Von Stosch won the Islamic Republic's "World Award for Book of the Year" for his work examining Islam from a Christian point of view. The theologian said the award honored all those who support an "emancipated" Islam.
Klaus von Stosch, a German theologian and professor at the University of Paderborn, received Iran's most important book prize for his German-language work, "The Challenge of Islam: Christian Approaches" ("Herausforderung Islam: Christliche Annäherungen"), the university announced on Thursday. He is the first Christian theologian to win the prize since its inception in 1993.
Stosch, who is the head of Paderborn's Center of Comparative Theology and Cultural Studies at the University, was in Tehran a day earlier to receive the "World Award for Book of the Year of Islamic Republic of Iran" from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He also received a $10,000 (€8,170) prize.
Stosch's work deals with a topic that has been a staple of his career: the relationship between Christians and Muslims. In particular, he focuses on how Islam can be valued through a Christian lens.
"I am particularly happy that this award shows that Muslims feel accurately understood through my book and how it presents Islam," Stosch said. "It encourages me to continue my work building bridges between Christians and Muslims."
The 46-year-old theologian also commented on Facebook that the prize further encourages people who support an emancipated, humanitarian and modern understanding of Islam.
A total of 28 books were nominated for Iran's "World Award for Book for the Year." Nine received a prize. The subject area for nominations is limited to Iranian and Islamic studies. The works must be published by foreign publishers.
Iran created the award in order to "uphold the lofty realm of the pen, and to support men of thought."
so/pg/cmb (dpa/Zentrum für Komparative Theologie und Kulturwissenschaften der Uni Paderborn)