Virginia Burrus (PhD, 91) Awarded $10,000 Borsch-Rast Book Prize

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GTU Communications

Virginia Burrus (PhD, 91) Awarded $10,000 Borsch-Rast Book Prize

GTU alumna Dr. Virginia Burrus

The Graduate Theological Union is pleased to announce that Dr. Virginia Burrus (MA, 1984; PhD, 1991), the Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion at Syracuse University and the GTU’s 2017 Alumna of the Year, has been awarded the third annual Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship for her 2018 book, Ancient Christian Ecopoetics: Cosmologies, Saints, Things (University of Pennsylvania Press). Established in 2016, the Borsch-Rast Book Prize is awarded annually to encourage innovative and creative theological scholarship by GTU graduates and current faculty and carries a prize of $10,000.

“Virginia Burrus’s work represents the best of what we have come to expect from GTU graduates: rethinking traditions with a critical eye and a loving heart for the sake of making the world a better place—or, in this case, daring to hope that in the future there will be a world at all.”
--Dr. Arthur Holder

In her award-winning book, Virginia Burrus considers what insights ancient Christianity might contribute to contemporary reflection on the looming ecological crisis. Speaking on behalf of the awards committee, former GTU dean Arthur Holder noted that the questions Burrus raises about humanity’s place within the cosmos are “both perennial and urgent.” Holder celebrated the author’s inclusion of diverse conversation partners from the ancient world and a “dizzying array of interdisciplinary theories.” He added, “Virginia Burrus’s work represents the best of what we have come to expect from GTU graduates: rethinking traditions with a critical eye and a loving heart for the sake of making the world a better place—or, in this case, daring to hope that in the future there will be a world at all.”

Dr. Burrus’s receipt of the award was announced by GTU Dean Uriah Kim on November 23, 2019, at the GTU Alumni Reception during the 2019 Annual Meetings of the American Academy of Religion and Society for Biblical Literature in San Diego. Dr. Bernard Adeney-Risakota (PhD, ’82) of the Insdonesian Consortium for Religious Studies at Universitas Gadjah Mada was awarded an honorable mention for his book, Living in a Sacred Cosmos: Indonesia and the Future of Islam (CSEAS, Yale University).

Virginia Burrus will present on themes from her award-winning book at the GTU’s Third Annual Borsch-Rast Book Lecture on Thursday, March 19, 2020. A response will be offered by fellow GTU alum Douglas Christie (PhD, ’88), Professor and Chair of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University.

Created to encourage innovative scholarship by GTU alumni and faculty, the Borsch-Rast Book Prize is funded by an endowment stemming from the sale of Trinity Press International, a venture dedicated to the publication of scholarly and often interdisciplinary theological studies. The prize and lectureship honor the joint example and collaboration of Frederick Houk Borsch (1935-2017) and Harold W. Rast (1933-2004).

The Graduate Theological Union will begin accepting nominations of 2019 monographs written by GTU faculty and alumni for the next Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship on January 1, 2020. Visit gtu.edu/academics/borsch-rast-prize-lectureship for more on the Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship, including contest guidelines, the nominations form, and information about past recipients and lectures.