Professor and Alum Win Lautenschlaeger Award

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Anathea Portier-Young, associate professor of Old Testament, has received one of 10 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Awards for Theological Promise. The award is sponsored by the Manfred Lautenschlaeger-Stiftung and honors the best doctoral or first post-doctoral book.

Portier-Young received the award for her book, Apocalypse Against Empire: Theologies of Resistance in Early Judaism (Eerdmans, 2011). The book views the first Jewish apocalypses as responses to imperial domination and hegemony. Her second book, The Theology of the Book of Daniel, will appear in the series Old Testament Theology (Cambridge University Press). Her scholarship combines literary, sociological, and theological approaches to the Old Testament with an interest in hermeneutics, history of interpretation, and ethics.

“I am most excited by the opportunity to meet other young scholars and learn about their work. I can already see that the work of these outstanding scholars will broaden and enrich my own research questions and methods,” Portier-Young said. “As a woman in the academy, part of what this award means to me, personally and professionally, is that it is evidence of how much I have benefited from mentoring, encouragement, and support throughout my academic career, and how vitally important it is for me and others to offer the same mentoring, encouragement, and support to the next generation of scholars, especially to women and minorities who remain underrepresented in the academy.”

An alumnus of Duke Divinity School has also received the award. David Moffitt earned a Th.M. in New Testament from Duke Divinity School in 2003, and he was visiting assistant professor of New Testament from 2010–2011. He is currently an assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C. Both Moffitt and Portier-Young earned their Ph.D. in religion from the Duke University Graduate Program in Religion.

Moffitt received the award for his book, Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Brill, 2011). His book argues that Jesus’ embodied, resurrected life is crucial for the high-priestly Christology and sacrificial soteriology developed in the book of Hebrews, and that the author of this letter draws on the logic of Jewish apocalypticism to develop his case. He is currently working on a book that reexamines the assumption that Hebrews represents an early form of Christian supersessionism, and is also researching the concepts and practices of sacrifice in Second Temple Judaism to understand how these inform the Christology and soteriology in other New Testament and early Christian texts.

Dean Richard Hays said, “We are delighted that the outstanding scholarly work of Thea Portier-Young and David Moffitt has received international recognition in these prestigious Lautenschlaeger Awards. It is striking that two of the 10 worldwide awards went to recent graduates of our doctoral program, and that Duke is the only university whose graduates received more than one of the prizes this year. Both of these awards for theological promise went to young scholars who work specifically in biblical studies; this fact highlights Duke’s commitment to shaping a renewed scriptural imagination in and for communities of faith.”

Winners are selected by a committee of distinguished scholars from all over the world. They represent various major faith traditions as well as a variety of academic fields, including theology, history, natural sciences, and philosophy. Award recipients in 2013 include scholars from Israel, England, Germany, Australia, as well U.S. winners from Emory, Yale, Harvard, and Duke universities. Awards will be presented at a ceremony on May 31, 2013, at a ceremony at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. The winners will participate in a scholarly colloquium and receive a cash prize of $10,000.