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Chicago Footnote Referencing - Theology students: Chicago Style Rules

This guide provides information on how to reference using the Chicago Footnote referencing style. PLEASE NOTE: counselling and education students should use APA referencing style.

Style rules

The Chicago Footnote style is an note-bibliography system used for citing and referencing information in assignments and publications.

In addition to the information provided in this guide on how to reference particular sources there are some overall style rules you need to follow, which are detailed below. 


When you summarise or paraphrase an idea from a source or when you use a direct quote from a source you must cite the author or body responsible for the work in a footnote. 

Each footnote should use a new number even for a previously cited source.

The footnote number should be placed at the end of the sentence or the end of a clause in a sentence.


This view of Jerusalem being the centre of the world may be an attack on Roman imperial ideology,² however it is more likely that this concept is linked not just to the geographical but ethnical spread of the gospel.³


In the footnote you are required to provide full bibliographic details of the source the first time you cite the source and you can then use a shortened version of the author's name and title of the book in subsequent citations. See the tabs above for specific examples of how to do this for different sources. 


Ibid. and op. cit.

The abbreviation ibid., previously used in Chicago when a citation duplicates the immediately preceding citation, is discouraged in favour of shortened citations.

The abbreviation op. cit., which is used in some referencing styles, is not used in the Chicago Style and should not be used in your assignments.


Direct quotes should be used sparingly in your assignments. The ACT stipulates that direct quotes should not exceed 10% of the word limit. 

When using direct quotes in your assignment enclose them in double quotation marks with the footnote number at the end of the quote.


De Silva argues that “it is the mysterious, shadowy dimension of Mark that accounts for its ongoing appeal”.¹


If the quote is longer than 30 words start the quote indented on a new line, without double quotation marks.


When discussing the genre of the book of Genesis Dillard and Longman state that:


In spite of the obvious variety within the book, it is useful to reflect on the genre of the book as a whole. After all, it contains a unity of narrative plot that takes the reader from the creation of the world to the sojourn in Egypt. It recounts past events and does so with a chronological structure. This last sentence sounds like a definition of a work of history and indeed such a label makes sense of the generic signals the reader encounters in the book.³

Multiple authors/references in one footnote

There can be times in your research when you have read the same idea from different authors in different sources. When including multiple authors in a footnote you should order them alphabetically according to the first author's surname and separating each citation with a semi-colon.


¹ Gerhard F. Hasel, Understanding the Book of Amos: Basic Issues in Current Interpretations, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1991), 103; J Carl. Laney, "The Role of the Prophets in God's case against Israel," Bibliotheca Sacra 138, no. 552 (1981): 316; Walther Zimmerli, The Law and the Prophets: A Study of the Meaning of the Old Testament, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell: 1965), 24.

Citations taken from secondary sources

Chicago Manual of Style discourages the use of citing a source from a secondary source ("quoted in...") as it is expected that writers have examined the original works they cite. However, if an original source is unavailable because it is out of print or only available in another language then both the original and the secondary source must be listed in your footnote and your bibliography. 


Footnote: ¹ Christopher Jones, "Old Testament symbolism," Old Testament Studies 72 (February 1931): 269, quoted in Sarah Higgins, The Role of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2003), 78.


Bibliography:  Jones, Christopher. "Old Testament symbolism." Old Testament Studies 72 (February 1931): 254-272. Quoted in Higgins, Sarah. The Role of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2003.



The bibliography is located at the end of your assignment and should include all the details of every source you have referred to in your assignment. NB: Unlike a traditional bibliography which would list all sources you read students should only include sources specifically cited in their assignment. 


Reference lists should be organised alphabetically, according to authors' names, and then according to the title if there is the same author for two or more references. References should be formatted with a hanging indent if they are longer than one line.


McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.

Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Systematic Theology: Volume 3. Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.

Peters, Ted. “Grace, Doubt, and Evil: The Constructive Task of Reformation Theology.” dialog: a Journal of Theology 41, no. 4 (2002): 273-284.

Stott, John. The Cross of Christ. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1986.

Stott, John. The Message of Acts. Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991. 

Wilson, Andrew. Incomparable: Exploring the Character of God. Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, 2007. 


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