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Richards Award for Public Scholarship

The extraordinary importance and impact of public scholarship are increasingly being recognized by disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Society of Biblical Literature is delighted to announce a new award for SBL members: The Richards Award for Public Scholarship.

The Richards Award honors members of the Society of Biblical Literature who have demonstrated excellence in public scholarship. It seeks to recognize the powerful role of sacred texts in society and how those texts shape culture.

The award is given in honor of Kent Richards and on behalf his mother, Eva Richards, who made a difference in seeking the common good, always encouraging the relevance of religion scholarship.

Committee Sponsor
The Educational Resources and Review Committee (ERRC) serves as the award committee and will take an active role in identifying nominees as well as evaluating nominations. Throughout the year the ERRC discusses potential awardees and reviews submissions. The announcement of an award by the committee will typically occur near the end of the calendar year.

Nominees will be considered for how they have contributed to and shaped public discourse, broadly defined. This may include writings (including op-ed pieces and blogs), websites attracting the public, public speaking (including media appearances and public lectures), teaching and mentoring, or other means through which the nominee has served the public. Applications highlighting recent work as well as those highlighting a legacy of public engagement will be considered.

There is a $1,000 monetary award. The award may be given up to once in a given year, but it is not a requirement that the award be granted every year. The awardee will be recognized throughout the Society’s communications, including the SBL Newsletter, the Bible Odyssey Newsletter, social media, interviews for Bible Odyssey, and in the Society’s annual Society Report. No one may receive this award more than once.

Qualifications for Nomination
Any member of SBL may submit a nomination for this award. Any member of the Society is eligible to be nominated. Nominations should include PDFs of and/or links to a representative sample of the nominee’s public scholarship. This must be accompanied by a written description in the provided form of how the nominee has shaped public discourse in matters broadly related to biblical scholarship.

Nomination Requirements

  • Nominee must be a current member of SBL.
  • Nomination must be accompanied by information, provided in the form linked below, detailing why the nominee should receive the award. Contact information of the nominees and nominator (if different) is also required.
  • Supplemental materials such as writing samples or other examples of the nominee’s public scholarship (or links to those examples) are strongly encouraged.
  • The committee may contact the nominee or nominator for additional information.
  • Nominations are due on 15 May. Any nomination received after this date will be considered for the following year’s award.
  • Persons who have not yet received the award may be nominated multiple times, but nominations are not automatically transferred from one year to the next.

Nominations must be made using the online nomination form.

2023 Richard Award for Public Scholarship Winner

2022 Richard Award for Public Scholarship Winner



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