David Lyle Jeffrey, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities in the Honors Program
High Res Photo

Distinguished Professor of Literature and the Humanities


  • Ph.D., English and Comparative Literature, Princeton University (1968)
  • B.A., English, Wheaton College (1965)


Dr. David Lyle Jeffrey has been Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities at Baylor University since 2000. He has also held the positions of Guest Professor at Peking University (Beijing) since 1996 and Honorary Professor at the University of International Business and Economics (Beijing) since 2005. He graduated from Wheaton College and earned his PhD from Princeton in 1968. Dr. Jeffrey teaches courses on medieval literature, the Bible as literature, medieval exegesis, biblical hermeneutics and literary theory, biblical tradition in the arts, art and biblical theology, and literature and philosophy and aesthetics.

Academic Interests and Research

  • Medieval Studies (including History of the English Language); Medieval Latin, Italian French and Middle English Literature Medieval Studies (including History of the English Language); Medieval Latin, Italian French and Middle English Literature
  • Bible as Literature
  • Scripture and Tradition
  • History of Interpretation (Reception History)
  • Theology and the Arts

Selected Professional Awards/Activities/Grants and Fellowships

  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1965-67).
  • Hazel Hopkins Ford Fellowship (3‑year Ph.D., 1965).
  • Princeton University Fellow (1966).
  • Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow (1967‑68).
  • Canada Council Doctoral Award (1967-8).
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature Book of the Year Award (1975) for The Early English Lyric and Franciscan Spirituality.
  • Canada Council Leave Fellowship (1977‑78).
  • Education Address, “Classical Education and the Modern Scholar,” Presidential Prayer Breakfast, Washington, DC (1978).
  • Harold W. Dodds Senior Graduate Award (1986).
  • Canadian Merit Award (1978).
  • University of Ottawa Humanities Research Award for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (1979‑80: $15,000).
  • SSHRCC Major Research Grant for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (1983‑84: $44,334).
  • SSHRCC Major Research Grant (1984‑6) for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (1984‑86: $52,508).
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Book (1993) for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature.
  • Christianity Today Reference Book of the Year (1993) for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature.
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature Book of the Year Award (1993) for A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature.
  • Faculty of Arts (inaugural) Professor of the Year (University of Ottawa -1995).
  • Christianity Today, Top Ten Books (1997) for People of the Book.
  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1996.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Honored Professor, Zeta Chapter, Baylor University, 2002; 2007; 2008; 2009; 2010; 2011; 2012, 2018..
  • Phi Kappa Chi honored professor, 2005-2006; 2009-10.
  • (Modern Language Association) Conference of Christianity and Literature Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement, 2003.
  • Sir Andrew Lang Lecture (2004), St. Andrew’s University, Fife, Scotland.
  • First Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, Invited Speaker, Qu Fu, China (2010)
  • Inaugural Robert Crouse Lectures, Archbishop Roper House, Anglo-Catholic School of Theology, Toronto, Canada (2011).
  • Third World Conference on Sinology, Beijing, opening keynote speaker, November 3, 2012.
  • Green Scholars Post-doctoral Grant, 3 years (2012-2015), $165,000.
  • Festschrift: Transformations in Biblical Literary Traditions: Incarnation, Narrative and Ethics; essays in honor of David Lyle Jeffrey, eds. D. H. Williams and Phillip J. Donnelly (South Bend: Notre Dame University Press, 2014).
  • Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year, 2015.
  • Outstanding Tenured Professor Award for Teaching, 2014-2015 (May graduation).
  • Paul J. Holmer Lecture, Anselm House, University of Minnesota, Nov 2, 2017
  • Fred J. Smith Visiting Graduate Scholar (inaugural), University of Minnesota, 2017
  • Julius Brown Gay Lectures (3) at Southern Seminary, Louisville, Oct 15-19, 2019.

