David Whitford, Ph.D.

David Whitford, Ph.D.
Professor of Reformation Studies
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Professor of Reformation Studies

  • Ph.D., Boston University
  • M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary

A native New Englander, David joined the faculty at Baylor in 2013 after teaching in Ohio and South Carolina. He is married to Laurel and they have one daughter. He is an avid sports fan and when their daughter played high school and collegiate lacrosse, he was a passionate sports photographer. Today, he is working to master landscape and wildlife photography.

Academic Interests and Research

I am cultural historian interested in the intersection of religion and society during the European Reformations of the sixteenth century. I am currently looking at the role of gender in the life and theology of Martin Luther and other major reformers. Part of that work can be seen in a recently edited volume, with Amy Leonard, Embodiment, Identity, and Gender in the Early Modern Age (Routledge 2021).

In the past, I have looked at questions around slavery, race, and the Bible in The Curse of Ham in the Early Modern Era (Ashgate, 2009) and politics in Tyranny and Resistance (Concordia, 2001). These questions remain of interest and I do continue to pursue projects in political theology, race, and the history of biblical interpretation, as can be seen in a recent article in the French journal, Revue d’histoire modern et contemporaine.

I am also the immediate past-president of the Calvin Studies Society and, with Brian Brewer, edited Calvin and the Early Reformation (Brill 2020).

I am a senior editor of The Sixteenth Century Journal. 

Professional Activities and Awards

Vice President, Sixteenth Century Society

Series Editor, Interactions in the Early Modern Age, PSU Press. 

Senior Editor, Sixteenth Century Journal, 2018-2022. 

Editor, Sixteenth Century Journal, 2011 – 2017. 

President, Calvin Studies Society, 2017 – 2019, Immediate Past Present, current. 

Chair, Society for Reformation Research 500th Anniversary Committee. 

Editorial Board, REFO500 Book Series, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 

Lilly Scholars Grant, 2007. 

Literature Prize, Sixteenth Century Society, 2005. 

Bush Research Fellowship, 2002. 

Sixteenth Century Society, Meyer Prize Committee, 2007 – 2017. 


Editor (with Amy Leonard), Embodiment, Identity, and Gender in the Early Modern Age. 2021.

Editor (with Brian Brewer), John Calvin and the Early Reformation. 2020.

Editor, Martin Luther. Cambridge in Context Series. 2018.

A Reformation Life: Philipp of Hesse and the Reformation. 2015.

Editor, T&T Clark Companion to Reformation Theology. 2012.

Martin Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed. 2011.

The Curse of Ham in the Early Modern Era: The Bible and Justifications for Slavery. 2009.

Editor, Reformation and Early Modern Europe: A Guide to Research. 2007.

Caritas et Reformatio: Essays on the Church and Society in Honor of Carter Lindberg on his Sixty-fifth Birthday. 2002.

Tyranny and Resistance: The Magdeburg Confession and the Lutheran Tradition. 2001.

Selected Articles

“Martin Luther’s Gendered Reflections on Eve.” In Embodiment, Identity, and Gender in the Early Modern Age. Edited by Amy Leonard and David M. Whitford. Oxford: Routledge, 2021.

“La disparition de Canaan: Exégèses du chapitre 9 de la Genèse, malédiction de Cham et justifications de l’esclavage au début à l’époque moderne,” Revue d’histoire modern et contemporaine, 2021.

“Simultaneously Bride and Whore: Martin Luther, the Bride of Christ, and the Limits of Hyperbole.” In Cultural Shifts and Ritual Transformations in Reformation Europe. Edited by Victoria Chrisman and Marjorie Elizabeth Plummer. Leiden: Brill, 2020: 15 – 32.

“Calvin and the Early Reformation.” In John Calvin and the Early Reformation. Edited by Brian C. Brewer and David M. Whitford. Leiden: Brill, 2020: 1 – 10.

“The Luther Affair.” In John Calvin in Context. Edited by R. Ward Holder. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019: 175 – 183.

“The Importance of Luther in Context.” In Martin Luther in Context. Edited by David M. Whitford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018: 1 – 4.

“Martin Luther’s Magisterial Defenders.” In Martin Luther in Context. Edited by David M. Whitford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018: 215 – 223.

“Religious Violence and Martyrdom,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

“Erasmus Openeth the Way Before Luther: Revisiting Humanist Influence on The Ninety-Five Theses and the Early Luther.” Church History and Religious Culture, 96 (2016): 516 – 540.

“Does the Reformation Still Matter,” Expository Times 126 (Sept 2015): 573-577.

“Yielding to the Prejudices of his Times: Erasmus and Comma Johanneum.” Church History and Religious Culture, 95/1 (2015): 19 – 40.

“The Landgrave’s Great Matter: Luther on Bigamy and the Landgrave of Hesse,” in Mixed Matches: Transgressive Unions in Early Modern Germany. Edited by Mary Lindemann and David Luebke. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2014: 1 – 33.

“‘Forgetting him selfe after a most filthie and shamefull sorte’: Martin Luther and John Calvin on Genesis 9,” in Calvin and Luther: The Continuing Relationship. Edited by R. Ward Holder. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013: 36 – 48.

"A Calvinist Heritage to the ‘Curse of Ham': Assessing the Accuracy of a Claim about Racial Subordination." Church History and Religious Culture, 90/1 (2010): 25 – 45.

"Robbing Paul to Pay Peter: Paul and Political Thought in the Reformation," in Paul in the Reformation Era. Edited by R. Ward Holder. Leiden: Brill, 2009: 573 – 606.

"The Papal Antichrist: Martin Luther and the Underappreciated Influence of Lorenzo Valla," Renaissance Quarterly, 61/1 (2008): 26 – 52.

"Mistaking the Question for the Answer: Anachronism, Kenosis, and John Milton," Milton Quarterly, 41/3 (2007): 149 – 164.

"From Speyer to Magdeburg: The Development and Maturation of a Hybrid Theory of Resistance." Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, 96 (2005): 57 – 80.

"Cura Religionis or Two Kingdoms: The Late Luther on Religion and the State." Church History, 73/1 (2004): 41 – 62.

Courses taught at Baylor

REL 1350 The Christian Heritage

REL 3330 Church History

REL 4337 The European Reformation

REL 5332 Medieval Christianity

REL 5333 The Reformation

REL 5349 The Radical Reformation


View Dr. Whitford's CV and Books