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Obsculta Theological Essay Contest

Submission Due Date: Please check next semester when dates are solidified.

Eligibility Requirements: College Junior or Senior         

1st Place Prize: The writer of the winning essay will be awarded a Tuition Scholarship of up to 100% to Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary and a $500 cash prize.  The winning essay will be published in Obsculta, our journal of theological writing. 

Obsculta banner


Obsculta is the opening word of the Rule of Benedict, which has shaped the life and spirituality of Benedictines around the world for over 1,500 years. The full opening phrase of the Rule is “Listen with the ear of your heart.” This simple admonition shapes not only the life of the monastic community at Saint John’s but also the way we do our theology and preparation for ministry.  In a world where people too often speak first and ask questions later, we seek to listen—listen for the voice of the Spirit in Scripture, tradition, each other and the world.  Out of this listening we speak that Word of God in a way we hope can be heard in and even inspire the world in which we live today. We seek essays in that spirit for the Obsculta prize.  Essays can be on any topic of Christian theology.  

Criteria for selection include the significance and compelling character of the topic; the quality of the research, analysis, and synthesis; the clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness of the argument; and overall style and creativity.  Papers must be no more than 15 pages or 4,000 words (12 point font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins), follow the Turabian Style, 8th edition.

Please also include for each submission:

  • The title and author name
  •  A single declarative sentence summarizing the highlights of your paper
  • An abstract of 300 words or less
  • Three key words that categorize relevant topics in your paper (i.e. for key word search)
  • A list of scriptural references used in the work, organized sequentially as found in the Catholic Bible
  • Papers must be submitted by the deadline

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

 [email protected]

 The 2015-16 Obsculta Editorial Board

View past issues of the Obsculta journal

Obsculta 2014 book cover