Ralph Wood

University Professor of Theology and Literature

Wood1 Tidwell Bible Building 601
Tel: (254) 710-6986
Email: Ralph_Wood@baylor.edu

Personal Website

CV in PDF format


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • M.A., East Texas State University
  • B.A., East Texas State


  • Theology and Literature
  • The Life and Work of Flannery O'Connor

Research Interests

I seek to interpret several of the major literary texts of the West, especially from the 19th and 20th centuries, from a confessionally Christian angle of vision. My aim is to show the relevance of these books to the witness of the Church as well as to the life of secular culture.

Selected Publications


  • Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2011).
  • Preaching and Professing: Sermons by a Teacher Seeking to Profess the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009).
  • Literature and Theology [Horizons in Theology Series] (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2008).
  • Flannery O'Connor and the Christ-Haunted South (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004). Issued in paperback 2005.
  • Contending for the Faith: Essays in the Church's Engagement with Culture. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2003.
  • The Gospel According to Tolkien: Visions of the Kingdom in Middle-earth. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003.
  • The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists (Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, John Updike and Peter De Vries). Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. Still in print.


  • "The Lady with the Torn Hair Who Looks on Gladiators in Grapple: G. K. Chesterton's Marian Poems," Christianity and Literature 62, 1 (Autumn 2012): 29-55.
  • "Confronting the World's Weirdness: J. R. R. Tolkien's The Children of Húrin," in The Ring and the Cross: Christianity and The Lord of the Rings, ed. Paul E. Kerry (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; Plymouth, UK: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011): 145-51.
  • "J. R. R. Tolkien: His Sorrowful Vision of Joy," in C. S. Lewis and his Friends, ed. David Hein and Edward Henderson (London: SPCK, 2011): 116-34.
  • "Flannery O'Connor, Benedict XVI, and the Divine Eros," Christianity and Literature 60:1 (Autumn 2010): 35-66. Winner of the Lionel Basney Award for the best essay published in Christianity and Literature for 2011.
  • "Sacramental Suffering: The Friendship of Flannery O'Connor and Elizabeth Hester," Modern Theology 24:3 (July 2008): 387-411.
  • "How the Church Became Invisible: A Christian Reading of American Literary Tradition," (with Stanley Hauerwas) Religion and Literature 38, 1 (Spring 2006): 61-93.
  • "Conflict and Convergence on Fundamental Matters in C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien," Renascence LV, 4, Summer 2003): 315-338.
  • "Lest the World's Amnesia Be Complete: A Reading of Walter Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz," Religion and Literature 33, 1 (Spring 2001): 23-41.
  • "Dostoevsky on Evil as a Perversion of Personhood: A Reading of Ivan Karamazov and the Grand Inquisitor," Perspectives in Religious Studies 26, 3 (Fall 1999): 331-48.
  • "Rapidly Rises the Morning Tide: An Essay on P. D. James' The Children of Men," Theology Today, 51, 2 (July 1994): 277-88.

Work in Progress