The Resurrection of the Son of GodA book exploring the resurrection of Jesus in the light of ancient pagan, Jewish and Christian beliefs on death and resurrection has won the first Ramsey Prize for Theological writing.

Bishop Tom Wright's work The Resurrection of the Son of God - Christian Origins and the Question of God (SPCK) was selected by a distinguished panel of six judges as the most promising theological work of the current age from a short list of five. The book traces the Greek and Roman rejection of the possibility of resurrection from the dead and explores the contrasting Jewish and Christian beliefs. Wright then considers the political and theological impact of the Christian resurrection narratives and what they tell us about what must have happened after Jesus death. He then approaches, as a historian, the question of what really happened at Easter and concludes that it is highly probable not only that Jesus tomb was found empty but also that his body had been transformed, had gone through death and out into a world of new (bodily) creation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that the judges had faced a difficult job: "Each book was outstanding in its own way, but Bishop Tom's work combined a vast range of scholarship with a completely accessible, indeed, compelling style, and it deals authoritatively with the most central beliefs of Christian people. I am happy to see such an auspicious beginning for this new award."

Bishop Tom Wright said that the award came as a huge surprise. "I was convinced it was going to be one of the others", he said. "There were some wonderful books on the list. I am very proud to be one of Michael Ramsey's successors here in Durham, and also as a writer on the resurrection, and to win the prize named after him is a great honour". Bishop Tom was presented with the prize, an award of £15,000 at a ceremony at St William's College in York yesterday [Tuesday 12th July 2005]


Notes for editors:

Photographs of the occasion are available:

(Click on image for enlarged version)

Caption: Authors and judges: (l-r: back row: Oliver O'Donovan, Mary Ann Sieghart, Rowan Williams, P D James, Graham James (Judges: Mrs Jane Williams not present at the award) Front row: John Inge, Tom Wright, Telford Work, Tim Gorringe, Duncan Forrester)

(Click on image for enlarged version)

Caption: Bishop Tom with the Archbishop of Canterbury

The winning book details:
The Resurrection of the Son of God
Christian Origins and the Question of God
Hardback, ISBN 0-281-05551-3, £55.00, published by SPCK
Paperback, ISBN 0-281-05550-5, £35.00, published by SPCK

The members of the panel of judges were: Graham James, Bishop of Norwich. P D James, well known novelist and lay patron of the Prayer Book Society. Oliver O'Donovan, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology in the University of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral. Mary Ann Sieghart, Assistant Editor of The Times. Jane Williams, visiting lecturer in theology at Kings College, London. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, a distinguished theologian and noted poet.

The complete shortlist for the Ramsey Prize was:
ON HUMAN WORTH A Christian Vindication of Equality Duncan B Forrester SCM Canterbury Press
FURTHERING HUMANITY A Theology of Culture T J Gorringe Ashgate
LIVING AND ACTIVE Scripture in the Economy of Salvation Telford Work Eerdmans
THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD Christian Origins and the Question of God N T Wright SPCK


Issued by:
Revd Jonathan Jennings,
Archbishop's Press Officer,
Lambeth Palace,
London SE1 7JU
Telephone: 0207 898 1280
Fax: 0207 261 1765