RBL Publication Stats

As of 18 February 2007, RBL has published 4,054 reviews of 3,399 different books. Assuming we maintain our current pace, we would expect to publish our 5,000th review sometime in 2008. Thanks to Jan van der Watt (RBL general editor) and the members of the RBL editorial board, to our numerous reviewers, to the many publishers who graciously supply review copies, and to our 8,000+ subscribers for making RBL the preeminent source of book reviews in biblical studies.

RBL and Volunteer Reviewers

We periodically hear comments or receive queries that reflect a fundamental misunderstanding about RBL's policy with regard to the use of volunteer reviewers. On the one hand, some scholars believe that RBL reviewers simply assign themselves ("self-select") books available for review. On the other, a number of volunteers think that the act of volunteering virtually guarantees that they will review a given work. Neither view is correct, as our stated policy for assigning books to reviewers makes clear:

The Review of Biblical Literature (RBL) editorial board has the final discretion in assigning RBL reviews. They seek the most qualified reviewers for works submitted, so in most cases the board first offers a review copy to one or more established scholars in the field. When we are unable to secure a reviewer, we rely on qualified volunteers. Thus we invite you to volunteer to review any available book. If you are declined, please understand that this is most likely due to one of two factors: an editor-chosen reviewer has accepted our offer to review the work; or some other qualified volunteer made an offer prior to yours.
In sum, the RBL editorial board makes every effort to assign a review copy to someone known to be a specialist in the area relevant to that volume. When a book remains unassigned after at least two attempts to secure a specialist reviewer, an editorial board member may assign it to a qualified volunteer. By adhering to this policy, RBL not only maintains the highest of standards for selecting reviewers but also provides a limited number of opportunities for emerging scholars to demonstrate their expertise as informed and informative book reviewers.