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David AersDavid Aers  
James B. Duke Professor of English and Religious Studies and Historical Theology

Office Location: 402 Allen Building
Office Phone: (919) 684-5065
Email Address: aers@duke.edu

Teaching (Spring, 2015):

  • English 331s.01, Late mdvl lit/culture Synopsis
    Allen 317, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
  • Xtianthe 890.02, Theological topics Synopsis
    Divinity 050, Th 02:30 PM-05:00 PM

Office Hours:

Fall 2014
By Appointment


Doctor of Philosophy, University of York

BA (included MA), Cambridge University

Medieval Literature
Renaissance/Early Modern Literature
David Aers works especially on Medieval and Early Modern theology, ecclesiology, politics and literature in England . He concentrates on Augustine , the " modern " , Langland , Chaucer Wycliffism , some aspects of the Reformation and , especially , Milton . 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 . In the light of this work the intention is to rethink Milton's relations to Christian tradition . 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.

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. "Langland on the Church and the End of the Cardinal Virtues." JMEMS 42.1 (2012): 59-81.
  2. David Aers and Nigel Smith. English Reformations: Historiography, Theology, and Narrative. JMEMS 40.3 (2010). (With introduction by editors)  [author's comments]
  3.  Salvation and Sin: Augustine, Langland, and Fourteenth-Century Theology. Notre Dame University Press, 2009.
  4.  Sanctifying Signs: Making Christian Tradition in Late Medieval England. Notre Dame University Press, 2004.

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