Tanya Luhrmann Wins Grawemeyer Award in Religion

Tanya Luhrmann
Tanya Luhrmann

American evangelical practices of prayer can train the mind to experience God, explains Tanya Luhrmann, winner of the 2014 Grawemeyer Award in Religion from the University of Louisville and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Luhrmann, a Stanford University psychological anthropologist, received the prize after four years of fieldwork in Chicago and Northern California with Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Her research was supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

Luhrmann’s findings were explored in her book, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God, published in March 2012. “Instead of asking ‘Is God real?’ she asks ‘How does God become real for people?’” explains award director Shannon Craigo-Snell. “She offers a compelling exploration of religious experience in evangelical communities and a captivating account of prayer as a way of training the mind to experience God.”

The University of Louisville presents four Grawemeyer Awards each year for outstanding works in music composition, world order, psychology, and education. The university and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary jointly give a fifth award in religion. This year’s awards are worth $100,000 each.