Dr Nicholas Hardy

Dr Nicholas Hardy

Department of English Literature
Birmingham Fellow

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'.

Postgraduate supervision

I would be delighted to hear from prospective doctoral students with interests in the history of criticism, humanism, intellectual history, classical reception studies, and the reception of the Bible in the long seventeenth century.

Find out more - our PhD English Literature  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


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.



Criticism and Confession: The Bible in the Seventeenth-Century Republic of Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Articles and book chapters:

 ‘John Bois’s Annotated Septuagint and the King James Bible’. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 47, no. 3 (2017): 609–15.

 ‘Religion and Politics in the Composition and Reception of Baronius’s Annales Ecclesiastici: A New Letter from Paolo Sarpi to Isaac Casaubon’. In For the Sake of Learning: Essays in Honor of Tony Grafton, edited by Ann Blair and Anja Goeing, I:21–38. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

‘Is the De Rerum Natura a Work of Natural Theology? Some Ancient, Modern, and Early Modern Perspectives’. In Lucretius and the Early Modern, edited by David Norbrook, Stephen Harrison, and Philip Hardie, 201–21. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

 ‘The Septuagint and the Transformation of Biblical Scholarship in England, from the King James Bible (1611) to the London Polyglot (1657)’. In The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in Early Modern England, C. 1520-1700, edited by Kevin Killeen, Helen Smith, and Rachel Willie, 117–30. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

‘Impartiality and the Early Modern Ars Critica: The Case of John Selden’s Historie of Tithes (1618)’. In The Emergence of Impartiality, edited by Kathryn Murphy and Anita Traninger, 289–303. Leiden: Brill, 2014.

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