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First female winner of Ratzinger Prize to write Vatican’s Good Friday ‘Via Crucis’ meditations

Anne-Marie Pelletier

Diane Montagna - published on 03/31/17

French wife, mother and scholar chosen by Pope Francis to author Way of the Cross meditations prayed at Colosseum

VATICAN CITY — The French biblicist Anne-Marie Pelletier has been chosen by Pope Francis to write the meditations for the Via Crucis to be held on Good Friday, April 14, at the Colosseum in Rome.

A professor of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, in 2014 Pelletier became the first woman to win the Ratzinger Prize. This prestigious award is given to scholars who have stood out for their scholarly research in the theological field.

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI decided to donate a sizable sum of money for the establishment of a sort of ‘Nobel Prize in Theology’ (as Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini called it) in recognition of those who perform promising scholarly research relating to or expounding upon his work. The ‘Ratzinger Prize’ is awarded in three areas: Sacred Scripture study, patristics, and fundamental theology.

Anne-Marie Pelletier

Born in 1946 in Paris, Anne-Marie Pelletier is married with three children. Awarded a doctorate in religious sciences in 1986, she taught general linguistics and comparative literature at the University of Paris X, then Marne-la-Vallee, as well as theology of marriage at the Catholic Institute of Paris. For many years she taught sacred scriptures and biblical hermeneutics at the Notre Dame faculty of the seminary of Paris. Since 2013 she has held the role of professor of biblical teaching at the European Institute of Science of Religions (IESR).

Pelletier’s research extends to Judaism and Christianity at the College des Bernardins, and the monastic world. She has published widely. Her works in the field of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis include “Lectures du Cantique des Cantiques. De l’enigme du sens aux figures du lecteur” [Readings on the Song of Songs]; “Lectures bibliques. Aux sources de la culture occidentale” [Biblical Readings, returning to the sources of Western culture]; “D’age en age les Ecritures. La Bible et l’herméneutique contemporaine,” [Scripture from age to age, the Bible and contemporary hermeneutics]; and “Le livre d’Isaie, l’histoire au prisme de la prophetie” [The Book of Isaiah, history through the prism of prophecy].

She has also authored two books on the question of women in Christianity: “Le christianisme et les femmes. Vingt siecles d’histoire” [Christianity and women: twenty centuries of history], and “Le signe de la femme” [The sign of the woman]. She is also a regular contributor to the Osservatore Romano’s monthly publication, “woman, church, world.”

“Pelletier is … a most distinguished figure in contemporary French Catholicism, who unites deserved scientific prestige and a great and versatile cultural liveliness with an authentic dedication to causes of the highest importance for Christian witness in society,” Cardinal Ruini said when she was awarded the Ratzinger prize in 2014.

Cardinal Ruini is himself the author of the Via Dolorosa with Pope Benedict XVI, available here.

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