Theologian wins Philip Leverhulme prize

laura quick

Dr Laura Quick, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, has received a £100,000 Philip Leverhulme prize.

These prizes are awarded to early career researchers whose work has already had an “international impact” and whose future research career is deemed to be “exceptionally promising”.

Dr Quick’s research is looking at the Hebrew Bible from an interesting new angle: beauty and aesthetics.

She said: ‘I am thrilled to receive this award, which will allow me to begin a new project on the concepts of beauty and aesthetics in the Hebrew Bible. Beauty is an important conceptual category which animates and informs biblical literature, yet scholars have failed to interrogate the concept beyond inherited theological frameworks. As a result, the unique perspective of the Hebrew Bible has been neglected, and the field of biblical studies has been disengaged from larger humanistic inquiry into beauty and aesthetics.

‘My research will interrogate the aesthetic attitudes of biblical literature, opening up hitherto unexplored perspectives on the social, intellectual, and cultural world which shaped the Hebrew Bible. By connecting the Hebrew Bible to the history of aesthetics, I hope to shed new light onto both disciplines.’

Professor Karen O’Brien, Head of Humanities, said: ‘Laura’s work is characterised by a bold pursuit of large themes, backed by traditional historical-critical and exegetical techniques. In only her second year in post, she has already written on curses, dresses, the body, and beauty in a way that combines philological rigour with a real concern for the wider humanities. She is one of our most promising young scholars.’

Dr Bill Wood, Chair of the Faculty Board for Theology & Religion, said: ‘I was thrilled when Laura Quick re-joined the Faculty of Theology and Religion last year. Laura is an unusually creative and productive scholar, having already written two major monographs and some 20 academic essays. Her new project on beauty and aesthetics in biblical literature is sure to have significant implications for understanding both the Bible and the history of aesthetics.’