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The Unamuno prize was awarded to writer and academic Antonio Muñoz Molina, for “his appreciation to the so-called ‘Bear Bible’.”
The Spanish evangelical news website Protestante Digital, along with the RZ Foundation for Dialogue between Faith and Culture, awarded the “Unamuno, Friend of Protestants” prize to the well-known writer and member of the Royal Spanish Academy, Antonio Muñoz Molina, in a ceremony that took place in Madrid on January, 20.
In 2006, Protestante Digital decided to created the “Unamuno, Friend of Protestants” prize to “honour a person or an institution in Spanish society that, not being Protestant, has done something in favour of plurality and the normal coexistence between Spaniards, defending freedom of religion and evangelical culture.”
The award, which coincides this year with the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, has highlighted “the appreciation shown repeatedly by Muñoz Molina to the so-called `Bear Bible´”, the first translation of the Bible into Castilian (Spanish) from its original text.
THE BIBLE OF THE BEAR, “A TRUE LITERARY JEWEL”
Muñoz Molina explained that this bible has been "invisible" for centuries, despite being a "true literary jewel."
For the writer, reading Genesis or the Song of Songs in this Bible is to find "an unrepeatable Spanish language of great strength and expressiveness" and he recommended its reading “to believers and non-believers, because they will also find in it truths about the human experience and great literary creations as the Book of Job.”
Munoz Molina lamented that “a text of so much beauty, could not influence in the Spanish culture, just like the King James translation did in the Anglo-Saxon literature.”
DISCRIMINATION TOWARDS SPANISH PROTESTANTS
Taking advantage of the presence of members of all political parties, the writer denounced the discrimination that "non-Catholic" believers continue to suffer in Spain: "one of the great deficiencies of Spanish democracy has been its inability to put the Catholic Church in its place”, he stated.
He admitted that "there have been, and still are, many antireligious prejudices" and denfended that "faith does not necessarily have to be associated with oppressive ideologies."
Muñoz Molina recalled that, when he was living in New York, it surprised him how his friends, intellectuals and writers, shared their Christian faith openly, in a natural way, "something unthinkable in Spain", he said.
“I WILL CONTINUE READING THE BIBLE”
The writer emphasised the "profound value of the sacred, as the prayer I heard at the beginning of the meal, that is a culture of gratitude for what we receive."
"I assure you that I will continue reading the Bible of the Bear", he said to conclude his speech.
POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS AUTHORITIES ATTENDED
Amable Morales, President of th Spanish Evangelical Alliance, opened the award ceremony, and after the meal, Andy Wickham, Director of the RZ Foundation, greeted the politicians who attended, representing the government and all Spanish major parties.
Asun Quintana, philologist, pastor and Councilor for Women of the Evangelical Council of Madrid, explained why the pize is called "Unamuno, friend of Protestants". Afterwards, Juan Antonio Monroy, journalist and writer, and President of Protestant Digital, made a profile of Antonio Muñoz Molina.
The presentation of the Prize was made by Pedro Tarquis, Director of Protestante Digital, an the Spanish Bible Society also gave him a facsimile of the “Reina-Valera” Bible.
Jaume Llenas, General Secretary of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, and member of the European Alliance, closed the act: “Public life should integrate and normalize evangelical Christians in social life, as Unamuno did in his time", he said.