Beginning in 2015, the Hosanna Preaching Prize has been replaced by The Hosanna Preaching Seminars.
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The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) [IPMN] is pleased to award the Annual Hosanna Prize*. The award recognizes preachers who challenge and inspire believers to heed God’s urgent call to justice and reconciliation in Palestine and Israel. Up to two $1,000 prizes—one on an Old Testament text and the other on a New Testament text—are awarded annually.
The prize-winning sermons will raise a vision of God’s love that embraces all people, especially those who are oppressed and persecuted, exposing the theological error of using biblical passages to rationalize injustice to or by Jews or Palestinians.1 The sermons will demonstrate a deep understanding of the theological concerns voiced directly by Palestinians and Jews:
- Palestinians have called upon the churches of the world to “preserve the word of God as good news for all rather than to turn it into a weapon with which to slay the oppressed,” and to renounce the “theological cover-up for the injustice we suffer.” (Kairos Palestine, 6.1)2 For instance, some Christians and Jews erroneously interpret Genesis 12:3 as a literal land grant to contemporary Jews of all of Palestine and texts in Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges as an excuse to “cleanse” Palestine of non-Jews. To support contemporary Jewish claims to Palestinian land, other texts are used to claim a connection between the biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the current state of Israel, or a genealogical connection between modern day Jews and the ancient Israelites.
- Jews have called upon the churches to renounce the real or apparent anti-Semitism in New Testament texts (e.g. Matthew 27:25) that are cited to blame all Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus (the charge of Deicide), texts that declare that God’s covenant with biblical Israelites and their Jewish spiritual heirs has been nullified or replaced by God’s covenant with all who believe in Christ (supercessionism), as well as texts that denigrate or appear to denigrate all Jews.
- The prize-winning sermons will hold both peoples accountable to biblical and contemporary international standards of justice.
Please see examples of sermons by Jewish and Christian clergy that meet the prize criteria on this page.
1 See The Bern Perspective on biblical interpretation which declares: “The Bible must not be used to justify oppression” of anyone anywhere.
2 See Kairos Palestine
*About the Hosanna Prize: In 1915, the ten-year-old Osanna Panian walked over the mountains into Iran, escaping and surviving the Armenian Genocide. She lived her life as a refugee, always hoping and expecting to go home to Armenia. Because she was born on Palm Sunday, she was named Osanna (Hosanna in Armenian), which means “We beseech you, save us!” The Hosanna Preaching Prize is established by Noushin Framke in honor of her grandmother Osanna Panian (1905-1986), with the hope that all refugees might find their way home.
An example of the message the Hosanna Prize honors:
Richard Falk, international law and international relations scholar, has written an essay on the violence of Psalm 21, which he says is not an aberration in the Bible.
...Religious websites do not condemn or contextualize such genocidal language, but insist that the intention of the psalmist is to underscore the degree to which evil will be punished and the degree of protection given to those who put their trust in God. In most institutionalized religious circles there is little willingness to consider such sentiments as problematic or exerting dangerous cultural influences. What seems required is a repudiation of the plain meaning of the language used as well as an explanation that such sentiments were never meant to be taken as guides to action and justifications for limitless violence against enemies. It might also be observed that the distinction between friends and enemies was somewhat more polarized in ancient times.
Read the full essay, Psalm 21 and the Human Predicament here.