By Nathan A. Finn
I need to begin this post with a caveat: I have never written a historical monograph. There are many reasons for this, chief among them my propensity toward distraction and boredom. Simply put, at this season in my life I can’t think of a single historical topic to which I want to devote 200 or more pages. I can, however, think of dozens of historical topics to which I want to devote 15–50 pages as well as numerous historic primary sources that I wish to see reprinted in critical editions. For that reason, my own scholarly publications tend to fall into three broad categories: 1) journal articles or contributed essays; 2) critical book reviews; 3) editing primary sources. Perhaps I’ll write a monograph or two at some point, but don’t hold your breath. For the time being, that’s not really my style.
Because I have never written a monograph, I’m obviously not an authority on this topic. However, I know lots of authorities on this topic. I also know that many readers of this blog are graduate students and younger church historians who probably do want to write monographs. So my desire in this post is not to position myself as an authority, but rather to point readers to a helpful resource I have found for those interested in publishing historical monographs.
Religion in American History is a consortium blog of mostly college and university historians who study American religious history. Some of the contributors are evangelicals, while others are not. Many have written on topics that at least intersect with Baptist Studies, which is a particular emphasis of the contributors to Historia Ecclesiastica. Religion in American History is a particularly helpful resource if you want to read substantive reviews of recent monographs (and sometimes important journal articles) in the field of American religious history.
Randall Stephens, who serves as one of the three “blogmeisters” for Religion in American History, has written a helpful post titled “Turning it into a Book.” In that post, Stephens collates suggestions from various publishers, along with his own insights on the topic. While Stephens focuses primarily on publishing for university presses, his suggestions also apply to church historians who wish to publish monographs with other types of scholarly presses such as Eerdmans, Baker Academic, IVP Academic, Pickwick, or T&T Clark (to name a few options). I think they also generally apply to historians who wish to publish textbooks or semi-scholarly books with evangelical presses such as Crossway, B&H, Moody, Zondervan, and Kregel. (For the record, the latter presses have scholarly divisions and regularly publish monographs in other disciplines such as theology, biblical studies, ethics, and apologetics. My not including them in the first list is not a “knock” on these fine publishing houses, but simply a recognition of the reality that they rarely publish scholarly monographs in my field.)
If I ever do get around to publishing a monograph (my lonely and heretofore unpublished dissertation is screaming at me from the shelf as I type), then I’ll consult Stephens’s helpful post on the front-end of that project. Perhaps many of this blog’s readers will “beat me to the punch” and publish one or more historical monographs. If so, I hope you folks also find Stephens’s post useful.
Nathan A. Finn is associate professor of historical theology and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also an elder at First Baptist Church of Durham, NC and a senior fellow of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.