Riane Eisler was nominated for the Templeton Prize several times and it should have been awarded to her
By Tom Herz
This is a story that goes back to the year 2000 when, after being greatly impressed with The Chalice and the Blade and Sacred Pleasure, I first learned about the Templeton Prize. I heard a report on National Public Radio about the newly designated honoree for the prize that year, Freeman Dyson and why the prize had been established by the late Sir John Templeton, who was still alive at that time. Upon reading more about the prize’s origins and purpose, I realized that Riane Eisler’s work more than fulfilled the essential criteria. I felt she needed to be recognized in this way in addition to the many other honors she has garnered.
Having learned that, unlike the Nobel Prize where nominees are submitted by a select group of people designated for that purpose, anyone can nominate a person to be considered for the Templeton Prize, I decided that it was time that Riane Eisler join the ranks of Templeton Laureates and that I would submit her name in nomination and gather letters in support from luminaries and scholars around the world. The first thing I needed to do however was approach Dr. Eisler and introduce myself and my idea in order to work with her to prepare the materials needed for the submission process in what was to be my first effort on Riane’s behalf for the 2002 nomination.
Over a period of about fifteen years, I was behind efforts to nominate Riane for the prize five times using the changing format as established by the Templeton Prize organization. While it has been deeply disappointing that these efforts have not been successful, it must be noted as of this writing in the fall of 2018, that in the forty-four years since the prize was established, only three women have ever received it and the last one to have done so was awarded it in 1981. Without trying to go into the internal and gender politics of the Templeton Foundation and prize selection process, from my perspective, Riane Eisler should have been awarded the prize when the body of her life’s work is weighed in comparison to that of a considerable number of prior Templeton laureates.
None the less, Riane and I have come to the conclusion that it is important the content of the nominating material be made available for public knowledge and not be relegated to the archives or discarded files of the Templeton Prize committee. On this portal, we have collected the nominations and letters of support that have been submitted in sequence since her name was first placed in nomination.