The Journal of the History of Ideas awards the Selma V. Forkosch Prize ($750) for the best article published in the journal each year.

The winner of the JHI's Selma V. Forkosch Prize for the best article published in 2021 is Joseph Streeter for "Conceptions of Tolerance in Antiquity and Late Antiquity" (volume 82, no. 3, pp. 357–76).

The judging committee provides this statement about the article:
The Selma V. Forkosch Prize committee has unanimously agreed to award the prize for the best essay published in the Journal of the History of Ideas in 2021 to Joseph Streeter for his article “Conceptions of Tolerance in Antiquity and Late Antiquity.” In this learned and lucidly argued study, the author, arguing convincingly against a large body of opinion that traces the origins of modern theories of “religious toleration” to Antiquity, brilliantly distinguishes ancient conceptions of “tolerance” from modern theories such as John Locke’s. With a critical awareness of the cultural difference separating early Christians like Tertullian and Lactanius from early modern advocates of toleration such as Voltaire and Pierre Bayle, the essay presents a philologically informed, coherent, and persuasive analysis of the divers senses of “tolerance” in Antiquity viewed in the context of the values, meanings, and practices shaped by ancient conceptions of “honor,” “anger,” “patience,” and “religion.” In capturing the meaning and significance of the concept of “tolerance” in Antiquity, this closely argued examination of its ancient contexts not only illustrates its differences from present beliefs, but also reveals what is distinctive about modern ideas of “toleration.”

For a list of the Selma V. Forkosch prize winners click here.


The Journal of the History of Ideas awards the Morris D. Forkosch Prize ($2,500) for the best book in intellectual history each year.

The winner of the JHI’s Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history (2020) is Hannah Marcus, for Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy, published by University of Chicago Press.

The judging committee provides the following statement:

A work of deep erudition and methodological breadth, Hannah Marcus’s Forbidden Knowledge: Medicine, Science, and Censorship in Early Modern Italy (University of Chicago Press) is the winner of the 2020 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book in intellectual history.
In this elegant monograph, Marcus expertly guides us past the bright line of book burning and banned authors to explore the complex landscape of medical learning in early modern Italy under conditions of ecclesiastical censorship. Deftly navigating the indexes of prohibited books issued from Rome by Paul IV (1559) and Clement VIII (1596); Paul V’s theologian, Giovanni Maria Guanzelli (1607); and Alexander VII (1664), Marcus tells a story of institutional ambition complicated by varying forms of resistance, engagement, and negotiation within Counter-Reformation Italy.
The “paradoxes of censorship” Marcus brings to light in her study are telling and legion. Lists of forbidden books did double duty as author advertisements and guides for library acquisitions. Compilations of offensive passages to be expurgated from books and removed from intellectual circulation inverted the humanist commonplace book in which readers copied out notable passages for reuse. Learning to read like ecclesiastical censors, physicians monitored their own writing and contributed to crowd-sourced expurgations, yet also strategically and successfully sought permission to read prohibited titles. On Marcus’s account, processes of prohibition, both explicit and tacit, created in turn a discursive space in which Catholic physicians articulated why they wanted to read banned books, as well as a set of material practices—slicing out authors’ names, overwriting offensive text, covering expurgated passages with slips of paper—that signal their reading of what was supposed not to be read.


Eligible submissions are limited to the first book published by a single author, and to books published in English. The subject matter of submissions must pertain to one or more of the disciplines associated with intellectual history and the history of ideas broadly conceived: viz., history (including the histories of the various arts and sciences); philosophy (including the philosophy of science, aesthetics, and other fields); political thought; the social sciences (including anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology); and literature (including literary criticism, history and theory). 


No translations or collections of essays will be considered. The judges will favor publications displaying sound scholarship, original conceptualization, and significant chronological and interdisciplinary scope. 

Submissions (three copies of each nominated book) are accepted directly from publishers or directly from authors. The deadline to submit books published in 2022 is March 1, 2023.  

If you wish to nominate a book, please contact the JHI's managing editor, Ida Stewart, at for a shipping address and additional information. 

For a list of the Morris D. Forkosch prize winners click here.