Notes from the Editor

Roger E. Olson, Editor, Christian Scholar's Review


With this issue CSR begins its twenty-seventh year of publication. The last couple of years have witnessed several major changes in the Review's staffing and a few minor changes in its structure. One of the latter changes has been the introduction of a new section entitled "Reflections and Responses." The purpose of this section (which we intend to include in each issue with the possible exception of theme issues) is to provide readers with a forum for feedback and expression of informed opinion. So far the response has fallen a bit short of overwhelming. A few such essays have arrived, and most have been published. As editor, I hope to see an increase in submissions for this department of CSR. In this issue we include two essays there. Both may be considered responses to our special issue on Christianity and Postmodernity (XXVI:2, Winter, 1996). While we wish to remain flexible we would prefer that essays submitted for the "Reflections and Responses" section be kept to about 2500 words. They do not need to display all the scholarly apparatus normally expected in articles. They should, however, articulate opinion that is informed by scholarly thinking. Please send your brief opinion essays to me at the address you will find at the end of these "Notes from the Editor."

Most of the staffing changes will be noted in the "Notes from the Annual Meeting" that follow these announcements. Others were announced in earlier issues. One transition that must be mentioned here, however, is the passing away of CSR's long time managing editor, Charles Miller. "Charlie" died on February 3, 1997. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and worked with him as well as by his family. Charlie served CSR faithfully and often passionately throughout much of its quarter of a century existence before his death. His family has designated the Review as recipient of memorials for Charlie, and several thousand dollars have been given in his memory and honor. At its annual board meeting the CSR board of trustees renamed the annual Christian scholar's award in Charlie's honor. Beginning with the previous volume (XXVI) it will be known as the "Charles J. Miller Christian Scholar's Award." CSR thanks the family of Charles Miller for that benefit and especially for "loaning" Charlie to us for much of the past twenty-five years during which he worked long and hard hours---even in retirement---to make sure that the journal was the best it could be.

CSR welcomes its new publisher, David Hoekema of Calvin College. The details of this transition may be found below under "Notes from the Annual Meeting." We also welcome our new associate editor for arts and humanities, Elizabeth (Betsy) Morgan of Eastern College.

CSR continues to produce articles and reviews of a scholarly nature and written from a Christian perspective that draw wide attention and high regard. The John Templeton Foundation has chosen some of our articles as winners of the 1996 Exemplary Papers Awards because of their contributions to integration of religious thought and the natural sciences. Among them are: Alan Padgett, "The Mutuality of Theology and Science: An Example from Time and Thermodynamics" (XXVI:1), Timothy J. Pennings, "Infinity and the Absolute: Insights into Our World, Our Faith and Ourselves" (XXIII:2) and Davis A. Young, "The Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race Revisited" (XXIV:4). We congratulate these authors and thank the John Templeton Foundation for its support of Christian and other religious integrative and multidisciplinary scholarship.

As most regular readers already know, CSR's next theme issue will be dedicated to C. S. Lewis with Don King (Montreat College) as guest editor. Theme issues continue to create much interest in CSR and, we feel, contribute significantly to Christian scholarship in specific and often controversial areas of culture and the arts and sciences. The theme issue for 1999 will be dedicated to articles dealing with recent scholarship about Jesus. Watch for a call for papers in the next issue. The guest editors for that theme issue will be Rob Wall (Seattle Pacific) and Doug Geivett (Biola).

The staff and board of CSR believe that it has a bright future. Submissions have increased somewhat in both quality and quantity. New institutions have joined us as sponsors. We welcome Judson College, Simpson College (CA), John Brown University, and Waynesburg College. We eagerly look forward to new colleges and universities joining our ranks and supporting CSR's mission of integrating faith and learning through Christian reflection on the disciplines taught in institutions of higher education.

Notes from the Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the editorial board of the Christian Scholar's Review was held in Chicago on Saturday, April 12. Approximately thirty representatives of supporting institutions and officials of CSR attended and engaged in lively discussion about several crucial issues. One topic of discussion revolved around the kinds and quality of articles CSR seeks to publish. Retiring associate editor for arts and humanities John Cox (Hope College) expressed strong concern that CSR continue to hold high scholarly standards and seek to encourage submission of manuscripts and publication of articles that offer creative and specific integrative proposals for Christian thinking about culture and the academic disciplines. Several associate editors commented that many of the manuscripts they see lack a clear thesis and focused, specific or in-depth argumentation. The board recommitted itself to working with authors to help them produce final drafts of promising essays that will raise Christian thought to new levels and produce suggestions, insights, and research results that break new ground in the scholarly disciplines. One associate editor offered a phrase to describe the kind of authors from whom he would like to receive more manuscript offerings---those with "good interdisciplinary instincts." The board strongly encourages such authors to look to CSR as their journal for integrating Christian thought with various disciplines in original, creative, and profound ways.

