Templeton Prize

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The Templeton Prize
Awarded for Outstanding contributions in affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.
Country United States
Presented by Templeton Foundation
First awarded 1973
Website www.templetonprize.org

The Templeton Prize is an annual award granted to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works". It was established, funded and administered by John Templeton starting in 1972, and then after 1987 by the John Templeton Foundation.[1]

The prize was originally awarded to people working in the field of religion (Mother Teresa was the first winner), but in the 1980s the scope broadened to include people working at the intersection of science and religion.[1] Until 2001, the name of the prize was "Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion", and from 2002 to 2008 it was called the "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities".[2][3] Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims have been on the panel of judges and have been recipients of the prize.[4]

The monetary value of the prize is adjusted so that it exceeds that of the Nobel Prizes; Templeton felt, according to The Economist, that "spirituality was ignored" in the Nobel Prizes.[5] It has typically been presented by Prince Philip in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.[6]

The prize has been criticized: British biologist Richard Dawkins said in his book The God Delusion that the prize was given "usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion".[7] Sean M. Carroll, a research professor in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, criticized his colleagues for taking Templeton research grants when they did not support Templeton's beliefs.[8] Martinus J. G. Veltman, the 1999 Nobel laureate in physics, suggested the prize "bridg[ed] the gap between sense and nonsense".[9]


Year Laureate Notes Ref(s)
1973 Mother Teresa facing right Mother Teresa Founder, Missionaries of Charity; 1979 Nobel Peace Prize laureate [10]
1974 Frère Roger in a group of people Frère Roger Founder, Taizé Community [11]
1975 Radhakrishnan.jpg Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Former President of India, advocate of non-aggression with Pakistan [11]
1976 Cardinal L. Suenens.jpg Leo Josef Cardinal Suenens Pioneer in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement [12]
1977 Chiara Lubich, smiling, surrounded by other smiling people Chiara Lubich Founder, Focolare Movement [13]
1978 The Very Rev. Thomas Torrance Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland [12]
1979 Statue of Niwano.JPG Nikkyō Niwano Cofounder, Risshō Kōsei Kai [12]
1980 Ralph Wendell Burhoe Founder, Zygon (journal) [14]
1981 Dame Cicely Saunders Founder, hospice and palliative care movement [15]
1982 A black-and-white image of Billy Graham The Rev. Billy Graham Evangelist [16]
1983 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn with his mouth open and lower teeth on show Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Soviet dissident novelist; Nobel laureate [16]
1984 The Rev. Michael Bourdeaux Founder, Keston Institute [11]
1985 Sir Alister Hardy Founder, Religious Experience Research Centre [17]
1986 The Rev. James I. McCord Former president, Princeton Theological Seminary [18]
1987 Father Jaki June 2007.jpg The Rev. Stanley Jaki Benedictine priest; professor of astrophysics, Seton Hall University [16]
1988 Inamullah Khan Former secretary-general, Modern World Muslim Congress [19]
1989 Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker.jpg Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker Physicist and philosopher [12][A]
1989 George MacLeod, The Very Rev. and Rt. Hon. The Lord MacLeod of Fuinary Founder, Iona Community [20][A]
1990 Baba Amte Developer of modern communities for people suffering from leprosy [21][B]
1990 Charles Birch Emeritus professor, University of Sydney [22][B]
1991 Rabbi The Rt. Hon. The Lord Jakobovits Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth [12]
1992 The Rev. Kyung-Chik Han Evangelist and founder, Young Nak Presbyterian Church [23]
1993 Chuck Colson.jpg Charles Colson Founder, Prison Fellowship [11]
1994 Michael Novak behind a lectern, speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington Michael Novak Philosopher and diplomat [11]
1995 Paul Davies.jpg Paul Davies Theoretical physicist [24]
1996 Bill Bright Founder, Campus Crusade for Christ [25]
1997 Rev. Pandurang Shastri Athavale Social reformer; philosopher; and founder, Swadhyay Movement [25]
1998 Sir Sigmund Sternberg Philanthropist; founder, Three Faith Forum [11]
1999 Ian Barbour Professor emeritus of science, technology and society, Carleton College [26]
2000 Freeman Dyson.jpg Freeman Dyson Professor emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton [26]
2001 The Rev. Canon Arthur Peacocke Former dean, Clare College, Cambridge [27]
2002 Johnpolkinghorne.jpg The Rev. John Polkinghorne Physicist and theologian [11]
2003 Holmes Rolston III.jpg The Rev. Holmes Rolston III Philosopher [28]
2004 GeorgeEllis-Walking.jpg George F. R. Ellis Cosmologist and philosopher [29]
2005 Charles Townes Nobel.jpg Charles Hard Townes Nobel laureate and physicist [10]
2006 John D. Barrow Cosmologist and theoretical physicist [30]
2007 Charles Taylor giving a lecture at the New School in 2007 Charles Margrave Taylor Philosopher [7]
2008 MKHeller.jpg The Rev. Michał Heller Physicist and philosopher [31]
2009 Bernard d'Espagnat Physicist [32]
2010 Dr. Ayala.jpg Francisco J. Ayala Biologist [33]
2011 Martin Rees at Jodrell Bank in 2007.jpg The Rt. Hon. The Lord Rees of Ludlow Cosmologist and astrophysicist [34]
2012 Dalai Lama 1430 Luca Galuzzi 2007crop.jpg His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate [35]
2013 TutuCOP17.JPG The Most Rev. Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate, social rights activist and retired Anglican archbishop [36]
2014 Tomas Halik.jpg Tomáš Halík Roman Catholic priest, theologian, sociologist [37]
2015 702524260 txjiQ-O.jpg Jean Vanier Catholic theologian, humanitarian and founder of L'Arche and Faith and Light [38]
2016 Sirjonathansacks.jpg Jonathan Sacks Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, philosopher, and scholar of Judaism [39]
2017 AlvinPlantinga.JPG Alvin Plantinga American scholar, philosopher, and writer [40]
2018 King Abdullah portrait.jpg Abdullah II of Jordan King of Jordan [41]


