references]
toward [AVOID towards] etc.
tradition, Scripture and tradition
trans. [in endnotes, followed by full name: trans. John Jones, AVOID tr.]
trans [as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85] transatlantic, transship
Transfiguration, the (8.107)
Trinity, trinitarian
triune God, the
Tübingen school, the
turning point
Twelve, the; the Twelve Apostles
Ultramontanes; Ultramontanism; BUT ultramontane
un (as prefix, no hyphen, 7.85) unchurched, unfunded but: un-Christlike
universal church, the
Upper Galilee
United Kingdom (as substantive, spell out; as adjective: UK, no periods)
United States (as substantive, spell it out; as adjective: US, no periods)
Vatican II, or Second Vatican Council
verse, v., vv. (NB: the two “v’s” can look like a lowercase “w” depending on the fonts you use).
verse-by-verse (adj.)
verse by verse (adv.)
vice versa
the virgin birth
the Visitation

well-attested, but in predicate position no hyphen: “It is well attested that. . . .”
Western (cultural); western (directional)
Western text
which (as nonrestrictive, not that) E.g.:
The Hudson River, which is blue, is polluted.
When nonrestrictive, use that: The Hudson River that Irving described is gloomy.
NB: many whichs in manuscripts need to be changed to that.
Wisdom Literature (section of the Bible),
wisdom literature (in general)
Wisdom (only if personified), Book of Wisdom
Word of God (Logos)
word of God (Scripture)
worshiper, worshiping (not worshipping)



American vs. British usage (use American forms)

American British USE:
-ward -wards toward, onward, etc.
-ction -xion connection
-dg -dge judgment
e- oe- ecumenical
-er -re theater
-ize -ise organize
-l -ll leveling
-or -our humor
s- c- defense

But note these correct spellings: comprise, surmise, surprise

Mary Smith, “ Freeing Women from the Church,” in Let My People Go, ed. John Daly (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992) 34–76, at 39.
John Jones, Philoxenia: Festschrift für Bernhard Kotting, gewidmet von seinen griechischen Schülern (Münster: Aschendorff, 1980).
L’Orthodoxie hier et demain ed. Ion Bria et al. (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1979).
[no comma before et al.]
Russian Orthodoxy under the Old Regime, ed. Robert L. Nichols and Theofanis George Stavrou (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1978).
[NB: NOT eds.]
John Jones, The World, trans. John Smith (Toronto: Random House, 1994) 94.
Karl Rahner, “ God Is Love,” in Theological Investigations 5, trans. Karl Kruger (Baltimore: Helicon, 1966) 193–214; translation slightly modified. But if the title of the series volume is given: Karl Rahner, “The Theology of the Symbol,” in More Recent Writings, Theological Invertigations 4…[title not italicized
Mary Smith, Hello Jesus!, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Fowler, 1990).
Tractatus 2, 2nd rev. ed. (Malines: Jones, 1930).
Paul Evdokimov, La femme et le salut du monde: Étude d’anthropologie chrétienne sur les charismes de la femme, rev. ed. (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1980; originally published in 1900).
OR (Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 1980; orig. ed. 1900) 145.
ALSO (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1985; German original 1901).
Michel Sesan, “De l’Orthodoxie,” Theologia 50 (1979) 122–31.
Giorgio Fedalto, La chiesa latina in Oriente 1, 2nd ed. (Verona: Mazziana, 1981).
Nikodim [Rotov], Johannes XXIII: Ein unbequemer Optimist, ed. Robert Hotz, S.J. (Zurich: Benziger, 1978).
Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel” 98.
“Lehre vom Geist” 110.
See God and Creatures 399–417.
See n. 9 above.
See James Jones, Body Theology (n. 10 above).
Lumen gentium no. 5; Lumen gentium nos. 24–28.
Ibid. 148.
See ibid. 227 n. 2. [no comma before “ n.”]
For proof, see Schubert Ogden, The Point of Life (London: SCM, 1982). [NB: no comma after “see”; AVOID “cf.”]
John Jones, A History of India, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: House, 1994) 2:334.
The Letters of God, 3 vols., ed. J. C. Smith (Oxford: Easy, 1994).
Handbuch der Theologie, 2 vols., ed. Thomas Jones (Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1992) 1:261–83.
I Believe in the Holy Spirit , 3 vols., trans. Mary Smith (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis; and Leuven: Peeters, 1992).
John Jones, “The Challenge of Theology,” in Jews and Christians, ed. Mary Smith, Louvain Theological and Pastoral Monographs 21 (Leuven: Peeters, 1997) 95–132. [But usually omit series titles]
L ’ Osservatore Romano [English ed.], June 27, 1997, 1.
New York Times, sec. 1A., February 17, 1994.
Scott Jones, “Childhood’s End,” New Yorker, February 18, 1990, 54–55.
The film Rosemary’s Baby treats this theme.
Hans-Georg Beck, Geschichte der orthodoxen Kirche im byzantinischen Reich. Die Kirche in ihrer Geschichte 1/DI (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980) 67–69.
Anastasios Kallis, Orthodoxie: Was ist das? Orthodoxe Perspektiven 1 (Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald, 1979).
Biblical Commission, “ Interpretation of Dogmas in the Catholic Doctrine,” Origins 20 (1990) 1–14, at 4; hereafter cited as “Interpretation of Dogmas.”
Westminster, MD [other states: NY, NJ, MA, PA, MO, etc.] See Chicago Manual of Style 10.28

Series: MG 15.144 ff.; SC etc. [No italics for series, except The Ante-Nicene Fathers].

See Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ser. 1, vol. 3, 234.

Migne, PG 44.137d–140c; PL 23.931a; GCS 6.156.18–26.

Sources chrétiennes (hereafter SC); Hymns on the Church 36.6 (CSCO 199.88).

Demonstrations 6.17 (SC 349.405).

Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina (hereafter CCSL)

Corpus Christianorum, Series Graeca (hereafter CCSG)

Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis (hereafter CCCM)

Summa theologiae (hereafter ST) 1, q. 104, a. 1.

ST 3, q. 110, a. 2

ST 1, qq. 111–23

ST 2–2, q. 185, a. 1 c

Summa contra gentiles (hereafter SCG) 3, chap. 66.7, or chaps. 63–77.

In II. Sent. d. 2, q. 1, a. 3, ad 1.

De potentia q. 4, a. 1 c.

Augustine, De Trinitate. Later in the article: Trin. 13.14.23; 13.19.24.

Augustine, De doctrina christiana 2.41.62.

Augustine, Confessions 1.26.

Stromateis VII 2.12.5 (Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahhunderten [hereafter GCS] 17.10.4).

Later references: Strom. IV 24.154.5 (GCS 15.316.30 ff.).

A. Renoux, Le Codex Arménien, Patrologia orientalis 7 (Brussels: Desclée, 1945).

John of Damascene, De fide 3, chaps. 3–9 (PG 94.987b–1017b).

Studia patristica 17, ed. Elizabeth A. Livingstone, 3 vols. (Oxford: Pergamon, 1982) 1:147–59, at 152.

(1), (2), and (3)


(a), (b), and (c).

For organizations, e.g., UNESCO, WCC, etc. [see CMOS 15.25–26].

PREFIXES: Most prefixes are not hyphenated. Webster gives long lists of examples.