Professor Christopher Ocker

Director, on leave
Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Professor Christopher Ocker

Areas of expertise: late medieval and early modern Europe; Central Europe; the Reformations; religious conflict; property; politics; theology; biblical interpretation

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1736-835X

Phone: +61 3 9230 8420


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

A historian of religion in medieval and early modern Europe, Professor Ocker’s research and publications focus on Christianity before the Enlightenment. He has special interest in the Reformation, its background, and the gradual change of religious and intellectual cultures in the medieval and early modern periods.

Before coming to ACU, Professor Ocker was Chair of the Department of Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley and Professor of History at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. He has been a von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for History, fellow of the Institute of European History in Mainz and the Institute for Advanced Study in Constance, and a visiting scholar at Cambridge and the American Academy in Rome. 

Download CV (PDF, 261KB)

Select publications


  • 2018 Luther, Conflict, and Christendom: Reformation Europe and Christianity in the West, (Cambridge University Press).
  • 2006 Church-Robbers and Reformers in Germany, 1525-1547: Confiscation and Religious Purpose in the Holy Roman Empire, (E.J. Brill).
  • 2002 Biblical Poetics before Humanism and Reformation, (Cambridge University Press).  

Journal articles 

  • (2017) “After the Peasants War: Barbara von Fuchstein Fights for Her Property.” Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Reforme 40, 141-159.
  • (2015) Co-authored with Kevin Madigan, “After Beryl Smalley: Thirty Years of Medieval Exegesis, 1984-2013,” Journal of the Bible and Its Reception 2, 87-130.
  • (2012) “The German Reformation and Medieval Thought and Culture,” History Compass 10, 13-46.  
  • (1998) “Ritual Murder and the Subjectivity of Christ: A Choice in Medieval Christianity.” Harvard Theological Review 9, 153-192.
  • (1993) Johannes Klenkok: A Friar’s Life, c. 1310-1374.  Transactions of the AmericanPhilosophical Society, (American Philosophi­cal Society) 83.5.
  • (1991) “Augustine, Episcopal Interests, and the Papacy in Late Roman Africa,” The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 42, 179-201.


  • (2020) With Susanna Elm, “Christianity and the Material, Medieval to Modern.” In Ocker, Susanna Elm (editors), Material Christianity: Western Religion and the Agency of Things (Sophia Studies in Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Traditions and Cultures), (Amsterdam: Springer) 1-25.
  • (2020) “Resacralizing the Media of Grace.” Material Christianity, pages 69-101.
  • (2020) “The Motion of Another’s Death,” Death, Burial and Remembrance in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe 1300-1700 (Brill Companions to the Christian Tradition). Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  • (2019) “Sexual Crime and Political Conflict: An Alsatian Nobleman Is Burned to Death with His Male Lover in 1482.”  Sourcebook of Early Modern History: Life, Death, and Everything in Between. In Honor of Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Ute Lotz-Heumann (ed.), (Routledge) 27.
  • (2018) “Spirit, Writers, and Biblical Readers in ‘the Practical Circumstances of Life’: A Political Hermeneutic.” Sola scriptura heute. Stefan Alkier (ed.), (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck) 59-82.
  • (2017) “Anti-Judaism and Anti-Semitism.” Oxford Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, Derek Nelson, Paul Hinlicky (eds), (Oxford University Press).
  • (2016) Explaining Evil and Grace.” Oxford Handbook of the Reformation, Ulinka Rublack (ed.), (Oxford University Press) 23-46.
  • (2006) “German Theologians and the Jews in the Fifteenth Century.”  Jews, Judaism and the Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Germany, Dean Phillip Bell and Stephen G. Burnett (eds), (E.J. Brill), 33-65.
  • (2007) “Taverns and the Self at the Dawn of the Reformation”,  Image and Imagination of the Religious Self in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Reindert Falkenburg and Walter Melion (eds), (Turnhout: Brepols) 215-236.
  • (2013) “The Physiology of Spirit in the Reformation: Medical Consensus and Protestant Theologians, Miracle Stories Revisited, Annette Weissenrieder, Stefan Alkier (eds), (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck), 115-156.

Public engagement

Editorial roles

  • Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, series editor, 2020, member of editorial board, 2009-present; Journal of the American Academy of Religion, associate editor, 2017-present. Journal of the Bible and Its Reception, editor, 2015-present (managing co-editor, 2015-2017); Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte, co-editor, 2019-present.

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