Dr Nicholas Hardy

Dr Nicholas Hardy

Department of English Literature
Birmingham Fellow

Please note: as of September 2019 I am on a five-year leave of absence from the University to work full time for the University and College Union (UCU). During this period I will not be teaching or supervising students, or commencing any new research projects. Please continue to contact me at my University email address, but be advised that I will be checking it less regularly than normal.

My primary interests are in sixteenth and seventeenth century literary and intellectual history, especially Renaissance humanism, the reception of classical antiquity, neo-Latin literature, and religious writing. I recently published a monograph about the relationship between classical humanism, biblical criticism and confessional identity in seventeenth-century Europe, and am now preparing a study of the King James Version of the Bible (1611) based on previously undiscovered sources.


  • BA Classics & English, University of Oxford
  • MSt English (1550-1780), University of Oxford
  • DPhil English, University of Oxford


I came to Birmingham after five years in Cambridge, where I held a Research Fellowship at Trinity College (2012-16) and then the Munby Research Fellowship at the University Library (2016-17). I have also held visiting fellowships at Leiden University Library's Scaliger Institute, and the Folger Institute in Washington, DC.


This year I am teaching the second-year module, 'Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean'.


My main research interests lie in what was known as 'criticism' in the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment; its relationship to humanistic, literary and religious culture; and its larger implications for the history and nature of the humanities. My recently published first book, Criticism and Confession: The Bible in the Seventeenth Century Republic of Letters, examined the convergence of humanist classical scholarship and theology in late Renaissance Europe, and the ways in which it shaped and reflected Protestants' and Catholics' views about the composition, historical context and manuscript transmission of the Bible.

My next book-length project will complement and extend Criticism and Confession by exploring the influence of continental humanism on vernacular religious writing, concentrating in particular on the King James Bible of 1611. It will present previously undiscovered sources for the genesis of that translation, and offer a fresh study of its reception by seventeenth-century readers. By showing how lay and clerical readers took up the methods of late humanist scholarship, I hope to highlight a previously overlooked dimension of Protestants' engagement with the Bible, and challenge longstanding assumptions about the theological and cultural consequences of the Reformation.

Other recent and forthcoming publications include book chapters on the early modern reception of the Roman Epicurean philosopher-poet, Lucretius, and on Dryden and the writing of 'literary history' in the late seventeenth century; and a collection of essays, co-edited with Dmitri Levitin, about the relationship between scholarship and confessional identity in the early modern period.


Recent publications


Hardy, N 2017, Criticism and Confession: The Bible in the Seventeenth Century Republic of Letters. Oxford-Warburg Studies, 1st edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Hardy, N 2018, Revising the King James Apocrypha: John Bois, Isaac Casaubon, and the Case of 1 Esdras. in M Feingold (ed.), Labourers in the Vineyard of the Lord: Scholarship and the Making of the King James Version of the Bible. Scientific and Learned Cultures and Their Institutions, Brill, Leiden, pp. 266-327. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004359055_009

Hardy, N 2016, Religion and Politics in the Composition and Reception of Baronius’s Annales Ecclesiastici: A New Letter from Paolo Sarpi to Isaac Casaubon. in A Blair & A-S Goeing (eds), For the Sake of Learning: Essays in Honor of Anthony Grafton. Scientific and Learned Cultures and Their Institutions, vol. 18, Brill, Leiden, pp. 21-38. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004263314_003


Hardy, N 2015, Is the De rerum natura a Work of Natural Theology? Some Ancient, Modern, and Early Modern Perspectives. in D Norbrook, S Harrison & P Hardie (eds), Lucretius and the Early Modern. Classical Presences, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 201-221. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713845.001.0001

Hardy, N 2015, The Septuagint and the transformation of biblical scholarship in England, from the King James Bible (1611) to the London Polyglot (1657). in K Killeen, H Smith & R Willie (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, c. 1520-1700. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 117-130. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199686971.013.8

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