Priest and Oxford scholar John Barton has won the Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize for his historical work A History of the Bible (Allen Lane).
The book explores the Bible as a cultural and historical text, and, in the words of the author, seeks to "dispel the image of the Bible as a sacred monolith between two black leather covers" and "to recapture the sense of it as a long and intriguing process".
The £5,000 annual prize for non-fiction is administered by New College, Oxford, and was awarded to Barton informally, in light of Covid-19.
Chair of the judges Artemis Cooper said: "In his A History of the Bible John Barton focuses not so much on what the Bible is trying to say but how it has been read over the centuries.
"The book impressed all our judges with its scholarship and readability, and we are delighted that it has won the prize. We look forward to raising a glass of Pol Roger with him to celebrate his win, when life returns to normal."
Anne Applebaum was the recipient of the 2018 prize for her account of the 1930s Ukrainian famine, Red Famine (Penguin.)