The board discussed possible publication of poetry, and the consensus was that normally CSR does not and will not publish poetry or other works of art. The mission of the journal is to publish articles and reviews that are the results of research and are integrative and multidisciplinary. Of course, poetry that forms an integral aspect or element of an essay may be published within it. The same is true of works of art, musical scores, etc.

The editor reported that one hundred manuscripts of potential articles were submitted during the twelve months leading up to the meeting and that twenty-five of these were accepted for publication. Others were still in process of evaluation or being revised by their authors.

A major item of business at the annual meeting involved acceptance of publisher Rebekah Basinger's resignation and election of a new publisher. The board expressed thanks to retiring publisher Basinger, who resigned due to a change in her career that took her outside of CSR 's circle of supporting institutions, and wished her all the best in her future endeavors. The nominating committee presented the name of David Hoekema, dean and professor of philosophy of Calvin College, for the position of publisher, and he was elected. David takes up his duties immediately. John Cox, associate editor for arts and humanities for several years, also resigned as his term limit had arrived. The nominating committee presented the name of Elizabeth Morgan (Eastern College) to replace Cox, and she was elected. Dr. Morgan also began functioning as associate editor immediately.

Managing editor Todd Steen presented a very organized and detailed financial report that was gladly accepted by the board. It shows a balanced budget and the possibility of that remaining the case into the indefinite future with occasional modest increases in subscription rates. The board voted to approve an increase in the individual rate of $1.00 per year and also instituted a new student rate of $15.00 per year.

Other matters discussed by the board at its annual meeting included relationship between CSR and the newly forming Council of Christian Scholarly Societies (a branch of IFACS---Institute for Advanced Christian Studies). The exact nature of that relationship is as yet unclear, but dialogue continues in the direction of clarifying it. CSR is a charter member of CCSS and will continue to send a representative (either editor or publisher) to annual meetings.

The board also voted to rename the annual Christian scholar's award in honor of former managing editor Charles J. Miller. Henceforth the award will be known as the Charles J. Miller Christian Scholar's Award and will be given annually (as finances allow) to the author of the article judged most outstanding overall in the previous volume. As always, the decision will be made by a jury.

Discussion among representatives and officers of CSR ranged far and wide during the annual board meeting. It was good to see the enthusiasm and interest on the part of these women and men who traveled to the meeting and took a day out of their busy schedules to help make CSR a better and stronger journal. The next meeting will be on April 18, 1998. The exact location is not yet determined.

Guidelines for Contributors

Those who contemplate submitting an article for publication in CSR , or who intend to write an article for the journal, should be guided by the policy statement found on the inside front cover of each issue. They should also, if possible, look at back numbers of the Review for specimens of articles which have been found suitable in length, subject matter, level of scholarship and approach. Though the editorial staff has undergone changes from time to time, it is safe to assume that the Review's past and present is a reasonably reliable indicator of its future criteria for editorial evaluation of submitted manuscripts.

It may be useful to add some information about editorial practice and policy:

1. Editorial handling of manuscripts:

a. Submissions are welcome at any time from any person. An author need not be a faculty member of a sponsoring institution.

b. Manuscripts that are to be considered for publication as articles or responses should be sent to the editor (Roger E. Olson) in duplicate with the author's name deleted on one copy. If the author wishes one copy returned a self-addressed, stamped envelope must be included. Manuscripts that are to be considered for publication as book reviews should be sent to the book review editor (Hans Bynagle).

c. The editor requests that whenever possible authors submit a computer diskette containing a copy of the submission formatted in WordPerfect for DOS (IBM) 5.2 or lower. (This is in addition to the two "hard copies.") If it is not possible to submit the manuscript on diskette formatted in WP for DOS, a copy in RTF (Rich Text Format) or ASCII is also helpful.

d. Manuscripts will be screened by the editor. If a manuscript is obviously unpublishable, it will be returned to the author promptly (if a s.a.s.e. was provided) with an explanation. If worthy of further consideration, it will be acknowledged and placed in the hands of an associate editor for evaluation, usually with the advice of referees. The final decision about publication is made by the editor, who will inform the author. The process normally takes from one to four months.

e. The editor and associate editors will be aware of the contributor's identity, but it is the CSR 's policy to send submissions to referees "blind," without identifying the authors. In pursuance of this policy, it is requested that authors identify themselves only on one copy of the manuscript or only in a separate cover letter.

