Monday, November 29, 2004

Jaroslav Pelikan and Paul Ricouer Share Kluge Prize

(courtesy of Adam Jones--we worked together to understand Paul Ricouer)

American, Frenchman Share $1M Kluge Prize
By CARL HARTMAN, Associated Press Writer

An 80-year-old American historian, Jaroslav Pelikan, and a 91-year-old French philosopher, Paul Ricoeur, will share the $1 million Kluge prize, created last year to honor achievement in fields not covered by the Nobel prizes.

Pelikan, who lives in New Haven, Conn., has specialized in the story of Christianity from its beginnings to the present. He has written more than 30 books, using sources in nine languages and dealing with literary and musical as well as doctrinal aspects of religion. He is a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Pelikan "has moved over time to consider the whole history of church doctrine, both through the western Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.

Ricoeur has taught at Haverford College, Columbia and Yale universities, the University of Chicago and Louvain University in Belgium, as well as at the Sorbonne and other French institutions.

Orphaned in World War I, Ricoeur was drafted in World War II and was captured and spent most of the conflict as a prisoner of war in Germany. He was active in the French Socialist Party afterward.

Billington, announcing the award he will present on Dec. 8, described Ricoeur's work as drawing "on the entire tradition of western philosophy to explore and explain common problems: What is a self? How is memory used and abused? What is the nature of responsibility?"

The prize was established by John W. Kluge, chairman of the private sector advisory body of the Library of Congress (news - web sites). The first year's prize, for 2003, went to Leszek Kolakowski, a Polish anti-communist philosopher.

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