An historical overview of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion considers both the aspirations of the founders and the extent to which those aspirations have been realized, modified, or exceeded. Appropriate secondary sources are reviewed for an understanding of the intellectual and organizational contexts giving rise to the Journal and for a qualitative consideration of its earliest decades. Then we introduce quantitative data derived from tabulations of all articles and research notes that have appeared in the Journal beginning with its inception in 1961 through 1998. Major trends across time are identified in theories, methods, topics, author characteristics, editor characteristics, and other important traits. The article concludes with evidence of the Journal's premier and significant impact on the social-scientific study of religion.