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: Fall 2014 By Appointment
Renaissance/Early Modern Literature
Medieval and Reformation Literature and Theology
David Aers works especially on Medieval theology, ecclesiology, politics and literature in England . He concentrates on Augustine , Aquinas , the " moderni" , Langland , Chaucer and some aspects of the Reformation. . His publications in 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 (October 2014 ) 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? he has begun work on a project exploring some theological topics handled in both poetry and more formal modes of writing theology in the later Middle Ages . Working around a cluster of places especially ones concerning the Trinity and doctrines of grace and election , part of the intention here is to reconsider the relations between poetry and theology , between doing theology in Latin prose and doing it in English poetry . The focus is on the poetry of Langland , Chaucer and Julian of Norwich in relation to late medieval theological writing in Latin .
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.
Readers may be divided into four classes: 1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied. 2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time. 3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read. 4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. -Samuel Taylor Coleridge