Christine Hayes, the Robert F. and Patricia R. Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Religious Studies, published her third monograph, What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives in 2015. Since then, it has won multiple prizes. It is the winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award in Scholarship (also known as the Nahum M. Sarna Memorial Award) from the Jewish Book Council and the 2016 PROSE Award in Theology & Religious Studies from the Association of American Publishers. Finally, it won the 2016 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Jewish History & Culture in Antiquity from the Association for Jewish Studies.
The commendation for the Schnitzer Book Award read as follows:
Congratulations on being the recipient of the 2016 Jordan Schnitzer Book Award in the category of Biblical Studies, Rabbinics, and Jewish History & Culture for your book, What’s Divine about Divine Law? Early Perspectives (Princeton University Press, 2015). This award was established in 2008 by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation to honor scholars whose work embodies the best in the field: rigorous research, theoretical sophistication, innovative methodology, and excellent writing. In making this award, the selection committee wrote about your book: “The scope of this study is stunning, ranging from the Hebrew Bible, ancient Greek and Roman sources and Second Temple literature, through the New Testament and rabbinic literature. The author displays genuine expertise in all of these fields, and also makes use of a good deal of theoretical literature from philosophy, both ancient and modern, and from legal studies. The author lays out this material and its relevance with rare clarity, and her thesis also has weighty implications for Jewish thought as a whole, for it shows that both biblical and rabbinic theologies do not equate God’s law with perfection. The author strikes a superb balance between close readings and analyses of the ancient texts, and the larger arguments made in each chapter and throughout the work. She masterfully shapes a scholarly rhetoric that invites scholars of all of the various literatures that she discusses and utilizes into her story.”