Burkitt Medal for Biblical Studies

The Burkitt Medal is awarded annually in recognition of special service to Biblical Studies, for Hebrew Bible studies (in odd years) and in New Testament studies (in even years).

History of the prize

The award was established in 1923 following the decision of Professor Francis Crawford Burkitt (1864–1935), elected a Fellow of the Academy in 1905, to strike a number of bronze medals for presentation by the Academy to scholars of biblical studies. After his death in 1935 the awards became known as Burkitt Medals. The medal was first awarded in 1925.


In 2024 eligible nominations must be for special service to New Testament studies.

In 2025 eligible nominations must be for special service to Hebrew Bible studies.

How to nominate

Nominations for the prize are open from 1 December to 31 January and may only be made by Fellows of the British Academy. Entries should be submitted electronically to [email protected].

In the body of the email, clearly state:

  • Name of the prize or medal
  • Name of nominee
  • Nominee’s position/institution and email address
  • Nominee’s principal area of academic distinction
  • Supporting statement (250 words)
  • Nominator’s name and your British Academy section
  • Declaration of any institutional or personal interest

The deadline for submissions is 31 January each year. Nominations will be reviewed, and the winner selected, by the relevant panel.

If you have any queries submitting a nomination please email [email protected].

2023 winner

Sara Japhet_Headshot

Professor Sara Japhet is awarded the 2023 Burkitt Medal for her pioneering contribution to the study of post-exilic Hebrew literature, particularly the books of Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah.

Sara Japhet is the Yehezkel Kaufmann Professor of Bible (Emerita) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was born and raised in Israel, and received all her academic education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sara Japhet began her academic career as a Lecturer in Haifa (1962/3) and Tel-Aviv (1963/4-1965), and was then appointed as assistant and instructor at the Bible Department of the Hebrew University (1966-1973). After receiving the Ph.D., she was appointed as Lecturer (1973), Senior Lecturer (1977), Associate Professor (1981) and, finally, Professor (1987). In 1996 she was appointed to the distinguished Yehezkel Kaufmann Chair of Biblical Studies.

Sara Japhet's research interests focus on the history, society, religion and literature of Israel in the biblical period; the history and literature of the Restoration Period; the writing of history in the biblical period; biblical law and legal traditions; the history of the interpretation of the Bible, in particular the classical Jewish exegesis of the Middle Ages; the study of the Bible in modern Israel, and more.

She is the author and editor of numerous books, which include the following: her Ph.D. dissertation, The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and its Place in Biblical Thought (Hebrew: 1977; English: 1989, 1997, 2009); I and II Chronicles - a Commentary (London: SCM Press, 1993), which also appeared in German in two volumes (2002, 2003); The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir on the Book of Job (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2000); The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir on the Song of Songs (Jerusalem: The World Union of Jewish Studies, 2008); with co-author R. B. Salters, The Commentary of Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) on Qoheleth (Hebrew and English: Magnes Press, 1985, 2007); A Commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah (Jerusalem, 2019).

Furthermore, Sara Japhet has received several awards for her research. In 2004, she was awarded the Israel Prize for Biblical Studies, the highest award in Israel. In 2007, her colleagues presented her with a Jubilee volume, Shai le-Sara Japhet: Studies in the Bible, its Exegesis and its Literature. And in 2010, Sara Japhet was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York.

"The news that the British Academy decided to choose me as the recipient of the Burkitt Medal for 2023 came to me as an absolute surprise! And – to say the truth – I am still under the impression of this feeling of surprise. What an honour! I dedicated my life to Biblical Studies in all their aspects, and I am still going on with full force. The fact that the esteemed colleagues of the world-famous British Academy recognize and appreciate my contribution is the best sign of international recognition that I have ever received, or even dreamt of receiving.

Please accept my heart-felt thanks! To the anonymous colleagues who brought up my nomination, and to the distinguished Members of the Academy who approved it and endowed me with this exceptional honour: "May your labour be your reward" (after Jeremiah 31:16)."

- Professor Sara Japhet, August 2023

Previous winners

2022 Emeritus Professor Richard B. Hays, Duke Divinity School

2021 Professor Rainer Albertz, University of Münster

2020 Professor Beverly Gaventa, Baylor University

2019 Professor John J. Collins, Yale Divinity School

2018 Professor Christopher Rowland, University of Oxford

2017 Professor Takamitsu Muraoka, University of Leiden

2016  Professor Dr Dr h.c. Barbara Aland, University of Münster

2015  Professor David J A Clines, University of Sheffield

2014  Professor N Thomas Wright, University of St Andrews 

2013  Professor Ronald Ernest Clements DD, King's College London

2012  Professor Christopher Tuckett, University of Oxford

2011  Professor Andrew Mayes, formerly Erasmus Smith Professor of Hebrew, Trinity College, Dublin

2010  Professor Ulrich Luz, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Bern

2009  Revd Professor Ernest Nicholson FBA, formerly Provost of Oriel College, Oxford

2008  Professor Richard Bauckham FBA, FRSE, Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor, University of St Andrews

2007  Professor Jan Alberto Soggin

2006  Professor Graham Stanton

2005  Revd Professor Pierre-Maurice Bogaert, OSB

2004  Professor Morna D Hooker

2003  Professor Bertil Albrektson

2002  Professor Gerd Theissen

2001  Professor Rudolf Smend FBA

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