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Students at commencement

John Milton Prize

For excellence in Old Testament studies

John P. MiltonThe John Milton Prize for Outstanding Work in Old Testament will be awarded at commencement to the student(s) submitting the best paper(s) in the area of Old Testament studies. The prize includes a monetary award.

John Milton was professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary from 1941 to 1967. This award was established in his honor.

Papers written by graduating M.Div. or M.A. students during their seminary careers are eligible. These may be course papers, independent study projects, or papers written for this occasion. Papers should not exceed 6,000 words in length. Papers may be recommended by members of the faculty or submitted by students independently.

Submission guidelines

To submit an essay for consideration for the Milton Prize, send it as an email attachment to the Chair of the Bible Division, Kathryn Schifferdecker ( by the last Wednesday in April.

Other requirements:

  • Please include a short cover letter in the body of the email, giving your name and declaring your desire to be considered for this prize. Put "Milton Prize submission" in the subject line of the email. 
  • The student's name must not appear anywhere on the essay.
  • The essay should not exceed 6,000 words in length.
  • A student may submit no more than one essay for consideration for the Milton Prize.
  • Eligible students must submit their entries during the academic year in which they intend to participate in the seminary's commencement ceremonies.
  • The essay must be submitted by the last Wednesday in April.

Judging criteria

The following criteria will be used in adjudicating the Milton Prize:

  • Argument or thesis

  • Engagement with primary and secondary sources

  • Clarity of presentation

  • Use of primary languages

  • Consistent and correct use of citation and bibliography (we recommend The Writing and Style Guide, which also contains instructions for consulting the Society of Biblical Literature's standards for citations in biblical scholarship.)

  • Creativity