Selected Books and Monographs

  • Modern Fiction and the Rebirth of Theology (Saratoga: S.U.N.Y. Press, 1973) (teaching module), 90 pp.
  • The Early English Lyric and Franciscan Spirituality (Lincoln, Nebraska: Nebraska University Press, 1975), 306 pp.
  • (Editor and Co‑author) By Things Seen: Reference and Recognition in Medieval Thought (University of Ottawa Press, 1979), 275 pp.
  • (Editor and Co‑author) Chaucer and Scriptural Tradition (University of Ottawa Press, 1984), 240 pp.
  • Toward a Perfect Love: The Spiritual Counsel of Walter Hilton (Portland, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 1986; new edition, Vancouver, Regent Press, 2002), 212 pp. (translation, with introduction and notes).
  • The Fiction of Jack Hodgins (Toronto: ECW Press, 1989), 53 pp. (monograph)
  • English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1987) 520 pp. (edition of texts, critical study, introductions, notes).  Second edition 1994, Third edition Vancouver: Regent Press, 2001; 2006. Available as A Burning and Shining Light through Logis Bible Software (2016--)
  • English Spirituality in the Age of Wyclif (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1988) 460 pp. (translation of texts, critical study, introductions, notes) Second edition Vancouver: Regent Press, 2001; 2006.
  • (Editor, with Brian J. Levy) The Anglo‑Norman Lyric (Toronto:  Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990; revised second edition by DLJ in 2006), 285 pp. (edition, translation, critical study).
  • (General Editor and Co-Author, A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), xxxii + 969 pp. Currently being translated by a team of Chinese scholars under Prof. Liu Guangyao for SanLian Academic Press.
  • People of the Book:  Christian Identity and Literary Culture (Cambridge and Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1996), 396 pp.+ xx. Chinese translation (2005), by Yi Li, Renmin University Press, Beijing (2004). This includes a “Preface for the Chinese Reader”, a separate essay available only in the Chinese version.
  • (Editor and co-author, with Dominic Manganiello), Re-Thinking the Future of the University (University of Ottawa Press, 1998), 134 pp.
  • Houses of the Interpreter: Reading Scripture, Reading Culture (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2003), 288 pp.
  • William Cowper: Selected Poetry and Prose, ed. David Lyle Jeffrey (Vancouver: Regent Press, 2006), 192 pp.
  • (Editor, with C. Stephen Evans) co-author, The Bible and the University (Milton Keynes and Grand Rapids: Paternoster [UK] and Zondervan [US], 2007), 328 pp.
  • co-author ( 6 of 9 chs), with Gregory Maillet, Christianity and Literature: a Philosophical Perspective (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010; 2017), 352pp +
  • (Editor, co-author) The King James Bible and the World it Made (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2011), 205 pp
  • Luke: a Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012), 312 pp.
  • Chinese translation, A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature, translated by Liu Guangyao et al (Shanghai: Sanlian Academic Press, 2013). Revisions and corrections, plus a new introduction for the Chinese context. 3 vols., 64 + 1741 pp.
  • In the Beauty of Holiness: Art and the Bible in Western Culture (Grand Rapids and Cambridge, 2017), 424 pp.

