Ann Astell

Ann Astell

Director of Undergraduate Studies
History of Christianity


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.A., Marquette University

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison


Research and Teaching Interests

Click below to view a presentation by Prof. Astell's on the life of St. Joan of Arc.

Recent Publications


Co-edited with  Dorsey Armstrong and Howell Chickering. 2013. Magistra doctissima: Essays in Honor of Bonnie Wheeler. Kalamazoo, MI: Medieval Institute Publications.

Co-edited with Sandor Goodhart. 2011. Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution in Ancient Judaism and Christianity. Notre Dame: Notre Dame University Press.

Co-edited with Justin Jackson. 2009. Levinas and Medieval Literature:  The “Difficult Reading” of English and Rabbinic Texts. Duquesne University Press.

2006. Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages. Ithaca:  Cornell University Press.

2003. Co-edited with Bonnie Wheeler. Joan of Arc and Spirituality. New Middle Ages Series. New York:  Palgrave Press.

2003. Joan of Arc and Sacrificial Authorship. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.

Editor. 2000. Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press.

1999. Political Allegory in Late Medieval England. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

1996. Chaucer and the Universe of Learning. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

1994. Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

1990. The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages. Ithaca: Cornell University Press; repr. paperback, 1994.

Editor. 1994. Divine Representations: Postmodernism and Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press.

Book Chapters:

2017. “The ‘Hellenic’ Rationality of Interreligious Dialogue: René Girard, Simone Weil, and Pope Benedict XVI,” in Mimetic Theory and World Religions, ed. Wolfgang Palaver and Richard Schenk, O.P. (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2017), 279−99.


2017. “Pope Francis, the Ecclesial Movements, and the New Evangelization,” in New World Pope: Pope Francis and the Future of the Church, ed. Michael L. Budde (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2017), 70−85.


2017. With Danielle Peters, “Spiritualities of Lay Witness in the World,” in What We Have Seen and Heard: Fostering Baptismal Witness in the World, ed. Michael E. Connors (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2017), 115−35.

2017. “Simone Weil.” Chapter submitted for inclusion in Palgrave Handbook for Mimetic Theory, ed. Sheelah Trefle-Hidden, et al. Under contract. In Press.

2017, “Remembering 1854 in 1958: O’Connor’s Edited Collection on the Immaculate Conception as a “Sign of the Times," in Mary on the Eve of the Second Vatican Council, ed. John C. Cavadini and Danielle M. Peters (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017), 245-263.

2016. “Social Mysticism.” 25 MS. Pages. Submitted in August 2016 to Mark McIntosh and E. Howells, eds., for inclusion in Oxford Handbook to Mystical Theology.

“Griselda as Mary: Chaucer’s Clerk’s Tale and Alanus de Rupe’s Exemplum.” Submitted to Sharon Rowley, editor, for inclusion in Festschrift for Christina von Nolcken entitled Rosarium Amicitiae.

“Faith, Hope, Charity and the Fears of Fatima.” Submitted to University of Notre Dame Press as part of Saving Fear: Historical Perspectives on the ‘Fear of the Lord’ in Christian Spirituality and Theology, edited by Ann W. Astell.

“Consolations of Friendship: The Augustinian Reception of Boethius in Twelfth-Century England.” 22 MS. Pages. Invited for inclusion in a volume forthcoming from Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Proceedings from a symposium held at Harvard University, March 13-15, 2014, Revisiting the Legacy of Boethius in the Middle Ages. My lecture was one of three keynotes (Morton W. Bloomfield lectures). In Press. Copyedited.

“Bede’s Abbreviated Allegory of Psalm 136.” Submitted to Graham Caie for inclusion in aFestschrift in honor of Allen J. Frantzen. 14 MS. Pages. In Press at Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Copyedited.

2014. “Retooling the Instruments of Christ’s Passion:  Memorial Technai, St. Thomas the Twin, and British Library Additional MS. 22029.” In The Arma Christi in Medieval and Early Modern Culture: Objects, Representations, and Devotional Practice, 171-202, edited by Lisa H. Cooper and Andrea Denny-Brown. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Press.

2014. “Hearing the Cry of the Poor: René Girard and St. Augustine on the Psalms.” In Scott Cowdell, Chris Fleming, and Joel Hodge, eds., Violence, desire, and the Sacred, Vol. 2: René Girard and Sacrifice in Life, Love, and Literature. London: Bloomsbury.

