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Professor Wim Decock
Professor Wim Decock

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 30, 2017—In recognition of Professor Wim Decock’s outstanding research into the fields of theology, religion and economic history, the Acton Institute will be awarding him the 2017 Novak Award.

Despite Michael Novak’s passing in February 2017, his memory will continue to be honored every year with the presentation of the Novak Award. This recognizes new outstanding research by scholars early in their academic careers who demonstrate outstanding intellectual merit in advancing understanding of the relationship between religion, the economy, and economic freedom. Recipients of the Novak Award make a formal presentation at an annual public forum known as the Calihan Lecture. The Novak Award comes with a $15,000 prize.

Professor Wim Decock teaches legal history at the Universities of Leuven and Liège (Belgium). He is an associate fellow at Emory University’s Centre for the Study of Law and Religion (USA) and an affiliate researcher at the Max-Planck-Institute for European Legal History (Germany). Decock holds an M.A. in Classics, an LL.M in Law, and received his Ph.D. in legal history in a joint program through the Universities of Leuven and Roma Tre (Italy). His 2014 book, Theologians and Contract Law: The Moral Transformation of the Ius Commune, earned him the H.M. Leibnitz Prize of the German Research Foundation. Decock has held visiting professorships at the University of Bergen (Norway) and at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France). He was also a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School (USA). 

Besides his interest in early modern Catholic and Protestant sources, Decock investigates numerous other topics that highlight the connection between moral theological, legal, and economic thought. 

The Novak Award forms part of a range of academic scholarships, grants, and awards available from the Acton Institute that support those engaged in serious  reflection and research on the relationship between theology, the free market, limited government, and the rule of law. Details of these academic scholarships may be found at www.acton.org/scholarships.

Follow Acton news and events for more information about the Calihan Lecture, in which Professor Decock will present some of his research and be presented with the Novak Award. 


About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at jcouretas@acton.org.