Peter Hawkins

Peter Hawkins's picture
Professor Emeritus of Religion and Literature

Professor Hawkins’ work has long centered on Dante, most recently in Dante’s Testaments: Essays on Scriptural Imagination (winner of a 2001 AAR Book Prize), The Poets’ Dante: Twentieth-Century Reflections (2001), co-edited with Rachel Jacoff, and Dante: A Brief History (2006). The poet features as well in his expansion of his 2007 Beecher Lectures on Preaching in Undiscovered Country: Imagining the World to Come (2009). His research in the history of biblical reception has led to three co-edited volumes to which he also contributed essays, Scrolls of Love: Ruth and the Song of Songs (2006), Medieval Readings of Romans (2007), and From the Margin I: Women of the Hebrew Bible and their Afterlives (2009). Together with Paula Carlson he edited the Augsburg Fortress four-volume series, Listening for God: Contemporary Literature and the Life of Faith. He has also written on twentieth-century fiction (The Language of Grace), utopia (Getting Nowhere), and the language of ineffability (Naming the Unnamable from Dante to Beckett). Professor Hawkins’ essays have dealt with such topics as memory and memorials, televangelism, scriptural interpretation, and preaching.  He writes regularly for The Christian Century’s “Living by the Word” column and has recent work appearing in the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the ArtsMedieval Perspectives, Pedagogy, MLA Teaching Approaches to Dante, and Anglican Theological Review. From 2000 to 2008 he directed the Luce Program in Scripture and Literary Arts at Boston University. While at BU he won the Metcalf Prize for Excellence in Teaching.


  1. The Bible and the American Short Story, with Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberb (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)     
  2. Undiscovered Country: Imagining in the World to Come (2009)
  3. From the Margin I: Women of the Hebrew Bible and their Afterlives, co-ed (2009)
  4. Medieval Readings of Romans, co-ed (2007)
  5. Scrolls of Love: Ruth and the Song of Songs, co-ed (2006)
  6. Dante, a Brief History (2006)
  7. The Poets’ Dante: Twentieth-Century Reflections, co-ed (2001)
  8. Dante’s Testaments: Essays on Scriptural Imagination (1999, winner of a 2001 AAR Book Prize)
  9. Civitas: Religious Ideas of the City, ed. (1986) Reissued, Wipf & Stock, 2016.
  10. Getting Nowhere: Christian Hope and Utopian Dream (1985). Reissued, Wipf & Stock, 2016.
  11. Ineffability: Naming the Unnameable from Dante to Beckett, co-ed (1984) Reissued, Wipf & Stock, 2016
  12. The Language of Grace (1983, reissued 2004)

Denomination Affiliation: Episcopal

B.A. University of Wisconsin at Madison; M.Div. Union Theological Seminary; Ph.D. Yale University

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