Inaugural Pelikan Award awarded to book about medieval friars

Photo of Caroline Bruzelius.
Caroline Bruzelius' book about medieval friars has won the inaugural Pelikan Award, which is given by Yale University Press in honor of a late Yale historian. (Photo by Atiim Jones)

A group of Yale faculty members has chosen the book “Preaching, Building, and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City,” written by Caroline Bruzelius and published in 2014 by Yale University Press, as the first winner of the Pelikan Award. Bruzelius is the Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University.

The Pelikan Award is a new biannual prize awarded by Yale University Press to a distinguished book on religion published by the Press in the previous two years. Honoring the late Jaroslav Pelikan, a Yale professor and Yale University Press author, the award includes a cash prize of $5,000. The winning book is selected by an independent committee of Yale faculty.

A renowned scholar of church history, Pelikan (1923-2006) joined the Yale faculty in 1962 and was appointed Sterling Professor of History 10 years later. He was the author of nearly 40 books, including works of groundbreaking scholarship, such as the five-volume study “The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine”, as well as works embraced by scholars and general readers alike, such as “Jesus Through the Centuries” and “Mary Through the Centuries.” Pelikan’s numerous awards and honors included a Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences, awarded to him by the Library of Congress in 2004.

About the inaugural winner of the Pelikan Award, Jennifer Banks, executive editor in religion at Yale University Press, said, “The selecting committee at Yale was deeply impressed by Caroline Bruzelius’ remarkable book, which studies how medieval friars influenced the growth and transformation of medieval buildings and urban spaces.”

“We are delighted to honor our friend and mentor Jaroslav Pelikan with this prize,” said John Donatich, director of Yale University Press. “And we are delighted that Caroline Bruzelius is our inaugural winner, the first of many scholars to build on Pelikan’s and the Press’s important work in religious scholarship.”

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