AUSTIN, Texas—An internationally noted book that explores how the gospel stories of Jesus changed over time received the top honor at the 2011 Robert K. Hamilton Book Awards, which recognize outstanding work by University of Texas at Austin faculty.
L. Michael White’s “Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite” (Harper Collins, 2010) took the $10,000 grand prize presented at the awards dinner Oct. 20 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin. A leading scholar of early Christian history, White holds the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins in the Departments of Religious Studies and Classics. His book examines what the gospel stories meant to people in ancient times and offers insights for how people can read the stories today.
The Hamilton Book Awards, sponsored by the University Co-op, are the only cross-disciplinary awards focusing on the scholarly writing of faculty and staff. Named after former Co-op Board chair and law professor Robert W. Hamilton, the awards are given to University of Texas at Austin faculty for outstanding scholarship and creative works published during the previous academic year.
White is the award’s first two-time grand prize winner. In 2006, he won the Hamilton Book Award for “From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries & Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith,” also published by Harper Collins.
Two College of Liberal Arts professors each received prizes of $3,000. They were:
Richard Graham, professor emeritus of history, for “Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860” (University of Texas Press, 2010).
Karl Miller, associate professor of history, for “Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow” (Duke University Press, 2010).
J. Patrick Olivelle, professor and former department chair of Asian Studies, also won the $10,000 Career Research Excellence award.