Study of Reformation wins major book prize

 Study of Reformation wins major book prize

At a ceremony held in the British Academy on Monday, Professor Alan Ryan (Warden of New College, Oxford and Chairman of the Judges) announced that the winner of the 2004 Academy Book Prize was Diarmaid MacCulloch, for his Reformation: Europe's House Divided 1490-1700, Allen Lane, Penguin Press.

Professor Ryan told guests, that Diarmaid MacCulloch had written a "majestic survey, which subtly describes the interplay of theology, politics, and international relations in shaping Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries, and beyond to our own day."

He said: " It progresses logically as well as chronologically from schisms in the Catholic Church to the religious and political consequences: the failed attempts at reunification, the permanent divisions of Europe, the consequences of these for the history of the United States and Latin America, as well as the Reformation's cultural effects.

"Its great strength, though the greatest source of difficulty for the modem reader, is that it takes theology seriously as an independent explanatory variable, and not simply as the ideological expression of changes in economic and political facts."

The Academy Book Prize was established in 2001 to celebrate 'accessible scholarly writing'. Professor Ryan said the judges had looked for a book built on excellent up-to-date scholarship, about a sufficiently large and interesting subject to entice the general reader, treated in as accessible a fashion as a serious treatment of the subject would allow.

The other books on the shortlist were: Stephen Cretney 'Family Law in the Twentieth Century: A History', Oxford University Press; Maud Ellmann 'Elizabeth Bowen' Edinburgh University Press; RF Foster 'WB Yeats: A Life, Volume 2 The Arch-Poet' Oxford University Press; John Landers 'The Field and the Forge' Oxford University Press; Michael Williams 'Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis' University of Chicago Press

The six judges were: Professor Alan Ryan, Warden, New College, Oxford and Chair of the 2004 Panel; Antony Beevor; Professor Marilyn Butler, Rector, Exeter College, Cambridge; Professor Eda Sagarra, pro-Chancellor, Dublin University; Lord Skidelsky, University of Warwick;
Marina Warner

Source: Michael Read, British Academy

LONDON - 15 December 2004 - 350 words

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