John Wesley Honors College names 2018 Aldersgate Prize recipient

Indiana Wesleyan University’s John Wesley Honors College is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Aldersgate Prize: Natalia Marandiuc’s “The Goodness of Home: Human and Divine Love and the Making of the Self” (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Motivated by the ethos of its Christian liberal learning community, the John Wesley Honors College awards the Aldersgate Prize annually to celebrate the outstanding achievement of an author whose scholarship challenges reductionistic trends in academia by yielding a broadly integrative analysis of life’s complexities and by shedding fresh light on ultimate questions that can enrich Christian conceptions of human flourishing. After reviewing over seventy nominations for this year’s prize, the Aldersgate Prize selection committee unanimously chose “The Goodness of Home” as the most laudable, timely and inspiring example of this kind of scholarly endeavor.

In an age of unapologetic individualism, technological isolation from human intimacy, and the social disruptions of wide-scale geographic mobility, Marandiuc’s penetrating and prophetic engagement of the “relational impoverishment of our age” deeply impressed the Aldersgate Prize selection committee. Drawing on the disciplines of theology, neuroscience, psychology and philosophy, and enlisting the help of interlocutors from Augustine and John Duns Scotus to Kierkegaard, Kant and Charles Taylor, Marandiuc’s fascinating anthropological analysis shows how the relational interdependence of particular love attachments are fundamental to the formation of a flourishing self and its participation in divine grace. Turning modern ideals of authenticity on their head, “The Goodness of Home” argues persuasively that a human self can only emerge into the freedom of maturity and thriving within the embodied, “relational homes” that secure attachments of love and belonging can provide. The text likewise constructs a convincing account of how the particularities of these formative relationships, when they conform to Christ’s incarnation and are permeated by the Holy Spirit, become “sacramental” spaces within which finite lovers share tangibly together in the eternal abundance of divine love. Marandiuc’s richly textured anthropology of love, in which God’s pneumatological presence indwells and anchors intimate human attachments and unites their creaturely affections to the transcendent life and love of the Trinity, also offers a powerful antidote to the ontological dualisms that haunt modernity and many quarters of American Christianity.    

Marandiuc is assistant professor of Christian theology at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Born and raised in Romania, Marandiuc pursued her graduate work in religious and theological studies at Yale University under the direction of Professor Miroslav Volf. She will accept the Aldersgate Prize at the 2019 Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon on April 11, 2019 at IWU, where she will offer the keynote address.

The selection committee for the 2018 Aldersgate Prize included the faculty of the John Wesley Honors College, as well as Stacy Hammons (Provost, IWU), Karen Hoffman (Associate Vice President, School of Nursing, IWU), Rebecca Barnard (Assistant Professor of Music Therapy, IWU), Willem Van De Merwe (Blanchard Chair in Physics, IWU, Emeritus), John Wilson (editor, Books and Culture), Catherine Brekus (Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America, Harvard University), Christina Bieber Lake, (Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College), and Dr. Vittorio Montemaggi (Lecturer in Religion and the Arts at King’s College London).

Nominations are open for the 2019 Aldersgate Prize. For more information, visit http://www.indwes.edu/Academics/JWHC/Aldersgate-Prize/.

Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953

866-468-6498