2. Criteria for publishable articles

a. Length: typically 15 to 25 pages of double-spaced text for articles; 2 to 3 pages for responses; 3 to 5 pages for reflection pieces.

b. Fit: the article should be written for the CSR (or a similar journal) with a view to its particular standards and purpose. Unrevised lectures, chapel talks, and the like are seldom acceptable.

c. Currency: since the CSR is a journal, its articles should address matters of current importance. When the subject matter is one of the "perennial questions," the author should do more than repeat what has been said already in places which are readily accessible to other scholars.

d. Scholarly level: CSR accepts almost no undergraduate papers. It accepts interpretive or critical summaries of one or more books, poems, stories, etc., only if in the judgment of the editors the author's contribution is significantly original. The ideal CSR article reveals a quality of scholarly depth, of mastery without ostentation. A specialist in the field of the article should be able to tell that the author knows the relevant problems, arguments and literature pertaining to the subject; a non-specialist, on the other hand, should not feel excluded from a private scholarly domain.

e. Interdisciplinary breadth: since CSR intends to be attractive and intelligible to scholars in all disciplines, its authors are asked to make a particular effort to communicate across disciplinary lines. They should avoid, where possible, esoteric language, and they should not presuppose information normally possessed only by specialists. Opening sentences and paragraphs are especially important: if they are clear and provocative, they will help to draw the reader into the essay.

f. Christian perspective: the author may assume that his or her readers are generally familiar with, and sympathetic to, the Christian religion. While this assumption does not preclude articles that address topics in apologetics and philosophy of religion, including discussion of the rational justification of Christian belief, it does free the author from an obligation to provide such justification. Most sponsoring institutions of the CSR are evangelical and Protestant; its editorial policy, however, is ecumenical.

3. Style

On formal matters, CSR follows traditional humanities style as set forth in the Chicago Manual of Style. If a manuscript, otherwise acceptable, needs considerable correction to make it conformable to the style manual (e.g., in footnotes), the editor may return the manuscript to the author for correction.

Within the above limits, and the more general canons of logic and language observed by all scholarly publications, the editors try not to deprive an author of his or her distinctive idiom. However, CSR follows an editorial policy of inclusive language with regard to references to humans. In particular, articles and book reviews (etc.) should be written to acknowledge and affirm both genders. The editors reserve the right to revise wording which fails to meet this criterion.

Roger E. Olson

Editor, CSR

Bethel College

3900 Bethel Drive

St. Paul, MN 55112

office: 612/638-6210

fax: 612/638-6001

Referees for Volume XXVI

The Christian Scholar's Review expresses its appreciation to the following persons who served as referees for submitted manuscripts during the year ending March 31, 1997. (Any omissions will be corrected if brought to the editor's attention.) Because of the wide range of subjects covered by CSR we are heavily dependent on the judgment and advice of our referees. Their recommendations have a significant influence on our selection of papers for publication, but perhaps their most important contribution lies in the constructive guidance they give to our authors; many an article has been greatly improved as a result of a referee's suggestions. All this work---sometimes hours on a single manuscript---is done for the love of Christian scholarship, with no expectation of material reward. Our thanks, then, to those who contribute so much to making this journal possible:

Mark Amstutz

Bob Bailey

Mike Bailey

Bud Bence

John Blakeman

Don Bloom

Warren Boer

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Dwight Brautigam

W. David Buschart

Nigel Cameron

Carol Clark

Kelly Clark

Mary Franzen Clark

Daniel Clendenin

Bonnidell Clouse

Phillip Coggans

Elmer Colyer

Jennie Conrad

Mark Cosgrove

Jerry Davis

Peter De Boer

Andrew Dell 'Olio

Michael J. DeVries

Doug Durasoff

Francis Fike

David Fletcher

Susan Frase

Alan Gomes

Terry M. Gray

Roger Green

Stanley Grenz

Christopher Hall

Michael Harbin

Barry Harvey

William Hasker

Richard Hergenrather

John Hiemstra

James Hunt

Gary L. Karns

Patty Ketron

Heather Looy

Philip Loy

Robert Lyon

R. R. Moore

Shirley Mullen

Mary Mullins

David Nystrom

Anthony Perovich

James Peterson

Sam Powell

Muriel Radtke

Scott Rae

Bruce Reichenbach

Kurt Richardson

Kim Schaeffer

Stephen Shaw

Timothy Sherratt

Ken Shipps

Caroline Simon

Dale Soden

Susie Stanley

Mark Starr

Rick Steele

Todd Steen

Leroy Stegink

Bruce Stockin

Bryan Stone

Kathy Storm

Jeff Tyler

Christina van Houten

Calvin Van Reken

Alan Verhey

Bruce Webb

Chuck White

Frank Wilbur

Star Wody

John Wood

James D. Worthington

David Wright

C. A. Younkman

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Last Updated: October 24, 1997
©1997 Christian Scholar's Review