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Prestigious German research prize for St Andrews academic

Dr Nathan MacDonald receiving his award from Dr Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research and Prof. Dr Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation.

A St Andrews’ academic has been awarded a prestigious research prize by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.

Dr Nathan MacDonald, a lecturer in Old Testament at the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, is the only recipient of the award from the United Kingdom.

The Sofja-Kovalevskaja prize is worth £1.3 million over five years and will fund a small research team led by Dr MacDonald based at the University of Göttingen.

He is one of eight scholars from around the world to win the Sofja-Kovalevskaja Award and the only non-scientist from among the eight awardees.

Dr MacDonald and his research team will examine the different forms that monotheism (belief in a single God) took within early Judaism during the period 586-333 BC.

He explained, “Previous scholarship has primarily been interested in the development of monotheism within ancient Israel up to 586 BC and has not examined the mature expressions of monotheistic belief and practice.

“I hope this research will show what unified these religious expressions, whilst also examining the extent of their diversity.”

The author of three books, Dr Macdonald’s academic work has already been recognized in the award of an Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship and the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise.

The award ceremony took place in the Deutsche Parlamentarische Gesellschaft in Berlin.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS: Dr Nathan MacDonald is available for interview on Tel: 01334 462827 or E-mail: nm28@st-andrews.ac.uk

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. It is awarded every other year to academics at an early stage in their careers.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation promotes academic cooperation between excellent scientists and scholars from Germany and abroad. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as other national and international partners.

Further details about the Sofja-Kovaleskaja Award and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation can be found at http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/cms/1600.html and http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/cms/32455.html.

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

AN IMAGE IS AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Photograph shows Dr Nathan MacDonald receiving his award from Dr Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research and Prof. Dr Helmut Schwarz, President of the Humboldt Foundation.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  MacDonald 11/12/08
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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