SHERM is a Free Peer-Reviewed Academic Journal Specializing in the Academic Study of Religion, Social-Scientific Study of Religion, & Ministry Research.
Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry
Socio-Historical Examination of Religion and Ministry (SHERM Journal) is a not-for-profit, free peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes the latest social-scientific, historiographic, and ecclesiastic research on religious institutions and their ministerial practices. SHERM is dedicated to the critical and scholarly inquiry of historical and contemporary religious phenomena, both from within particular religious traditions and across cultural boundaries, so as to inform the broader socio-historical analysis of religion and its related fields of study. The purpose of SHERM is to provide a scholarly medium for the social-scientific study of religion where specialists can publish advanced studies on religious trends, theologies, rituals, philosophies, socio-political influences, or experimental-applied ministry research in the hopes of generating enthusiasm for the vocational and academic study of religion while fostering collegiality among religious specialists. Its mission is to provide academics, professionals, and nonspecialists with critical reflections and evidence-based insights into the socio-historical study of religion and, where appropriate, its implications for ministry and expressions of religiosity.
Free Peer-Reviewed Academic Journal
In partnership with the FaithX Project, SHERM is a full open access, free peer-reviewed academic journal, which means it publishes and publicly makes available religious and ministry research without charging subscription dues or publishing fees. Whereas other open access journals still require authors to pay for making their publications available, SHERM believes in making high-quality scholarship on the social-scientific study of religion accessible to the public while promoting the wide dissemination and visibility of your published article free of charge. This means that authors will never be asked for money to publish their research with SHERM.
There are a significant number of “predatory” publishing companies that attempt to take advantage of scholars and their research by charging fees; we are not one of them. As a free peer-reviewed academic journal, instead of making a profit, our goal is simply to increase the opportunity for erudite academicians to publish their work, gain a larger readership outside the confines of conventional journals, and receive citations from future researchers in the academic study of religion. For more details on how SHERM promotes and disseminates your academic research, see the Benefits of Publishing with SHERM.
For the ministerial part of the journal, researchers can utilize social-scientific research (demographic trends, issues in psychology or sociology, etc.) or studies in the evolution of religious belief systems (e.g. the impact of deconstructionism on the phenomenological philosophy of religion) and apply those insights to a vocational setting as it relates to congregational life and ministry programs. As an example, researchers might implement an experimental study with a particular church or synagogue involving a new way to deal with racial inequality or sexual abuse issues in society as it pertains to religious practices. The researchers could then report their findings in our ministry section of the journal. Or researchers might present different ways to accommodate societal changes in philosophies, belief systems, or approaches to religiosity and how those changes are likely to influence future congregational characteristics. The following are potential areas of study:
- Ancient, Medieval, and Contemporary Ministry Practices
- Experimental Faith Communities
- Ecclesiastical Trends and Issues
- Economic, Political, Social, and Ecological Issues in Ministry
- Ethical, Racial, Sexual, and Gender Issues in Ministry
Academic Study of Religion and Ministry
SHERM accepts manuscript submissions on a wide spectrum of topics on the academic study of religion in multiple fields of study. Each journal issue is divided into four sections: 1) Social-Scientific Study of Religion; 2) Ministry Research; 3) Invited Position Papers; and 4) Book Reviews. The following list represents (but is not limited to) the different fields of research typical of each publication:
Social-Scientific Study of Religion
- Religious History
- Historical Theology
- Historical Jesus
- Psychology of Religion
- Sociology of Religion
- Anthropology of Religion
- Philosophy of Religion
- Religious Trends and Demographics
- Issues in Contemporary Theology
- Ancient, Medieval, and Contemporary Christian Literature
- Patristic, Medieval, and Contemporary Exegesis
- Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Writings
- Ancient Israelite Religion and Second Temple Judaism
- History and Literature of Contemporary Judaism
- Hebrew Bible
- New Testament
- Textual Criticism
- Islamic Studies
- Mormon Studies
- Native American Religion
- Hinduism, Buddhism, and Other World Religions
- Historical and Contemporary Religious Revivals and Sects
- New Religious Movements (Cults)
- General Religious Studies
Because SHERM specializes in the academic study of religion (particularly the social-scientific study of religion) and the resultant consequences for vocational ministry research, the journal will prioritize articles that employ sociological, psychological, and historiographical methodologies in the formation of theological, philosophical, ecclesial, or missiological analyses.