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Religious Studies Professor Wins Prestigious Fellowship

April 06, 2016

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The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has awarded Paul S. Wright Professor of Christian Studies Robert Kugler a grant for his project, “Discovering Legal Pluralism: Toward a New Understanding of the Jews of Hellenistic Egypt.” Competition for an ACLS fellowship is intense: just six percent of this year’s nearly 1,100 applications received funding.

The ACLS fellowship program allows faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to devote six months to a year to research and writing in pursuit of a major piece of scholarly work.

“When I turned to papyrology from the Dead Sea Scrolls—a field where I had established a strong reputation—I took a considerable professional risk; it meant devoting time to learning a new discipline that I would have otherwise given to the scrolls and to nurturing that reputation,” explained Kugler. “So I am thrilled to have earned such a highly selective award as an ACLS Fellowship for my work in my new field of research. Now, with the combined resources of the fellowship and the College’s generous sabbatical policy, I can take the next steps toward my larger goal of rewriting the history of the Jews in Hellenistic Egypt.”

A previous winner of Lewis & Clark’s Teacher of the Year award and the David Savage award, Kugler teaches courses on Jewish and Christian origins, classical Greek, ancient Greek myth and religion, the Dead Sea Scrolls, method and theory in the study of religion, and in the first-year core program called Exploration and Discovery. He has also lead overseas study programs, including a semester in Greece last fall.

Kugler will use the residential fellowship to write a monograph addressing papyrologists and scholars of Jewish studies. With student research assistance, he will complete the study and analysis of a collection of second century BCE legal complaints from a Nile harbor town, which provide much information about the nature of the Jews living under Greek rule in Egypt.

Kugler is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College; completed his master of divinity degree at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California; and received his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

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