Hughes book earns major award

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The Rev. Dr. Robert Hughes, professor of systematic theology and Norma and Olan Mills professor of divinity at the School of Theology, has been named the inaugural recipient of a major new award for scholarship in pneumatology, the study of the Holy Spirit.

The Poullart Libermann Award in Pneumatology, created by Duquesne University, honors “the individual who has made the most significant scholarly contribution to the area of pneumatology in the preceding five year period.”
Hughes was selected for the award based on his 2008 book, Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life.

The Rev. Dr. Robert HughesAs recipient of the award, Hughes will give the 2010 Holy Spirit Lecture at Duquesne, and his book and other scholarly work will be the subject of a colloquium in the field of pneumatology. The annual Holy Spirit Lecture honorees are major theologians from the Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic traditions. Hughes’ Duquesne lecture will be published and distributed by the university. He will also receive a stipend and a medallion. “This award brings international attention to Dr. Hughes’ major contribution to the renewal of spiritual theology in our day,” said the Very Rev. Dr. William S. Stafford, Dean of the School of Theology.

Beloved Dust takes a realistic and contemporary view of human being as entirely physical (dust) and then shows it immersed in three great tides of the Holy Spirit, the traditional threefold rhythm of conversion, transfiguration, and glory. In it, Hughes achieves an entirely new presentation of the traditional teaching in the light of contemporary knowledge and practice.

“There aren’t many breakthrough books [in pneumatology],” says the Rev. Dr. Radu Bordeianu, director of the Holy Spirit Lecture and Colloquium. “He really did something amazing.” The reviewers’ recommendation for the award cited the book as “a major contribution to both the fields of spirituality and pneumatology, exploring the interrelationship between the two in freshly provocative and at times brilliant ways.”

Hughes joined the faculty at the School of Theology in 1977. Author of numerous articles appearing in journals such as the Anglican Theological Review, the Sewanee Theological Review, and the St. Luke’s Journal of Theology, he also wrote “The Holy Spirit in Christian Spirituality” for The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality (2005).

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