The Andrew Murray – Desmond Tutu Prize for the Best Christian and Theological Book by a South African in any official language of South Africa, will be awarded for the first time in 2007. The recipient is J. Wentzel van Huyssteen for his book, Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology, published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company in the United States.
The book is an edited version of Van Huyssteen’s Gifford lectures, given in Edinburgh, Scotland, during 2004. Van Huyssteen discusses at length the extremely important issue of the relationship between science and religion. The judges describe it as a “complete book in a way that you rarely see.” Van Huyssteen is at home in theology as well as philosophy.
He explored the interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and paleoanthropology and, specifically, questions of human uniqueness, by focusing on the meaning of prehistoric European cave paintings as some of the oldest surviving expressions of human symbolic activity. His conclusion is that theology and paleoanthropology converge on the fact that humans, with inter alia their ability to create symbolically, are unique and therefore…”alone in the world.”
Van Huyssteen studied at Stellenboch and the Free University of Amsterdam, was minister of the Dutch Reformed Congregation NoorderPaarl, and lectured at the University of Port Elizabeth, before he became the James
I. McCord Professor of Theology andScience at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1992. Some of his other publications are Theology and the Justification of Faith: Constructing Theories in Systematic Theology (the Afrikaans version of which received the Andrew Murray Prize in 1987); Duet or Duel? Theology and Science in a Postmodern World (1998), and The Shaping of Rationality: Toward Interdisciplinarity in Theology and Science (1999).
The Andrew MurrayDesmond Tutu Prize was established last year by the Board of the Andrew Murray Prize Fund, and, by combining the names of Murray and Tutu, was widely welcomed as a gesture of reconciliation in South Africa. It will be presented to Dr. van Huyssteen by Desmond Tutu May 31 in Wellington, South Africa.