Selected Research Articles

  • “Stewardship in the Wakefield Master Abel and Noe Plays,” American Benedictine Review 22.1 (1971), pp. 64‑76.
  • “Pastoral Care in the Wakefield Shepherd Plays,” American Benedictine Review 22.2 (1971), pp. 208‑21.
  • “The Friar's Rent,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 70.4 (1971), pp. 600‑607.  (on Chaucer's Friar's Tale)
  • “Reputation in Othello,” Shakespeare Studies 6 (1971) 197‑208, with J.P.  Grant.
  • “Bosch's Haywain: Communion, Community and the Theatre of the World,” Viator 4 (1973), pp. 311‑31, illus.
  • “Franciscan Spirituality and the Rise of Early English Drama,” Mosaic 8 (1975), pp. 17‑46.
  • “Conclusion and the Form of the Personal in Modern Poetry,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 43 (June, 1975), pp. 153‑63.
  • “The Exiled King:  Sir Orfeo's Harp and the Second Death of Eurydice,” Mosaic 9 (1976), pp. 45‑60.
  • “Franciscan Spirituality and the Elevation of Popular Culture,” Canadian Journal of History 9 (1976), pp. 1‑18.
  • “Chaucer's Manciple's Tale:  the Form of Conclusion,” English Studies in Canada 2.3 (1976), pp. 249‑63.
  • “Biblical Hermeneutic and Family History in Modern Canadian Fiction,” Mosaic ll, 3 (1978), pp. 87‑106.
  • “Prejudice and Pride:  Classical Education and the Modern Scholar,” Christianity and Literature 28 (Winter 1978), pp. 53‑66.
  • “The Dividing Line:  Jack Hodgins' Creations and the Island Mind,” Book Forum 4 (1978), pp. 70‑78.
  • “Tolkien as Philologist,” Seven I (1980), pp. 37‑51.
  •  “Literature in an Apocalyptic Age:  or, How to End a Romance,” Dalhousie Review 6l (198l), pp. 226‑246.
  •  “James Ryman and the Macaronic Hymn,” Florilegium 4 (1983), pp. 210‑227.
  • “A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature,” Christianity and Literature 33, No. 4 (1984), pp. 51‑64.
  • “John Wyclif and the Hermeneutics of Reader Intention,” Interpretation 39 (1985), pp. 272‑287.
  • “St. Francis and Medieval Theatre,” Franciscan Studies 43, Annual XXI (1983/1988), pp. 321‑346.
  • “Jack Hodgins,” Dictionary of Literary Biography 60 (1988), pp. 122‑130.
  • Caveat lector:  Structuralism, Deconstruction, and Ideology,” CSR 17 (1988), pp. 436‑448.
  • “Such Good and Comfortable Tidings: The 1534 Newe Testament in English of William Tyndale,” Reformed Journal 39/12 (1989), pp. 8-11.
  • “The Bible as Literature in the 1980's:  A Guide for the Perplexed,” University of Toronto Quarterly 59/4 (1990), 569-580.
  • “Real Presences:  the critical project of George Steiner,” Religion and Literature 22/1  (1990), pp. 101-110.
  • “Mistakenly Logo-centric:  Poetics in a Scriptural Tradition,” Religion and Literature 22/2-3 (1990), 33-46.
  • Entries on “Richard Rolle,” and “The Cloud of Unknowing,” for Reference Guide to English Literature (London:  St. James Press, 1991).
  • “Religious Drama,” Schaff‑Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge: Supplement, ed. J.D. Douglas (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991), 273-276.
  • “Influence of the Bible in English Literature,” Oxford Companion to the Bible, ed. Bruce Metzger (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 438-445.
  • “Influence of the Bible in North American Literature,” Oxford Companion to the Bible, ed.  B. Metzger (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1993), 454-460.
  • “Influence of the Bible on Western Literature,” Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation. ed.  J. H. Hayes (Nashville:  Abingdon Press, 1994) [6000 words]; also entries on “Wyclif”; “Chaucer”.
  • “Common Sense, Moral Accountability and the Intellectual Life,” Revue Générale de Droit 25.3 (1995), 429-443.
  • “Integrity and Scholarly Productivity in a Postmodern Environment,” Faculty Dialogue 23 (1995), 143-160.
  • “Anglo-Saxon Medicine, Before and After the Missionaries,” Focus 16.2 (1995), 2-12.
  • “Empowerment or Authority?  Scholarly Objectives,” Faculty Dialogue 24.2 (1995), 1-18.
  • “The Literary Influence of the Authorized Version,” in The Oxford Dictionary of English Literature in Translation, ed. Peter France (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • “《圣经》与美国神话 Poets as Prophets in American Literature”, Foreign Literatures Quarterly 18.1 (1998), 20-28 [Beijing: in Chinese]
  • “Knowing Truth in the Present Age,” Crux 34.2 (1999), 19-29.
  • “A Pursuit of Peace: the Prairie Novels of Rudy Wiebe,” Journal for the Study of Christian     Culture 1 (1999), 226-257. [in Chinese]
  • “C.S. Lewis, the Bible and its Literary Critics,” Christianity and Literature 50.1 (2000): 95-110.
  • “The Prince and the Pauper: Rembrandt’s and Rubens’ Bathshebas.”  SEEN 1 (2000): 16.
  • “Thoughts about a Christian Research University.” In Christians and Scholarship: Newsletter of the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (Fall, 2000), 1-9. 
  • “Logocentrism, Deconstruction, and Biblical Tradition.” Journal for the Study of Christian Culture 4 (2000), 28-47. [Chinese translation].
  • Entries on “John Bunyan” and “Philip Doddridge” in the Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed.  Timothy Larsen et al (Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity, 2000.)
