The Templeton Prize honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Established in 1972 by the late Sir John Templeton, the Prize aims, in his words, to identify "entrepreneurs of the spirit"—outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Prize celebrates no particular faith tradition or notion of God, but rather the quest for progress in humanity’s efforts to comprehend the many and diverse manifestations of the Divine.
Men and women of any creed, profession, or national origin may be nominated for the Templeton Prize. The distinguished roster of previous winners includes representatives of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also others as well. The Prize has been awarded to scientists, philosophers, theologians, members of the clergy, philanthropists, writers, and reformers, for work that has ranged from the creation of new religious orders and social-spiritual movements to human sciences scholarship, to research about the fundamental questions of existence, purpose and the origins of the universe.
What these remarkable previous Laureates have shared is a commitment to exploring one or more of the Big Questions at the core of the John Templeton Foundation's mandate for breakthroughs in discovery and outreach with direct or indirect relevance to "Spiritual Progress." All have been seekers of wisdom, humbled by the complexity of the human condition but determined to chart a path forward with their ideas and deeds. Some Templeton Prize laureates have demonstrated the transformative power of virtues like love, forgiveness, gratitude, and creativity. Others have provided new insights into scientific or philosophical problems relating to infinity, ultimate reality, and purpose in the cosmos. Still others have used the analytical tools of the humanities to provide new perspectives on the spiritual dilemmas of modern life. The Prize seeks and encourages breadth of vision, and new insights that human beings take their spiritual bearings from a range of experiences.
Criteria of Merit
The qualities sought in a Templeton Prize nominee include creativity and innovation, rigor and impact. The judges seek, above all, a substantial record of achievement that highlights or exemplifies one of the various ways in which human beings express their yearning for spiritual progress. Consideration is given to a nominee's work as a whole, not just during the year prior to selection. Nominations are especially encouraged in the fields of:
- Research in the human sciences, life sciences, and physical sciences.
- Scholarship in philosophy, theology, and other areas of the humanities.
- Practice, including religious leadership, the creation of organizations that edify and inspire examples of "Spiritual Progress"; and the development of new schools of thought - most specifically in the Foundation core themes presented above.
- Constructive Commentary In Journalism, and other modes of communication on matters of religion, virtue, character formation, and the flourishing of the human spirit.
These fields do not exhaust the areas in which achievement might qualify for the Templeton Prize, nor is it necessary for a nominee's work to be confined to just one field.
Self nominations are not considered. All nominators must follow the procedures as enumerated under the "Nomination Procedure" section of the website.