English Faculty Database
Arts & Sciences
Duke University

 HOME > Arts & Sciences > English > Faculty    Search Help Login pdf version printable version 
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 theology, ecclesiology, politics and literature in England . He concentrates on Augustine , Aquinas , the " modern " , Langland , Chaucer and Wycliffite writings . His 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 (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? in 2015 he has begun working towards a book which aims to follow up some questions raised here . These questions can be grouped under concepts of Christian Reformation , Tradition , and Dialectical thinning . For Aers these concepts are inextricably bound together and have become basic guides in his thinking about t he later Middle Ages ( and beyond ) . At the moment the central texts in this study range across diverse genres : St Thomas's Summa Theologiae ; some works by Scotus and Ockham : Langland's Piers Plowman ; some of Wyclif's works and some English Wycliffite writing ; Julian of Norwich's Showings ; the Pearl-poet ; Hoccleve. 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.

Duke University * Arts & Sciences * English * Faculty * Staff * Grad * Scholars * Post-Docs * Reload * Login