Professor Peter Howard
Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Religion and Theology
Areas of expertise: Renaissance preaching; religion in Florence in the fifteenth century; Italian Renaissance history, with a focus on Florence; medieval and early modern sermon studies; medieval and early modern intellectual history; religious and ecclesiastical history; historical theology
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9276-2608
Location: ACU Melbourne Campus
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 2022, 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, including his current ARC Discovery project on ‘The visual art of preaching in the Sistine Chapel in the fifteenth century’. He is also a member of the steering group of the SCISMA Project (Strategies of survival: The papal curia and ecclesiastical institutions of Rome in the Great Western Schism (1378-1417)) funded by the Academy of Finland (2019-2023).
Prior to his appointment as Director of IRCI at ACU, Peter was founding Director of Monash University’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2012-2019), Convener of The Prato Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (2010-2019), Director of the ‘Body in the City, 1100-1800’ Research Program (2016-19), and Deputy Dean and Interim Dean (2013-2017) in the Faculty of Arts. Peter’s contribution to higher education and pedagogy has been recognized by awards from Monash University in 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 Routledge's new Body in the City Series (with John Henderson), and was General Editor of Brepols Publishers (Belgium) Europa Sacra series (2009-19) and now continues as a board member.
- 2022 (Forthcoming) Experiencing Religion in Renaissance Florence: Theologies of the Piazza (London: Routledge)
- (2013) Aquinas and Antoninus: A Tale of Two Summae in Renaissance Florence (The Etienne Gilson Series 35, Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies)
- (2012) Creating Magnificence in Renaissance Florence (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies)
- (1995) Beyond the Written Word: Preaching and Theology in the Florence of Archbishop Antoninus, 1427-1459 (Florence: Leo S. Olschki Editore)
- (2021) Renaissance Religions: Modes and Meanings in History, Peter Howard, Riccardo Saccenti and Nicholas Terpstra eds. (Turnhout: Brepols)
- (2016) Word, Deed, & Image: Mendicants to the World, Sally Cornelison, Nirit Ben Debby, Peter Howard eds. (Turnhout: Brepols)
- (2016) Studies on Florence and the Italian Renaissance in Honour of F.W. Kent, Peter Howard and Cecilia Hewlett eds. (Turnhout: Brepols)
- (2021) "A paradise inhabited by Devils': lay reform as Imago Dei," forthcoming in Renaissance Studies.
- (2020) "The Language of Dives and Lazarus: Preaching Generosity and Almsgiving in Renaissance Florence." I Tatti Studies 23, 33-52.
- (2012) “Antonino e la predicazione nella Firenze Rinascimentale.” Memorie Domenicane 43, 333-45.
- (2010) “Painters and the Visual Art of Preaching: TheExemplum of the Fifteenth-Century Frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.” I Tatti Studies 13, 33-77.
- (2010) “‘You cannot sell liberty for all the gold there is’: Promoting good governance in early Renaissance Florence.” Renaissance Studies 24, 207-33.
- (2008) “Preaching Magnificence in Renaissance Florence.” Renaissance Quarterly 61, 325-369.
- (2004) “The Impact of Preaching in Renaissance Florence: Fra Niccolò da Pisa at San Lorenzo.” Medieval Sermon Studies 48, 29-44.
- (Forthcoming), “Aptum ad praedicandum: The Reception and Transformation of Scholastic Thinking in Renaissance Florence,” in Amos Edelheit (ed.), The Brill Companion to Renaissance Scholasticism. (Leiden: Brill).
- (2021) “Approaching Renaissance Religions”, in Renaissance Religions: Modes and Meanings in History, ed. Peter Howard, Riccardo Saccenti and Nicholas Terpstra (Turnhout: Brepols).
- (2020) “The Language of Medicine in Renaissance Preaching, in Representing Infirmity: Diseased Bodies in Renaissance Italy, ed. John Henderson, Fredrika Jacobs and Jonathan K. Nelson. (London: Routledge), 28-46.
- (2018) “The Language of Luxury in Renaissance Florence.” In Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy, edited by Catherine Kovesi, (Turnhout: Brepols), 47-70.
- (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 (London: Routledge), 31-46 .
- (2017) “Making a City and Citizens: The ‘Fruits’ of Preaching in Renaissance Florence” In Medieval Urban Culture, edited by Andrew Brown and Jan Dumolyn (Turnhout: Brepols), 49-73.
- (2017) “Preaching at San Lorenzo.” In San Lorenzo: A Florentine Church, edited by Robert Gaston and Louis Waldman, (Cambridge, Mass.: Villa I Tatti Series: Harvard University Press), vol. 2, 244-56.
- (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, (London and New York: Routledge), 198-209.
- (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, (Turnout: Brepols), 45-64.
- (2016) “ ‘A paradise inhabited by devils’: Bill Kent and His Florentine Renaissance.” in Studies on Florence and the Italian Renaissance in Honour of F.W. Kent, Peter Howard and Cecilia Hewlett eds. (Turnhout: Brepols), 1-32.
- (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, (Leiden: Brill), 105-25.
- (2016) “‘In Magnificentiae Cosmi Medicei Florentini’: Maffei preaching ‘against the grain’,” in Angela Dreßen and Klaus Pietschmann (eds.), The Badia Fiesolana : Augustinian and academic locus amoenus in the Florentine hills (Zurich: LIT Verlag), 21-32.
- (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 (Rome: Aracne editrice), 52-68.
- 2019-21 Australian Research Council Discovery Project, ‘The visual art of preaching in the Sistine Chapel in the fifteenth century’, awarded $378,000 (Sole chief investigator)
- 2019-23 SCISMA Project (Strategies of survival: The papal curia and ecclesiastical institutions of Rome in the Great Western Schism (1378-1417)), funded by the Academy of Finland (Steering group member)
- 2011-16 Australian Research Council Discovery Project, awarded $175,000 (Sole chief investigator)
- 2011-17 Australian Research Council Linkage Project, awarded $60,000 (Joint chief investigator)
Accolades and awards
- Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Honours Supervision (2017)
- Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (2012)
- Faculty of Arts Award for Teaching Excellence (2011)
- Faculty of Arts Award for Excellence in Higher Degree by Research Supervision (2009)
Appointments and affiliations
- Director, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University, 2019-present
- Founding Director, Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Monash University, 2012- 19
- Deputy Dean and as Interim Dean in the Faculty of Arts, Monash University, 2013-17
- Associate Professor History, Monash University, 2012-2019
- Convener, the Prato Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2010-19
- Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Visiting Professor, Villa I Tatti: The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2007)
- Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at Villa I Tatti: The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (2000-2001)
- General Editor, ‘Bodies in the City’ series (Routledge, Founding General Editor since 2016, with John Henderson).
- Europa Sacra series (Brepols)
- Medieval Sermon Studies
International journal review panel
- Reviewing manuscripts for I Tatti Studies, Gesta, Art Bulletin, Routledge, Harvard University Press, Bloomsbury Press, Parergon