2013. “The Prioress’s Prologue to Her Passionate Tale: Psalm 8:2, Matthew 21:16, and Jesus’ Prophecy of Singing Stones,” in Interpretation and Performance: Essays in Honor of Alan T. Gaylord, edited by Elise Morse-Gagne and Susan Yager. Provo, Utah: The Chaucer Studio Press.

2013. “The Song of Songs and Mysticism.” Ann W. Astell and Catherine Rose Cavadini. In the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism, edited by Julia A. Lamm, 27-40. Chichester, Sussex, UK: Blackwell.

2012. “Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Twelfth-Century Monastic Theology.” In Cambridge History of Late Medieval Theology, edited by Joseph Wawrykow and Thomas Prügl. Cambridge University Press.

2012. “Memoriam Fecit”: The Eucharist, Memory, Reform, and Regeneration in Hildegard of Bingen’s Scivias and Nicholas of Cusa’s Sermons.” In Reassessing Reform: A Historical Investigation into Church Renewal, edited by Christopher M. Bellitto and David Zachariah Flanagin, 190-213. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press.


2017. “Violence, Mysticism, and René Girard,” Theological Studies 78.2 (2017): 389−411.

2014. Ann W. Astell and Susannah Monta, “Genre and the Joining of Literature and Religion: A Question of Kinds,” R&L 46.2-3 (Summer-Autumn, 2014): 95-110.

2014. “To Build the Church: Saint Ælred of Rievaulx’s Hexaemeral Miracles in the Life of Ninian,” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 49.4: 455-481.

With Danielle Peters. 2014. “Schoenstatt’s Shrine for the Pilgrim People of God,” Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture 3.2: 68-84.

2013. “From Ugly Duckling to Swan: Education as Spiritual Transformation in the Thought of Edith Stein,” Spiritus 13 (2013): 1-16.

2013. “‘My Life Is A Work of Art’: Oscar Wilde’s Novelistic and Religious Conversion,” Renascence 65.3 (Spring 2013): 188-205.

2011. “The Writer as Redeemed Prostitute:  Girard’s Reading of Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground,Religion and Literature 43.3: 186-194

With J.A. Jackson. 2011. “Deceit, Desire, and the Novel Fifty Years Later—The Religious Dimension: An Introduction to the Forum,” Ann W. Astell and J.A. Jackson, Religion and Literature 43.3: 136-143.

2012. “Artful Dogma: The Immaculate Conception and Franz Werfel’s Song of Bernadette. Christianity and Literature 62.1: 189-212.

2012. “Heroic Virtue in Blessed Raymond of Capua’s Life of Catherine of Siena.” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 42.1: 35-57.

2011. "On Belching, Giving Birth and Singing the Psalms." Ideas with Impact, Center of Theological Inquiry.


Ann is a Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where she was appointed in 2007, after serving as Professor of English and chair of Medieval Studies at Purdue University. Her research focuses on medieval literature and spirituality. She is the author of six books, including The Song of Songs in the Middle Ages (1990), Job, Boethius, and Epic Truth (1994), Chaucer and the Universe of Learning (1996), Political Allegory in Late Medieval England (1999), and Joan of Arc and Sacrificial Authorship (2003). The writing of her most recent book, Eating Beauty: The Eucharist and the Spiritual Arts of the Middle Ages (2006) was supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2001-2002). She is also the editor or co-editor of six volumes on topics related to historical Christian spirituality, including Lay Sanctity, Medieval and Modern: A Search for Models (2000); Joan of Arc and Spirituality (2003, with Bonnie Wheeler); Levinas and Medieval Literature: The “Difficult Reading” of English and Rabbinic Texts (2009, with Justin Jackson), Sacrifice, Scripture, and Substitution: Readings in Ancient Judaism and Christianity (with Sandor Goodhart, 2011), and Magistra doctissima: Essays in Honor of Bonnie Wheeler (with Dorsey Armstrong and Howell Chickering, 2013). Recent publications include articles in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (2012), Franciscan Studies (2009) and in Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis, and Culture (2009). A member of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, she currently serves as President of the international Colloquium on Violence and Religion and President of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.



333 Malloy Hall
(574) 631-3047

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