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Philosophy and Religious Studies Instructor Wins Templeton Award for Theological Promise

Biblical scholar Michael Legaspi recognized as one of the world's leading young theologians

February 03, 2011 — Andover’s newest member of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Michael Legaspi, has been awarded the 2011 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for his doctoral research and book “The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies” (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Legaspi’s first book documents the emergence of a new form of biblical interpretation at the time of the Enlightenment, and examines how academics created new modes of biblical criticism that were designed to preserve European culture by replacing older, confessional forms of biblical theology.

“People write books because they feel they have something to contribute to a larger conversation,” said Legaspi, who is currently working on a second book about how concepts of wisdom have shaped biblical study and interpretation. “An award like this amplifies your voice a little within that conversation.”

Before joining Andover’s faculty in September of 2010, Legaspi was an assistant professor of theology at Creighton University in Omaha. The biblical scholar and historian of biblical interpretation earned a BA degree in Near Eastern studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD degree in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) from Harvard University.

"The John Templeton Award for Theological Promise is a highly prestigious international honor recognizing those who are deemed to be forging new ground in theological understanding in our contemporary time,” said Diane Moore, a philosophy and religious studies instructor. “We are so fortunate to have one of the brightest young scholars in the field here at Phillips Academy."

Established in 2005, the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise is given annually to 12 post-doctoral young scholars. An international and inter-religious panel of 25 judges evaluates the prize nominations, which are based on the candidates’ doctoral dissertations as they relate to the topic of God and spirituality, “as broadly understood.”

Legaspi will receive a prize of $10,000 and attend an official awards ceremony at the University of Heidelberg in May. The awards are given jointly by the John Templeton Foundation and the Research Center for International and Interdisciplinary Theology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.


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