Publishing is extremely important for those who are seeking a tenure-track position at a research institution, however, it is still very important for professors at teaching institutions. Among other things, publishing will effect hiring and promotion, book deals, and speaking gigs.
So, if you have a good paper that you would like to submit for publication, where should you send it?
Well, to some extent it might depend on where you are or want to teach. If you are aiming for a confessional school then a seminary journal like Westminster Theological Journal or Biblioteca Sacra might be a good option, but if you are wanting to teach at a research institution then you should probably avoid this.
However, even if we limit ourselves to broad-audience, peer-reviewed journals, which ones are the most prestigious? Well, this depends as well.
The European Science Foundation attempted to rank various journals (using the acronym ERIH) according to a three-tiered system of: A, B, or C. This entire enterprise has been highly criticized, most vociferously by North American scholars since their journals are underrepresented and lower-ranked than European journals. In general I agree with this criticism and one of the most astounding results of the ranking was the assignment of a “B” rating to the Journal of Biblical Literature–on par with Expository Times, Irish Biblical Studies, and Calvin Theological Journal. Almost every North American scholar that I have talked with thinks that JBL is the preeminent North American biblical studies journal as well as one of the very top international journals (full disclosure: I have a forthcoming article in JBL and therefore I’m pretty receptive to this line of thinking) and I certainly think it is head and shoulders above many of the “B” journals.
Furthermore, the European “Religious Studies and Theology” list doesn’t even rank very helpful journals including: Maarav, Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages, and the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures. Furthermore, some confessional but still critical journals were also left out such as Bulletin for Biblical Research, Tyndale Bulletin, and HIPHIL. (The Australians are also compiling their own list due anytime now.)
So what journal should a young scholar send his or her article to? The ERIH list is a good place to start, but I would take their rankings with a grain of salt and I would expand the scope of journals you consider a bit wider. However, I would not cast your net too wide. If it is a fantastic paper go for top-tier journals and personally I would never consider a journal that was not indexed by ATLA since other scholars will never find your work as they search during their own researching which means that you won’t be cited, etc.
What are your thoughts on the ERIH list? What advice do you have to young scholars?