The book "Reading the Bible from the Margins" by Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre of the Hope College religion faculty has received a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The award, in the "Educational Books" category, was presented on Friday, May 30, during the association's annual convention, held in Atlanta, Ga. The association honored newspapers, magazines and books in several categories.

Published by Orbis Books, "Reading the Bible from the Margins" maintains that anyone who reads the Bible does so from a particular social location, and is based on a freshman class De La Torre has taught at Hope by the same title. The primary aim of the book is to expose the reader to a new way of "seeing" the biblical text.

"Reading the Bible from the Margins" explores how the Bible can be used to liberate those who suffer race, class and gender oppression within the United States. The book analyzes different biblical narratives from the perspective of the "underside" of normative Christian interpretations to show how the powerless within U.S. society find spiritual empowerment.

De La Torre, an assistant professor of religion, has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1999. This past September, he was named the 2002 recipient of the "Outstanding Hispanic Educator" award by the Michigan Hispanic Legislative Caucus.

In addition to "Reading the Bible from the Margins," his books since joining the faculty have included "The Quest for the Cuban Christ: A Historical Search" (University Press of Florida) and "Introducing Latino/a Theologies" (Orbis Books). He has also written six book chapters and eight articles published in professional journals since coming to Hope.

He has six other books en route to publication: "La Lucha for Cuba: Religion and Politics on the Streets of Miami" (University of California Press), "Santeria: The Beliefs and Rituals of a Growing Religion in America" (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing), "Handbook of U.S. Theologies of Liberation" (Chalice Press), "Doing Ethics from the Margins" (Orbis Books), "Rethinking Latino/a Religion and Identity" (Pilgrim Press) and "Handbook of Latino/a Theologies" (Chalice Press).