Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It was lovely to watch our Cecil Woods Visiting Fellow of Spring 2009 receive the Ratzinger Prize from Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday. The Rev. Dr. Richard Burridge is the dean of King's College, London and professor of biblical interpretation. The Ratzinger Prize was established in 2010. It has become the Vatican equivalent of an Oscar or a Nobel Prize; it recognizes international contributions to theological scholarship. And our Cecil Woods Visiting Fellow was a worthy recipient.

When the entire New Testament world took the view that the Gospels were not biographies, it was this young scholar trained in the Classics who explained that this was wrong. The Gospels are Graeco-Roman biographies, which follows the conventions precisely. Graeco-Roman biographies are invitations to imitate the subject (both in terms of words and deeds) and admire the subject (especially in respect to his or her attitude to death). He has developed this theme in several books and articles, some of which were worked on while he stayed at Virginia Theological Seminary.

I was honored to meet the Pope; he is an extraordinary man. And it is delightful to see a good friend of the Seminary being the first non-Roman Catholic to be so honored. It is an appropriate accolade for the strength and depth of Anglican scholarship.

The Very Rev Ian Markham
Dean and President