We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.
For those interested in publishing articles that address a wide range of contemporary issues from the standpoint of Catholic moral theology, be it in a straightforward theological or interdisciplinary manner.
The Journal of Moral Theology is a peer-reviewed scholarly publication focused on Catholic moral theology. The journal considers itself a vehicle for continuing the conversation in all areas of Catholic moral theology, and hence is “concerned with contemporary issues as well as our deeply rooted tradition of inquiry about the moral life.” In addition to publishing articles strictly in the field of moral theology, it also accepts papers that pursue “theological treatments of related topics in philosophy, economics, political philosophy, and psychology.”
As its self-description suggests, the journal publishes articles from a very wide range of topics, its regular bi-annual issues publishing articles culled from a standing open call that has no topical limitations. Accordingly, one issue may contain essays on subjects as diverse as energy ethics, scholasticism and penance, peace studies, natural law, and virtue ethics. The steady element binding these diverse topics together in any issue is always the Catholic moral tradition, regardless of whether the author draws from the tradition’s contemporary or classical resources.
Apart from its regular topically eclectic issues, the Journal of Moral Theology occasionally publishes special issues on specific topics. Past issues have appeared on the topics of environmental ethics in conversation with the encyclical Laudato Si, disability, the ethics of the academy, and the intersections between Christian theology and psychology. The journal’s most recent special issue calls have focused on subjects related to artificial intelligence and machine learning, guns in American life, and the development of Catholic moral thought.
The Journal of Moral Theology is a relatively new peer-reviewed academic journal (est. 2012), and has some accompanying pros and cons. The biggest downside to this is that it lacks the prestige of some other journals in the same field, and hence many of the authors published are not household names in the academy. But this situation also means that new and upcoming academics have an opportunity to be published in a serious academic journal dedicated to their area of interest, sometimes alongside or in conversation with some of the most influential scholars in their field. Coupled with the thematically eclectic nature of its regular bi-annual issues, the journal thereby presents young scholars with the opportunity to allow their voice to be heard in the field and make a contribution to its ongoing development at an early stage in their careers. Apart from being an opportunity many young scholars relish, this aspect in itself is an important contribution to the field of moral theology, providing a means for staving off the intellectual stagnancy that can sometimes plague the academy by allowing it to continually be refreshed by the thought of new minds.
Review: February 2020
Word count: 7,500–10,000 words (25–35 pages)
Issues per year: Two regular issues per year, with occasional special issues
Current volume number: 10
Articles per year: 13–19
Citation style: Chicago
Abstract length (if required): 150–200 words
Upcoming special issues (if available): None presently listed
Relevant editors: Jason King (editor), William J. Collinge (senior editor), M. Therese Lysaught (associate editor), Kathy Criasa (managing editor)
Open access? Yes
Submission method: Online
Submission fee: No fee
Bibliography (articles in the journal consulted for this review)
Evans, Joshua. “Morality, Human Nature, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” Journal of Moral Theology, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2017): 70–86.
McMahon, Christoper. “Psyche, Soul, and Salvation: The Science of the Human and Its Place in Theology.” Journal of Moral Theology, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2020): 203–221.
Sherman, Matthew. “Before the Eucharist, a Familial Morality Arises.” Journal of Moral Theology, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2017): 15–31.