The Harold O. J. Brown Award for Student Scholarship is a paper competition for doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary work at the intersection of theology, philosophy, and science.

In the spirit of Harold Brown, the Brown Award encourages theological engagement on topics of pressing concern in church, academy, and world. With the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation, the Brown Award will address questions at the intersection of science and theology, with special consideration given to biblical teaching on creation in light of modern scientific research.

The Brown Award is granted to the student paper that best exemplifies the values and vision of the Henry Center, joining the highest intellectual standards with a spirit of humility, openness, and collaboration, presenting fresh approaches to stale problems for the advancement of life and thought. All students enrolled in an accredited PhD/ThD program are welcome to apply. The award recipient will receive a cash prize and guaranteed publication.

Quick Facts

  1. Papers Due May 1, 2017
  2. $2,500 First Prize & Publication in Trinity Journal
  3. $1,000 First Runner-up
  4. $500 Second Runner-up

Year One | 2016–2017

Reading Genesis in an Age of Science

The first year of the Creation Project begins with the beginning—Genesis and the origin of the world.

How are the opening chapters of Genesis and other origin texts throughout the Christian Scriptures related to the claims of modern science? In this first year, we hope to (a) promote careful interpretation of the biblical creation accounts that is informed by the history of exegesis and apprised of important exegetical and hermeneutical issues by scholars who hold to a historic evangelical view of the nature and authority of Christian Scripture, especially at points where interpretations may appear to contradict the claims of modern science; and (b) to make progress toward theological consensus regarding biblical teaching about human origins that demonstrates humility regarding exegetical claims and openness to new discoveries in the natural sciences.


Year One Topics of Inquiry

  • How should Christian readers understand the genre of the Genesis creation account, and why does the issue of genre matter? Generally, how do issues of genre impact our understanding of biblical creation texts?
  • Why—and how—should study of relevant ancient Near Eastern texts and contexts impact our understanding of the Genesis account?
  • What does careful exegesis of the Genesis account lead the Christian (who accepts this account as divine revelation) to conclude about cosmic and human origins?
  • How does the Genesis creation account fit into a broader canonical reading of the Bible as Christian Scripture?
  • What is the relation between “theological interpretation of Scripture” and/or “biblcal theology” to the critical study of such texts?
  • What do we learn from other relevant texts in the Old Testament (e.g., the “creation” psalms), the teachings of Jesus, or the theology the Apostle Paul?
  • How might historical sources help us to better understand contemporary barriers in theological progress or advance the current conversation by mining previously neglected positions and lines of inquiry?
  • What theological conclusions are demanded by these texts? What is entailed or implied by a proper interpretation of such texts? What may be suggested by or consistent with them?

Upcoming Theme Years

2016-2017: Reading Genesis in an Age of Science

2017-2018: Affirming the Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Science

2018-2019: Reclaiming Theological Anthropology in an Age of Science

Criteria of a Successful Paper

  • Congruence with the theme year.
  • Sophisticated understanding of the nuances of the wider theological and socio-cultural context.
  • Clear articulation of the significance of his or her argument in relation to our current intellectual climate.
  • Sound understanding of classic and contemporary Christian positions, especially in light of various scientific discoveries.
  • Engagement with wider, interdisciplinary scholarship in relation to the argument at hand.
  • Creative, thoughtful, stimulating, and cogent argument.
  • Academic scholarship of publishable quality.

Quick Facts

  1. Papers Due May 1, 2017
  2. $2,500 First Prize & Publication in Trinity Journal
  3. $1,000 First Runner-up
  4. $500 Second Runner-up


Submission Guidelines

  • All students who are enrolled in an accredited PhD / ThD program are welcome to apply.
  • Papers should be superior, publishable quality in content, organization, argument, and formatting.
  • Papers should conform to Trinity Journal’s style guidelines.
  • No papers previously submitted to the competition, previously published, or papers currently submitted for publication elsewhere will be accepted.
  • Papers should be submitted with a title page, including name, title, abstract, and word count.
  • Papers should not exceed 10,000 words. Papers exceeding this limit will not be accepted.
  • Students should submit their paper electronically in both MS Word and PDF formats.
  • All papers must be submitted no later than May 1, 2017. No late submissions will be accepted.
  • Publication of the first prize paper will take place in the Fall edition of the Trinity Journal.

Quick Facts

  1. Papers Due May 1, 2017
  2. $2,500 First Prize & Publication in Trinity Journal
  3. $1,000 First Runner-up
  4. $500 Second Runner-up



Contact Us

If you have any questions or feedback about the Harold Brown Award for Student Scholarship, or would simply like to talk with someone in person, please do not hesitate to contact us.


[email protected]

Quick Facts

  1. Papers Due May 1, 2017
  2. $2,500 First Prize & Publication in Trinity Journal
  3. $1,000 First Runner-up
  4. $500 Second Runner-up

Important Dates

May 1, 2017
Papers Due

June 1, 2017
Award Recipients Announced



This project is made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust.

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