BJS was founded in 1978 by the faculty of the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University in order to address the dire need for an American venue for the publication of scholarly books in Jewish studies. At that time, with Jewish studies a nascent academic field, few publishers would consider such scholarly titles. Over time that has changed and, fortunately, Judaic studies is no longer a niche market in scholarly publishing. With almost 400 titles published, we continue to publish high quality works that make a scholarly difference. Our publications undergo rigorous scholarly review and are priced aggressively in order to encourage dissemination.
Reflecting our history, our administrative structure is unusual. The tenured faculty of the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown University are uncompensated editors of the series. They coordinate the review of manuscripts and, if accepted, the revision process. Copyediting and typesetting is outsourced to a professional company and then the works are distributed and marketed through SBL Press. We are able to to focus on quality works without regard to commercial value, and to keep our prices low, due to our extremely low overhead. We see ourselves as a press by and for scholars.