James B. Duke Professor of English and Religious Studies and Historical Theology
402 Allen Building
Campus Box 90015
Phone: (919) 684-5065
Fax: (919) 684-4871
Office Hours: By Appointment
Renaissance/Early Modern Literature
Medieval and Reformation Literature and Theology
David Aers works especially on medieval and early modern literature, theology, ecclesiology and politics in England. His publications range from studies of Augustine to studies of early 19th century writing and culture. Publications include: Piers Plowman and Christian Allegory (Arnold 1975); Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination (Routledge, 1980); Literature, Language and Society in England, 1580-1680, written with Bob Hodge and Gunther Kress (Barnes and Noble, 1980); Chaucer (Harvester, 1983); Community, Gender and Individual Identity, 1360-1430 (Routledge, 1988); Powers of the Holy, written with Lynn Staley (Penn State, 1996); a two edited volumes: Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology, History (Harvester, 1986) and Culture and History, 1350-1600 (Wayne State, 1992). In 2000 he published Faith, Ethics, and Church: Writing in England 1360-1410 (Brewer) and also a collection of essays entitled Medieval Literature and Historical Inquiry: Essays in Honor of Derek Pearsall (Brewer). In 2004 he published Sanctifying Signs: Making Christian Tradition in Late Medieval England (Notre Dame). In 2009 he published a work that moved from Augustine to Langland and Julian of Norwich: Salvation and Sin: Augustine, Langland and Fourteenth-Century Theology (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009) . He has just (2015) completed a book for the University of Notre Dame Press entitled: Beyond Reformation? An Essay on Langland and the End of Constantinian Christianity. This work continues to develop his interests in Christian traditions, theology and political culture while also engaging with some issues raised by current grand narratives of modernity. Centered on Langland's Piers Plowman, a story is told that runs from Ockham to Milton and, very tentatively, Milton's ecclesiology here called "congregationalism." Since completing Beyond Reformation? in 2015, he has continued to work across the great divide between the medieval and the early modern still institutionalized in most English Departments in contemporary Universities. This work includes an essay now being completed (summer 2015) on philosophy and theology in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and an essay on the Calvinist Arthur Dent (Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven, 1601). There is an emerging project on the consolations and disconsolations of theology and poetry from Langland, Chaucer and Julian of Norwich into the Reformation.
David Aers continues as co-editor of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. He has edited a number of special issues of JMEMS, most recently one with Nigel Smith on the English Reformations:currently he is preparing a special issue, with Russ Leo (Princeton)on Brad Gregory's work exploring the "unintended" Reformation. He is co-editor, with Sarah Beckwith (Duke) and James Simpson (Harvard) of the Notre Dame University Press series entitled REFORMATIONS. He is also currently working with Sarah Beckwith on a special issue of JMEMS on "Conversion: medieval and early modern." David Aers is the James B. Duke Professor of English and Historical Theology with appointments in both the English Department and in the Divinity School.
Doctor of Philosophy,
University of York,
BA (included MA),
"Langland on the Church and the End of the Cardinal Virtues."
David Aers and Nigel Smith.
"English Reformations: Historiography, Theology, and Narrative."
Ed. David Aers and Nigel Smith (Princeton).
(With introduction by editors)
with Nigel Smith i planned a special issue of JMEMS on the english reformations ( plural ) : we selected authors , oversaw the volume and composed an introduction to the issue .
Salvation and Sin: Augustine, Langland, and Fourteenth-Century Theology.
Notre Dame University Press,
Sanctifying Signs: Making Christian Tradition in Late Medieval England.