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Sociology major wins award for scholarly paper on Psalm 50 presented at Bible conference

March 14, 2011
Senior sociology major Michael Schultz has won the 2011 Award for Outstanding Student Paper in the Fields of Biblical Studies and Religious Studies at the Pacific Northwest Society of Biblical Literature's annual meeting. This is the first time a Whitworth student has won this significant honor.

Earlier this spring, Schultz was accepted to read and lead a discussion about his scholarly paper on Psalm 50 at the Pacific Northwest Society of Biblical Literature's annual meeting.

"I feel very privileged to have my paper accepted," Schultz said at the time. "It is quite an honor for an undergraduate."

Schultz's paper analyzes the text of Psalm 50 and suggests that there are three distinct clusters of words that relate to three different sets of background assumptions or frameworks. That then allows him to show that these clusters can be connected with groups in the history of Israel, he says.

The paper began as an assignment last spring for Whitworth theology lecturer Scott Starbuck's Hebrew Reading and Exegesis II class.

"I must admit that almost nothing from that first paper made it into the main body of the paper I submitted for the conference," Schultz says. "Scott saw some potential in my writing and analysis, though, and he encouraged me to further refine it."

Schultz continued research on his own, which culminated into an independent study during Jan Term 2011.

Schultz delivered his paper and received feedback from tenured biblical scholars from around the Pacific Northwest and Canada during the conference, which was held in May at Gonzaga University. Schultz presented his paper on May 14.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or