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OU Scholar Awarded for Excelling in Religious Studies

OU interim Senior Vice President and Provost Kyle Harper received the Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Historical Studies.

NORMAN – The American Academy of Religion has awarded University of Oklahoma interim Senior Vice President and Provost Kyle Harper with the prestigious Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion: Historical Studies for his book, From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity, published by Harvard University Press in 2013.      

The academy’s Awards for Excellence recognize new scholarly publications that make significant contributions to the study of religion. The awards honor books of distinctive originality, intelligence, creativity and importance; books that affect decisively how religion is examined, understood and interpreted. The awards will be presented at the academy’s annual meeting in November in San Diego.    

“This award from the American Academy of Religion is testimony to Dr. Harper’s outstanding national reputation as a scholar,” said OU President David L. Boren. “Understanding religion is a key component of understanding the history of other nations and cultures as well as to the understanding of current events.”

From Shame to Sin, Harper’s second book, explores sources in literature, philosophy and art to examine the rise of Christianity as a turning point in the history of sexuality.

Harper’s first book, Slavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275-425, received the James Henry Breasted Prize for Best Book in English in a field of Pre-Modern History from the American Historical Association in 2012. The book is a study of slavery in its essential dimensions – economic, social and legal – over the final period during which the Mediterranean was united under Roman rule.

Harper, an Oklahoman and an OU graduate, earned a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 2007. He teaches Greek and Roman history, early Christianity, late antiquity and ancient law at OU. He also directs OU’s Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, an interdisciplinary center for the study of constitutionalism.