Faculty & Staff Achievements

Prof. Olds Awarded John Gilmary Shea Prize For Book On Forged Jesuit Histories

by Daniel Morgan

For her book, Forging the Past: Invented Histories in Counter-Reformation Spain, Prof. Katrina B. Olds has been honored with the 2016 John Gilmary Shea Prize, which is given annually to the author of a book judged by a committee of experts to have made the most original and distinguished contribution to knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church.

Forging the Past explores the history, author, and legacy of the creation of a set of forged historical texts that a Spanish Jesuit named Jerónimo Román de la Higuera claimed to have discovered at the end of the sixteenth century. These text transformed the religious landscape in Counter-Reformation Spain, and were not definitively exposed as forgeries until centuries later.

“In dealing with her subject,” the award citation reads, “the author deftly examines her Jesuit forger’s skill at mixing fact with fiction to achieve verisimilitude, as well as his possible motives in composing his texts, and offers intriguing insights on the broader subject of forgery in the European Christian tradition.”

Olds is an Associate Professor in the History department. She also teaches for the Honors Program in the Humanities and the Saint Ignatius Institute.

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