Peter S. Hawkins

Professor of Religion and Literature

CV | Denomination: Episcopal

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 has 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 work forthcoming in Religion and Literature, Modern Language Notes and The Yale 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. He has served on the editorial boards of PMLA and Christianity and Literature and on the selection committee both of the Luce Fellows in Theology and of the Dante Society of America.


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


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


Recent courses:
Dante's Journey to God
Religious Themes in Contemporary American Fiction
Religious Lyric in Britain
Passion of Christ in Literature and the Visual Arts
Genesis and its Literary Afterlife
Psalms in Scripture, Literature, and Music

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