A. a Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Lord MacLeod of Fuinary were jointly awarded the prize in 1989.[42]
B. b Baba Amte and Charles Birch were jointly awarded the prize in 1990.[42]




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  9. ^ Veltman, Martinus. Facts and mysteries in elementary particle physics. World Scientific Publishing Company. p. 286. ISBN 981-238-149-X. 
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  13. ^ "Lubich, Chiara – Italian Roman Catholic lay leader". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  14. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (May 16, 1997). "Ralph Wendell Burhoe, 85; Reconciled Science and Faith". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  15. ^ Clark, David. Cicely Saunders – Founder of the Hospice Movement: Selected Letters 1959–1999. Oxford University Press. p. 131. ISBN 0-19-856969-6. 
  16. ^ a b c "British physicist wins religious prize". BBC News. March 14, 2002. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  17. ^ Hood Jr., Ralph. The Psychology of Religion. The Guilford Press. p. 248. ISBN 1-57230-116-3. 
  18. ^ Berger, Joseph (February 27, 1986). "Princeton theologian wins Templeton Prize of $250,000". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  19. ^ Steinfels, Peter (October 30, 1988). "Religion Notes; Prize Winner, Accused Of Bias, Collects Award". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  20. ^ MacLeod, George. Daily Readings with George Macleod. Fount. p. 15. ISBN 0-00-627513-3. 
  21. ^ Pandya, Haresh (February 17, 2008). "Baba Amte, 93, Dies; Advocate for Lepers". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
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  23. ^ Brozan, Nadine (March 12, 1992). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  24. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav (March 9, 1995). "Scientist Wins Religion Prize Of $1 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  25. ^ a b Niebuhr, Gustav (March 6, 1997). "Leader of Spiritual Movement Wins $1.2 Million Religion Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Connor, Steve (March 23, 2000). "£600,000 prize for physicist who urges ethics in science". The Independent. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  27. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav (March 9, 2001). "Religion Prize Won by Priest Much Involved With Science". The New York Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  28. ^ Sewell, Helen (March 19, 2003). "Environmentalist wins $1m prize". BBC News. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  29. ^ Howse, Christopher (March 20, 2004). "Sacred mysteries". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  30. ^ "British scientist wins $1m prize". BBC News. March 15, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  31. ^ Hall, John (March 12, 2008). "Cosmologist wins world's largest monetary award". The Independent. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  32. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (March 16, 2009). "Bernard d'Espagnat wins £1m Templeton Prize". The Times. Retrieved July 2, 2009. 
  33. ^ Dean, Cornelia (March 25, 2010). "Biologist Wins Templeton Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  34. ^ Satter, Raphael (April 6, 2011). "UK Astrophysicist Wins $1.6 Million Religion Prize". ABC News. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Dalai Lama Wins 2012 Templeton Prize". Philanthropy News Daily. March 30, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Archbishop Desmond Tutu wins £1.1m Templeton Prize". BBC News. April 4, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013. 
  37. ^ Bingham, John (13 March 2014). "Czech priest and former dissident Tomáš Halík wins £1.1m Templeton prize". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  38. ^ "Current Winner". John Templeton Foundation. March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Current Winner". John Templeton Foundation. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  40. ^ "Current Winner". John Templeton Foundation. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Current Winner". John Templeton Foundation. Retrieved June 27, 2018. 
  42. ^ a b "Previous winners". Templeton Foundation. Retrieved July 3, 2007. 

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