  • “The Bible and the Myth of America,” Journal for the Study of Christian Culture 7 (2002), 24-36. [Chinese translation of a paper given at Peking University]
  • “The Bible and Literature,” in The Encyclopedia of Protestantism, ed. Hans J. Hillerbrand  (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 226-232.
  • “Faith, Fortitude and the Future of Christian Intellectual Community” The Southern Baptist Educator 69.1 (2004), 10-16.
  • “Communion, Community, and Our Common Book: or, Can Faustus Be Saved?” Christianity and Literature 53.2 (2004), 233-246.
  • “Wisdom, Scholarship and Faith,” Current Issues in Catholic Higher Education, 24.2 (2005—pub in Sept 2006), 11-24.
  • “Of Beauty and a Father’s Love: the Recrudescence of Fatherhood in Recent American Literature,” Christianity and Literature 55.2 (2006), 119-138.
  • 56. “Western Literature and the Bible”, in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, eds. Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Bartholomew, Daniel Trier and N.T. Wright (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic Press, 2005), 841-844.
  • 57. 后理论语境中的文学研究 (“Literary Studies in a Post-theoretical Context,”) Foreign Literatures Quarterly (Beijing: in Chinese) 108.4 (2007), 30-37.
  • 58. “The Literary Influence of the King James Translation,” Biblical Literature Studies (Henan: translation into Chinese of no 55 under ‘chapters’), 1.1 (2007), 44-66.
  • 59. “Jesus in Literature,” Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, ed. Daniel Patte et al (Cambridge University press, 2010), 643-645.
  • 摹仿_艺术与广告中的摹仿和欲望  (“Mimesis: Imitation and Desire in Art and Advertising,” Foreign Literatures Quarterly (Beijing: in Chinese) 110.2 (2009), 3-10.
  • “Biblical Studies and the Development of Humanities Disciplines in the Western University,” Biblical Literature Studies (Henan: article in Chinese), 3.2 (2009), 346-370.
  • “Foreword” to George Thomas Kurian and James D. Smith III, eds., The Encylopedia of Christian Literature (Lanham, Toronto and Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press, 2010), Vol 1. vii-x.
  • “Medieval Literature,” in Kurian and Smith, eds., The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature (2010), 1. 99-104.
  • Entries in Kurian and Smith: “St. Bonaventure,” 1. 216-17; “Francois Charles Mauriac,” 2.449-50; “Isaac Watts,” 2. 631-32.
  • “Courtly Love and Christian Marriage: Chrétien de Troyes, Chaucer and the Court of Henry VIII,” Christianity and Literature 59.3 (2010), 515-530. [reprinted in The St Austin Review  (2012)
  • “Marxist and Christian Convergence: Interrogating Postmodern Liberalism,” Journal for the Study of Christian Culture 24 (2010), 3-19.  [Chinese-pub 2011]
  • “The Bible, Reader and Critic,” Biblical Literature Studies 5 (2011), 59-78. [Chinese]
  • “Wisdom and the Good: Virtue Ethics in Confucius and Christ,”  文史哲曹峰 [Journal of Philosophy, Literature and History] ( September, 2011) [Chinese]
  • “Marxist and Christian: MacIntyre and the Postmodern University,” Nova et Vetera 9.4 (2011), 967-989.
  • “Chaucer’s use of the Bible,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, vol. 4 (Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2011),
  • “Meditation and Atonement in the Art of Marc Chagall,” Religion and the Arts, 16.3 (2012), 211-230.
  • “Bible Translation and the Future of Spiritual Interpretation,” Modern Theology 28.4 (2012), 687-706.
  • “Intrinsic Goods of the Once and Future University,” Journal of Faith and the Academy 6.1 (2013), 6-18.
  • “Dante and Chaucer on the Sermon on the Mount,” Journal for the Study of Christian Culture   29.1 (2013), 211-246 [in Chinese].
  • “The Beauty of the Cross in Augustine’s Aesthetics,” Nova et Vetera 12. 3 (2014), 769-789.
  • “Hebrew Prophetic Books as a Reading of Torah,” Journal for Biblical Literature Studies 8.4 (2014), 234-255.
  • “东方与西方——解决当代问题的古代智慧 [Extreme Income Disparity: Ancient Wisdom as Contemporary Counsel],” Journal of Christian Culture Studies 32. 2 (2014), 3-21.       [Chinese]
  • “Augustine’s Incomplete Aesthetics,” Journal for Biblical Culture Studies 8.5 (2014), 301-329.
  • “The Good and the Good Life: Confucius and Christ,” Journal of Chinese Humanities 1.2 (2015) [Leiden: Brill] (English revision of no. 68 above), 213-230.
  • “The Pearl of Great Wisdom: the Deep and Abiding Biblical Roots of Western Liberal Education,” Classis 22.11 (2015), 4-11[adapted from my essay in Touchstone 20.8 (October, 2007), 25-30].
  • “James Legge and the Poetics of the Shi-jing,” 诗意的欲望与天国的律法——理雅各的《诗经》与翻译意识  Journal of Christian Culture Studies (China), 33.2 (2015), 3-35.
  • “The Theology of Light,” Stained Glass Quarterly 2 (Winter, 2015 [appearing 2016]), 34-37.
  • “Interpreting John 7:53-8:11,” Biblical Literature Studies 13 (2016), 121-145.
  • “Richard Wilbur: Greatest American Poet of the Last Half-Century,” Journal of Christian Culture Studies 38.3 (2017), 216-232.
  • Bringing God’s Word to the People: Reformation Bible TranslationMarginalia, Oct 13, 2017 (5500 words) 
  • “Art and Understanding Scripture,” ArtWay (November, 2017)

Honors Program

Morrison Hall 203
One Bear Place #97122
Waco, TX 76798-7122

(254) 710-1119