Historian David Nirenberg receives the Leopold Lucas Prize

David Nirenberg
David Nirenberg

The University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology has announced that this year’s Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize will go to medievalist and intellectual historian David Nirenberg. The Faculty makes the award in recognition of his research into the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages and the present day. This year’s Lucas Prize for Junior Researchers will go to Catholic theologian Dr. Jan Niklas Collet.

David Nirenberg (born 1964) is the director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, winner of numerous academic awards and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Medieval Academy of America.

In his works, Nirenberg deals with the coexistence and opposition of the three religions both in small-scale studies, especially on late medieval Spain and France, and in large-scale overviews spanning epochs. In his publications, he shows that both socially prescribed categories and individual experience contribute to how members of the three religious groups perceive each other.

He pays particular attention to how the individual’s own experience and widespread ideas influence and alter one other. He carefully contextualizes violence between religious groups or individuals in historical terms, explaining its causes and intentions without excusing the violence or dismissing it as irrationality. He works through anti-Judaism in Western thought since antiquity, placing its various manifestations precisely into their respective historical contexts. By rationally explaining phenomena of rejection and violence and placing them in social, political and economic contexts, he also shows ways for religions to coexist peacefully.

The Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize goes to individuals whose academic work has made a major contribution to greater tolerance and better relations between people and nations and has helped to promote a philosophy of tolerance.

The Prize honors the memory of the Jewish rabbi and scholar Dr. Leopold Lucas, murdered at Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. The Prize was endowed by his son, Franz D. Lucas, in 1972. It is awarded annually by the University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology. The prize is endowed with 50,000 euros.

Leopold Lucas Prize for early-career researchers

Dr. Jan Niklas Collet receives the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize for young academics for his doctoral thesis in Catholic theology entitled "Continuing to write the theology of liberation. Ignacio Ellacuría in conversation with decolonial and postcolonial feminism".

Ellacuría was a representative of Latin America’s liberation theology, which focuses on the close relationship between faith and justice and pursues an approach that is critical of domination. Ellacuría was murdered in 1989. Collet creates a conversation between Ellacuría and contemporary feminist and postcolonial discourse, subjecting his work to critical appraisal. In the thesis, Collet provides innovative theological groundwork with further reflections on an updated reception of liberation theology in Europe. The prize is endowed with 20,000 euros.