“Exceptionally promising” researcher receives Philip Leverhulme prize

Laura Quick

“Exceptionally promising” researcher receives Philip Leverhulme prize


We are delighted to announce that Dr Laura Quick, the Faculty’s Associate Professor of Theology and Religion: Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, has received a £100,000 Philip Leverhulme prize.

These prestigious prizes are awarded to early career researchers whose work has already had an “international impact” and whose future research career is deemed to be “exceptionally promising”.

Dr Quick’s research is looking at the Hebrew Bible from an interesting new angle: beauty and aesthetics. She is particularly interested in the composition of biblical literature in the wider context of the ancient Near East, with an emphasis on the production, consumption, and transformation of sacred texts by religious communities.

Dr Quick said: ‘I am thrilled to receive this award, which will allow me to begin a new project on the concepts of beauty and aesthetics in the Hebrew Bible. Beauty is an important conceptual category which animates and informs biblical literature, yet scholars have failed to interrogate the concept beyond inherited theological frameworks. As a result, the unique perspective of the Hebrew Bible has been neglected, and the field of biblical studies has been disengaged from larger humanistic inquiry into beauty and aesthetics.

‘My research will interrogate the aesthetic attitudes of biblical literature, opening up hitherto unexplored perspectives on the social, intellectual, and cultural world which shaped the Hebrew Bible. By connecting the Hebrew Bible to the history of aesthetics, I hope to shed new light onto both disciplines.’

Dr Quick completed her DPhil here, then took up the post of Assistant Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Princeton. She rejoined the Faculty as an Associate Professor in August 2019, and she is also a Tutorial Fellow at Worcester College.

Dr Bill Wood, Chair of the Faculty Board for Theology & Religion, said: ‘I was thrilled when Laura Quick re-joined the Faculty of Theology and Religion last year. Laura is an unusually creative and productive scholar, having already written two major monographs and some 20 academic essays. Her new project on beauty and aesthetics in biblical literature is sure to have significant implications for understanding both the Bible and the history of aesthetics.’

Professor Karen O’Brien, Head of Humanities, said: ‘Laura’s work is characterised by a bold pursuit of large themes, backed by traditional historical-critical and exegetical techniques. In only her second year in post, she has already written on curses, dresses, the body, and beauty in a way that combines philological rigour with a real concern for the wider humanities. She is one of our most promising young scholars.’