Joint award for the first EHS Book Prize

The Ecclesiastical History Society awarded its first annual book prize at its winter meeting on Saturday 20 January 2018. The book prize is aimed at early career researchers and is awarded for the best first monograph on the history of Christianity published during the previous calendar year. The first EHS Book Prize was awarded jointly to Zachary Purvis and Richard Sowerby. Details of their books and the award committee's citations appear below.

Zachary Purvis, Theology and the University in Nineteenth-century Germany (OUP, 2016).

THE COMMITTEE SAID: Purvis showed a depth of research and a breadth of perspective that is unusual in a doctoral monograph. In spelling out not just the institutional setting for the development of theology as a discipline but how this informed and was informed by theological thinking, he argues convincingly for the centrality of academic theology to German university life and culture in the nineteenth century. Ranging from textbooks and teaching manuals via lecture notes and correspondence to publishers' records, Purvis's stamina and erudition is striking: this book will provide a roadmap for understanding its intellectual world.

Richard Sowerby, Angels in Early Medieval England (OUP, 2016)

THE COMMITTEE: was struck by the author’s lively intelligence and perception which enabled him to show how angels were to ‘good to think’ with, to borrow Lévi-Strauss’s famous formulation. Sowerby’s capacity to relate the particular to wider points was consistently impressive and the overall argument beautifully controlled. As an exercise in using a seemingly partial and relatively minor aspect of Anglo-Saxon Christianity as a lens to illuminate that society’s wider relationship with the supernatural, the monograph is a substantial achievement. The book is also stylishly written and has a quiet, unshowy, yet authoritative thoughtfulness that commands not only respect but also admiration.

Published on: 
30 Jan 2018