2014 ESSSAT Prizes

The ESSSAT Research Prize for 2014 has been awarded to Dr. Patricia Bennett for her dissertation Relationality and Health: A Transversal Neurotheological Account of the Pathways linking Social Connection, Immune Function, and Health Outcomes. With this original study, Bennett earned a doctorate in theology from Oxford Brookes University, UK. Bennett’s study brings together in fruitful conversation medical literature, especially on neuro-immunology (links between ‘how we feel’ and our immune system), and a theological vision of a healthily connected human person. She draws on primary scientific literature as well as theological and philosophical texts. The author uses her earlier training and experience in medicine to good effect, and in this shows the wisdom that comes from time spent in two very different disciplines. The jury considered this an ambitious study drawing on a wide range of literature, focused on a relevant problem in a way that gives purpose and a practical thread to the work.  Thus, the jury consisting of scholars from Germany, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, unanimously chose this book as winner of the ESSSAT Research Prize. The Prize, sponsored by the Udo Keller Stiftung Forum Humanum , consists of 2000 euro, as well as coverage of travel to and participation in the next European Conference on Science and Theology.

Additional Information

On the sponsor of the prize, the Udo Keller Foundation Forum Humanum: http://forum-humanum.org/ .

On the 15th European Conference on Science and Theology, http://esssat2014.edicypages.com/ .

Chairman of the jury was Prof. Dr. W.B. Drees, Leiden University (NL);
Email w.b.drees@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

The winner of the ESSSAT Research Prize, Patricia Bennett, can be reached at Email patbennett23@btinternet.com .

The ESSSAT Student Prize for 2014 has been awarded to Jenna K. Freudenburg for her essay “Is the God of the gaps argument always theologically harmful?”.  The essay was presented as course work at the Divinity School of the University of Edinburgh in 2013. Jenna Freudenburg examines the notion of a God of the gaps from the perspectives of the scientist and of the theologian. While agreeing that the God of the gaps has no place in science, she argues inventively against the notion that this idea is necessarily dangerous for a good theology, given that it can be used in tandem with a more self-reflective understanding of science.

The jury for the prize consisted of scholars from France, Poland and Estonia.

The ESSSAT Student Prize is sponsored by the Udo Keller Stiftung Forum Humanum.  It consists of 1000 euro, together with the costs of travel to and participation in in the Fifteenth European Conference on Science and Theology, to be held in Assisi, Italy, April 30th – May 4th, 2014. The ESSSAT Student Prize will be presented during the conference.