Robert Davis

Robert Davis

Assistant Professor
Historical Theology

General Information

Department of Theology
Rose Hill Campus
441 East Fordham Road
Bronx, New York 10458

Email: [email protected]

  • A Tennessee native, Prof. Davis graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis in 2003 with a major in Religious Studies. After graduation he served as a residential volunteer coordinator for Appalachia Service Project in Jonesville, Virginia. He received his MDiv from Harvard Divinity School in 2007 and his PhD from Harvard University in 2012. As a student at HDS, Prof. Davis co-founded and served as editor of Cult/ure: The Graduate Journal of Harvard Divinity School, and served as a pastoral care intern at Cambridge Cares About AIDS. As a doctoral candidate, he studied the history of Christian thought and practice with an emphasis on medieval Neoplatonism and mystical theology. Prof. Davis has also studied and continues to pursue interests in philosophical hermeneutics and the development of the human sciences, psychoanalytic theory, and theories of affect and emotion.

  • PhD, Harvard University
    MDiv, Harvard Divinity School
    BA, Rhodes College

  • Medieval Christian Mysticism and Spirituality, Medieval Scholastic Theology, Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation, Gender and Sexuality, Theories of Affect and Emotion

    Prof. Davis's primary area of research is medieval Latin Christian thought and practice from the 12th through the 14th centuries. His focus is Christian mystical theology (especially as influenced by the Latin translations of the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius) and spiritual practices of intellectual and affective transformation in late medieval Europe. His first project, The Weight of Love: Affect, Ecstasy, and Union in the Theology of Bonaventure, examines the complex embodiment of human affect and the role it plays in Bonaventure's account of ecstatic union with God and the life and death of St. Francis of Assisi.

    In historical perspective, and through constructive engagement with contemporary psychoanalytic, literary, and feminist theory, Prof. Davis is interested in representations of space and the body in philosophical and theological discourses of "interiority." His current research explores techniques of attending to and interpreting affective changes in late medieval Christian devotion, with particular attention to the Pseudo-Bonaventurean devotional literature that circulated in Franciscan, Carthusian, and women's religious communities in the late 13th and 14th centuries.

  • The Weight of Love: Affect, Ecstasy, and Union in the Theology of Bonaventure (2016, Fordham University Press).

    "Speech and Sense in Meister Eckhart's Liber Parabolarum Genesis" (December 2015, Medieval Mystical Theology: The Journal of the Eckhart Society).

    “Hierarchy and Excess in Bonaventure’s Itinerarium mentis in Deum” (October 2015, Journal of Religion).

    Review of Imagination, Meditation, and Cognition in the Middle Ages, by Michelle Karnes (University of Chicago Press, 2011) in Modern Philology.

    Review of Richard of St. Victor, On the Trinity, trans. Ruben Angelici (Cascade Books, 2011), in Medieval Mystical Theology: The Journal of the Eckhart Society.

    Review of Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, by Sarah McNamer (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), in Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality.