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Diarmaid MacCulloch receives 2019 Lucas Prize

University of Tübingen pays tribute to outstanding British historian; Junior Lucas Prize goes to history researcher Alexa von Winning

Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch
Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch

The British historian and theologian Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch received the University of Tübingen’s Dr Leopold Lucas Prize on Tuesday. Sir Diarmaid, an Anglican deacon and Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford University, is considered one of the world’s leading Reformation researchers. The Faculty of Protestant Theology selected him for his services to the discipline and for his comprehensive understanding of the complex relationship between religion and European history. The €50,000 Prize honors outstanding achievements in the fields of theology, intellectual history, historical research, and philosophy. It goes to individuals who have made a major contribution to greater tolerance and better relations between people and nations.

This year’s Lucas Prize for Junior Researchers will go to historical researcher Alexa von Winning of the Institute for Eastern European History and Area Studies for her doctoral thesis, “Leaving Home. The Noble Family, Imperial Russia, and Global Orthodoxy, 1855-1936” in Modern and Contemporary History. In it, she examines the interplay of politics and private lives in the Russian Empire. The prize is endowed with 20,000 euros.

The Reverend Diarmaid MacCulloch (born 1951) was ordained a Deacon of the Anglican Church after completing his Theology studies. Since 1997, he has been Professor of the History of the Church at the University of Oxford; his research focuses primarily on the Reformation and Tudor England. He was an editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History for two decades and has often appeared in BBC historical documentaries. He was knighted in 2012.

His works on the Reformation in England have won many prizes. They portray the Reformation as a process which redrew the religious, political and social map in the years 1490 to 1700. The Lucas Prize jury said he had forever changed our picture of Europe in the Early Modern Age: “The Reformation did not emanate from the small university town of Wittenberg alone; it was a multi-confessional process with manifold dynamics and originated perhaps surprisingly in Spain and the Inquisition. The European states were more strictly ordered than in the Middle Ages, and reshaped their societies along religious lines. Diarmaid MacCulloch paints a picture of a polycentric Europe in the Early Modern Age, with different forces behind the modernization which characterizes European society up to the present day. With great erudition but also a light narrative style, he departs from the conventional patterns of national histories and, as a historian, meets the idea of tolerance to which the Lucas Prize is dedicated.” 

Alexa von Winning (born 1984) studied Modern History and Political Science in Tübingen and Kazan (Russian Federation). In her doctoral thesis at the University of Tübingen Faculty of the Humanities, she examined the historical connections between private and political life. In the Russian Empire, highly-mobile elite families functioned as a bridge between the Russian Orthodox Church and the globalized world of the 19th century. This brought risks and opportunities - mobile families expanded the international presence of the Empire and the Church; at the same time, they brought in ideas which state and church authorities were unable to control. Von Winning’s work shows that families were not always purely domestic, and that politics - even in the 19th century - was not solely the domain of men.

The Leopold Lucas 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 in his memory each year by the University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology.


Professor Dr. Michael Tilly
University of Tübingen
Faculty of Protestant Theology
+49 7071 29-72538
ev.theologiespam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de

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