2016 Harry C. Koenig Prize for Catholic Biography awarded to Franz Posset, Independent Scholar, for Johann Reuchlin, 1455-1522. A Theological Biography. (De Gruyter, 2015)
Dr. Franz Posset, independent scholar (Marquette University Ph.D.) demonstrates a sophisticated degree of Catholic Studies research and objectivity in Johann Reuchlin, 1455-1522. A Theological Biography. (De Gruyter, 2015). In this first biography in English of Reuchlin, Dr. Posset meticulously and even-handedly approaches a difficult but seminal subject: Catholic-Jewish relations in the Early Modern European era. He allows the reader to be immersed into Reuchlin’s Catholic world as the winds of reform and change begin to gain strength in Western Christendom. A renowned Humanist scholar and polyglot, Johann Reuchlin was a devoted student of the Hebrew language, rabbinic literature, and the Hebrew Scriptures. Beginning in 1510, he wrote in passionate defense of preserving Jewish books and learning. Dr. Franz Posset is the first in the English-speaking world to extensively utilize the new critical edition of Reuchlin’s correspondence (Johannes Reuchlin Briefwechsel, Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1999-2013), which demonstrates the breadth and depth in which Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were valued in theological and humanist circles, whether Catholic or Protestant. In this context, Posset sheds new light on Reuchlin’s achievements as lay theologian to create a uniquely Catholic Cabala. This theological biography is richly nuanced, deep in scope and vision of a still relevant topic in Catholic Studies.