Peter Howard

Peter Howard

Director, Institute of Religion and Critical Inquiry

BA Hons (Monash), BTheol (Melbourne College of Divinity), PhD (Monash)
Peter Howard is a historian of Renaissance Italy and of medieval thought with a particular interest in developing new paths for exploring culture, especially in its religious, visual and oral/aural performative aspects. He holds a PhD in history from Monash University (1991) and completed advanced studies in theology through Catholic Theological College (MCD University of Divinity, 1972-80). His 40 publications to date include two sole-authored books, with a third for release in 2020, a published named-lecture, and three edited collections and a number forthcoming.  He has been a Fellow and also Visiting Professor at Villa I Tatti: The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, a Fellow of the European University Institute, Florence, and a visiting scholar at the Istituto per le scienze religiose, Bologna. His numerous presentations at international conferences include the Etienne Gilson Memorial Lecture at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, University of Toronto (2011) and a conference in the Vatican on the Sistine Chapel (2015). He has been chief investigator on a number of Australian Research Council Grants, and is currently pursuing an ARC Discovery project on ‘the Sistine Chapel and the Visual Art of Preaching’.

Prior to his appointment as Director of IRCI at ACU, Peter was an academic at Monash University, where he was founding Director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2012-2019), Convener of The Prato Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2010-2019), Director of the Arts Focus ‘Body in the City, 1100-1800’ Research Program (2016-19), and Deputy Dean and Interim Dean  (2013-2017).  Peter’s contribution to higher education and pedagogy has been recognized by awards from Monash University in three key areas: undergraduate teaching (including 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Award), honours supervision (2017 Vice-Chancellors Award), and postgraduate supervision (2009 Faculty Award). During his time at Monash he supervised to completion 13 PhD students, 8 Masters by research, and 53 honours students.

He is General Editor of Brepols Publishers (Belgium) Europa Sacra Series, and of Routledge's new Body in the City Series (with John Henderson).

Key publications


Aquinas and Antoninus: A Tale of Two Summae in Renaissance Florence (The Etienne Gilson Series 35, Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2013, ISBN 978-0-88844-735-7).

Creating Magnificence in Renaissance Florence (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2012)

Beyond the Written Word: Preaching and Theology in the Florence of Archbishop Antoninus, 1427-1459 (Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento, Quaderni di ‘Rinascimento’; Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1995)

Experiencing Religion in Renaissance Florence: Theologies of the Piazza (London: Routeldge, forthcoming 2020)

Edited Research Books

Word, Deed, & Image: Mendicants to the World, Sally Cornelison, Nirit Ben Debby, Peter Howard eds. (Turnout: Brepols, 2016).

Studies on Florence and the Italian Renaissance in Honour of F.W. Kent:“A paradise where devils dwell”, Peter Howard and Cecilia Hewlett eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016).

Cultures of Devotion: Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Religion
, Peter Howard and Cynthia Troup eds. (Clayton: Monash Publications in History, 2000).

Renaissance Religions: Modes and Meanings in History, Peter Howard, Riccardo Saccenti and Nicholas Terpstra eds. (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2019).

Scholarly Book Chapters

 “The Language of Luxury in Renaissance Florence.” In Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy, edited by Catherine Kovesi, 47-70. Turnhout: Brepols, 2018.

“Languages of the Pulpit: the preacher as translator in Renaissance Florence.” In City, Court, Academy: Language Choice in Early Modern Italy, edited by Eva del Soldato and Andrea Rizzi, 31-46 London: Routledge, 2018.

“Making a City and Citizens: The ‘Fruits’ of Preaching in Renaissance Florence” In Medieval Urban Culture, edited by Andrew Brown and Jan Dumolyn, 49-73. Turnhout: Brepols, 2017.

“Pierozzi, Antonino.” In Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy, edited by Marco Sgarbi, 1-4. Springer International Publishing, 2017.

“Preaching at San Lorenzo.”  In San Lorenzo: A Florentine Church, edited by Robert Gaston and Louis Waldman, 244-56. Cambridge, Mass.: Villa I Tatti Series: Harvard University Press, 2017.

“ ‘In Magnificentiae Cosmi Medicei Fiorentini’: Maffei preaching ‘against the grain’.” In The Badia Fiesolana: Augustinian and Academic locus amoenus in the Florentine Hills, edited by A. Dressen and K. Pietschmann, 117-31. Zurich: LIT Verlag, 2016.

“La legge di natura nei sermoni e scritti di Antonino da Firenze.” In Legge e Natura. I dibattiti teologici e giuridici fra XV e XVII sec., edited by Cinzia Sulas and Riccardo Saccenti, 52-68. Rome: Aracne editrice, 2016.

“ ‘Where the poor of Christ are cherished’: Poverty in the Preaching of Antoninus of Florence.” In Poverty and Devotion in Mendicant Cultures 120–1450, edited by Constant J. Mews and Anna Welch, 198-209. London and New York: Routledge, 2016).

“A Landscape of Preaching: Bartolomeo Lapacci Rimbertini OP.” In Mendicant Cultures in the Medieval and Early Modern World Word, Deed, and Image, edited by Sally Cornelison, Nirit Ben Debby, Peter Howard, 45-64. Turnout: Brepols, 2016.

“ ‘A paradise where devils dwell’: Francis William Kent and Renaissance Florence.” In Studies on Florence and the Italian Renaissance in Honour of F.W. Kent, edited by Peter Howard and Cecilia Hewlett, 1-32. Turnhout: Brepols, 2016.

“ ‘It is a great disgrace for our city’: Archbishop Antoninus and Heresy in Renaissance Florence.” In Religion, the Supernatural and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe, edited by Dagmar Eichberger and Jennifer Spinks, 105-25. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

Journal Articles

“Antonino e la predicazione nella Firenze Rinascimentale.”  Memorie Domenicane 43 (2012): 333-45.

“Painters and the Visual Art of Preaching: The Exemplum of the Fifteenth-Century Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.” I Tatti Studies 13 (2010): 33-77.

“ ‘You cannot sell liberty for all the gold there is’: Promoting good governance in early Renaissance Florence.” Renaissance Studies 24 (2010):207-33.

“Preaching Magnificence in Renaissance Florence.” Renaissance Quarterly 61(2008): 325-369.

“The Impact of Preaching in Renaissance Florence: Fra Niccolò da Pisa at San Lorenzo.” Medieval Sermon Studies 48 (2004): 29-44.


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