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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, and demonstrated in a sample bibliography at the bottom of the page.


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, after any punctuation.


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.

Commentary and Quotations within Footnotes

When a note contains not only the source of a fact or quotation in the text but related comments as well, the source comes first. A period usually separates the citation from the commentary. Such comments as "emphasis mine" are usually put in parentheses.

Keep in mind that although Footnotes, Endnotes or Appendices are not counted in your formal word count, their word count should not exceed 25% of the word limit. This includes both citations as well as supplementary information.


3 Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 3, sc. 1. Caesar's claim of constancy should be taken with a grain of salt.
4 Little, "Norms of Collegiality," 330 (my italics).

When a note includes a quotation, the source normally follows the terminal punctuation of the quotation. The entire source need not be put in parentheses, which involves changing existing parentheses to brackets and creating unnecessary clutter.


1 One estimate of the size of the reading public at this time was that of Sydney Smith: "Readers are fourfold in number compared with what they were before the beginning of the French war. ... There are four or five hundred thousand readers more than there were thirty years ago, among the lower orders." Letters, ed. Nowell C. Smith (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953), 1:341, 343.

Some notes of commentary may require citations of their own. When a source is needed, it can be provided the same way as the example above (that is, providing a full footnote citation after a full stop) or, if the source has already been cited in full, it can be cited parenthetically.


1 Ernst Cassirer takes important notice of this in Language and Myth (59-62) and offers a searching analysis of man's regard for things on which his power of inspirited action may crucially depend.


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, it is considered a block quote. 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. 



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.


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.

The bibliography should always start on a new page, with the heading "Bibliography" centred and in bold. References should be formatted with a hanging indent if they are longer than one line.*

References 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.


*This bibliography was formatted in Microsoft Word using the hanging indent tool. A new page can be formatted automatically using the "Page break" tool.

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