Rev. Brian Daley, S.J., to Receive 'Nobel Prize' in Theology From Pope Benedict

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Brian E. Daley, S.J. Rev. Brian E. Daley, S.J.

Rev. Brian E. Daley, S.J., Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, will receive the 2012 Ratzinger Prize in Theology from Pope Benedict XVI in a ceremony Oct. 20 in Rome.

The two winners of this year’s award, which has been nicknamed the “Nobel of Theology,” were announced this morning at a Vatican news conference. The other 2012 Ratzinger Prize will be awarded to French philosopher Remi Brague.

Established in 2010, the Ratzinger Prize is sponsored by The Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) Vatican Foundation to recognize distinguished scholarship in scripture, patristics, and fundamental theology. This year’s prizes will be conferred by the Pope during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.

At this morning’s news conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Ratzinger Foundation’s academic committee, praised Father Daley as “a great historian of patristic theology, but also a man entirely committed to the life and mission of the Church, an exemplary model of the fusion of academic rigor with passion for the Gospel.”

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1996, Father Daley, a Jesuit priest, is an internationally renowned scholar of the writings, sayings and lives of the earliest Christians. His teaching and research concerns such first- through eighth-century Christian thinkers as Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine of Hippo and Maximus the Confessor, and the eschatology of the early church.

A 1961 graduate of Fordham University and a Rhodes Scholar, Father Daley studied classics, philosophy, and ancient history at Merton College, University of Oxford, where he earned a master’s degree before entering the Society of Jesus in 1964 and being ordained a priest in 1970. He returned to Oxford in 1972, earned a doctoral degree in theology in 1978 and taught at the at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass., for 18 years before coming to Notre Dame.

Among the numerous books Father Daley has written or edited are The Hope of the Early Church, On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies and Gregory of Nazianzus. He also has translated Hans Urs von Balthasar’s The Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor. In addition to his academic and scholarly work, he serves as executive secretary of the Catholic-Orthodox Consultation for North America and as a priest in Notre Dame residence halls and at St. Bavo Parish in Mishawaka, Ind.

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