Dr Peter Ochs Awarded Lucas Prize by Tübingen University

Kalam Research and Media (KRM) congratulates Dr Peter Ochs for being awarded the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize by the University of Tübingen in Germany, in honour of his seminal contribution to inter-faith dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. 

The University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology awarded the 2023 Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize to Dr Peter Ochs, Professor Emeritus of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, USA. The award ceremony took place on 9 May at the Festsaal Ballroom at the University of Tübingen, and the faculty paid tribute to Dr Och’s services to the dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Dr Ochs seminal contribution was the development and dissemination of the Scriptural Reasoning method, which has been a significant method in deepening scriptural understanding between religions.

The Scriptural Reasoning method seeks reconciliation between followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam through joint reading and discussion of the respective holy scriptures, as mutual understanding is the basis of interreligious reconciliation.

According to the University of Tübingen, the jury said that Ochs thus fulfilled the objectives of the Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize in an outstanding way in his academic and personal work. The Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize goes to individuals whose academic work has made a major contribution to greater tolerance and better relations between people and nations and has helped to promote a philosophy of tolerance.

Dr Peter Ochs receiving the Lucas Prize at the University of Tübingen.

KRM is particularly thrilled with the news of the award given to Dr Ochs, as he is an esteemed member of its Board of Advisors. Dr Ochs’ Scriptural Reasoning method and his academic writings on the pragmatism and semiotics of C.S.Peirce, have been very important to the development of scholarship at KRM, complementing the Compassion Architecture for Kalam developed by KRM’s founder, Dr Aref Ali Nayed, and Professor David Ford’s notion of Wise Theology (see KRM monograph). 

Theological collaboration between Dr Peter Ochs, Dr David Ford and Dr Aref Nayed has been ongoing for more than a decade. At the keynote address that Dr Nayed gave on “Weaponizing Scripture” conference organised by the graduate students in the Scripture, Interpretation and Practice Program in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in March 2015. Dr Ochs gave the opening remarks at the lecture which can be viewed full here.

Dr Aref Nayed with Dr Peter Ochs during his visit to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Also, when Dr Iain Torrance was inaugurated as President of Princeton Theological Seminary in 2005, he invited Dr Peter Ochs, Dr Ford, and Dr Nayed to give lectures on Scriptural Reasoning. The essays by the three scholars on Reading Scripture Together were published in 2005 by the Princeton Seminary Bulletin

Ochs, Ford and Nayed were also together in the formative development of the Cambridge Interfaith Programme (CIP). CIP was formerly headed by Dr David Ford, with Dr Ochs and Dr Nayed as board member and senior advisor respectively.

More recently, Dr Ochs also contributed an important “Afterword” to Dr Basit Bilal Koshul’s monograph, Semiotics as a Resource for Theology, that argues that semiotics contains untapped “analytic” resources that can enrich theology. In the “Afterword”, titled “Iqbal, Peirce and Modernity”, Dr Peter Ochs, shows how Iqbal’s insights, when combined with Peirce’s analysis, help us to better understand the theological challenges posed by secular modernity—at the same time that is helps us to better appreciate the intellectual resources that modernity offers to articulate a more intelligible and effective response.

Dr Peter Ochs (born 1950) was Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia from 1997-2021 and has been Professor Emeritus since 2022. He is a co-founder of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning and of the Children of Abraham Institute, which are committed to dialogue among members of the Abrahamic religions. He has authored, co-authored or co-edited a number of books including Another Reformation: Postliberal Christianity and the Jews; The Jewish-Christian Schism Revisited; Peirce, Pragmatism, and the Logic of Scripture; Reviewing the Covenant: Eugene B. Borowitz and the Postmodern Renewal of Theology; Christianity in Jewish Terms; Reasoning after Revelation: Dialogues in Postmodern Jewish Philosophy; The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity; and Understanding the Rabbinical Mind. With Stanley Hauerwas, he coedits the book series Radical Traditions: (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) Theology in a Post-critical Key. Professor Ochs serves on the editorial boards of Modern Theology, Theology Today, The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, The Journal of Textual Reasoning, and Crosscurrents.

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