David Urban

David Urban


Ph.D., English. University of Illinois at Chicago. 2001, Program: Literature, Preliminary Exams: Early Modern British Literature, 1500-1700; American Literature, Colonial through Civil War; History of Literary Theory, Classical through 1900; Bible as Literature.M.Div. Divinity School, Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois. 1998, Summa cum LaudeM.A., English. University of Illinois at Chicago. 1994, M.A. Qualifying Paper, "The Developing Language of Immortality in Wordsworth’s Poetry."B.A., English. Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. 1990, Departmental Honors. Phi Beta Kappa. Senior Honors Thesis, “Pastoral Images of Death and Rebirth in Milton and Herbert’s Poetry.”


Professor David V. Urban has written articles and reviews on subjects including Milton, Shakespeare, C. S. Lewis, Chekhov, Addison, Donne, Hawthorne, Melville, Fugard, Tolstoy, Hopkins, Bible, ancient Greek and Roman rhetoric, pedagogy, and contemporary novelist Peter Orner for journals such as Milton StudiesMilton Quarterly, Studies in PhilologyChristianity and LiteratureReligion and LiteratureRenascence, Notes & Queries, Modern Philology, Review of English StudiesCalvin Theological Journal, Books & CultureReligions, Connotations: A Journal of Critical Debate, Early Modern Literary StudiesAppositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture, Journal of Markets and MoralityLiberty Matters, Religion and Liberty, Christian Libertarian Review, CitharaLeviathan: A Journal of Melville StudiesAustralian Slavonic and East European Studies, and in several book chapters as well in various encyclopedia entries. He formerly served as a reporter and editor for The Rapidian.

He has co-edited Visionary Milton: Essays on Prophecy and Violence (Duquesne UP, 2010), he completed and edited John Milton: An Annotated Bibliography, 1989-1999 (Duquesne UP, 2011), and his new book, Milton and the Parables of Jesus: The Self and the Bible in John Milton’s Writings (Penn State UP, 2018/2019), is forthcoming.  He is working on a book project tentatively entitled “C. S. Lewis, Miltonist,” which explores both the influence of John Milton upon C. S. Lewis's writing and Lewis's enduring influence upon Milton scholarship. 

He is a member of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Faculty Network and has written articles for FEE on Shakespeare, C. S. Lewis, and freedom of speech.  He is also a Faculty Associate with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.  He and his wife, Adrienne, have two sons.

Academic interests

  • Renaissance and seventeenth-century British literature (especially Milton and Shakespeare)
  • American literature through the Civil War
  • Modern Drama
  • Bible as literature


Books and book projects

C. S. Lewis, Miltonist: Lewis and Milton’s Paradise Lost.

“Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings.”  Special Issue for Religions.

Selected scholarly articles

“Ignatian Inscape and Instress in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s ‘Pied Beauty,’ ‘God’s Grandeur,’ ‘The Starlight Night,’ and ‘The Windhover’: Hopkins’s Movement toward Ignatius by Way of Walter Pater.” Religions 9.2.49 (February 2018): 1-13. Available online.

“Contextualizing C. S. Lewis’ Christian Libertarianism: Engaging Dyer and Watson and Beyond.” Christian Libertarian Review 1 (2018): 75-117. Available online.

"The Falls of Satan, Eve, and Adam in Milton's Paradise Lost: A Study in Insincerity." Christianity and Literature 67.1 (December 2017): 89-112.

"An Allusion to 1 Timothy 5:17 in John Milton's Paradise Lost 9.332." Notes & Queries 63.1 (Spring 2016): 59

“John Milton, Paradox, and the Atonement: Heresy, Orthodoxy, and the Son’s Whole-Life Obedience.” Studies in Philology 112.4 (Fall 2015): 817-36.

“Gerasim's Compassion in Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Resuscitating Paideia 1.1 (Spring 2015): 45-50. Available online.

“Intentionality and Obscurity in Mark 4:11-12: Jesus’ Parabolic Purposes.”  Calvin Theological Journal 49.1 (April 2014): 112-32.

“Liberty, License, and Virtuous Self-Government in John Milton’s Writings.” Journal of Markets and Morality 17.1 (Spring 2014): 143-66. Available online.

“Liberty, License, and Virtuous Self-Government in John Milton’s Writings.”  Journal of Markets and Morality 17.1 (Spring 2014): 143-66. Available online.

“Gaev’s Asperger’s Syndrome in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard: A Diagnosis and a Call for Character Reassessment.” Australian Slavonic and East European Studies 27 (2013): 35-60. Available online.

“Allusions to Matthew 11:28-29 in Milton’s Sonnet 14 (‘When Faith and Love’).” Notes & Queries 60.4 (December 2013): 537.

“An Allusion to Luke 23:39 in Addison’s Cato.” Notes & Queries 60.4 (December 2013): 556-57.

“Milton’s Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, An Answer to a Book, and Same-Sex Marriage.” Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture 6 (2013). 4 paragraphs.

“Milton’s Identification with the Unworthy Servant in Sonnet 19: A Response to Margaret Thickstun.” Connotations: A Journal of Scholarly Debate 22.2 (2013): 260-63.

“The Acolyte’s Rejoinder: C. S. Lewis and the New Milton Criticism, Yet Once More.” Milton Quarterly 46.3 (October 2012): 174-81.

“Surprised by Richardson: C. S. Lewis, Jonathan Richardson, and Their Comparative Influence on Stanley Fish’s Surprised by Sin: The Reader in ‘Paradise Lost.’ Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture 5 (2012). 28 paragraphs.

“The Homosexual Temptation of the Son in Milton’s Paradise Regained: The Historical Background Reconsidered.  A Reply to John T. Shawcross and Claude J. Summers.” Connotations: A Journal of Scholarly Debate 21.2-3 (2012): 272-77.

“Confessions of a Milton Bibliographer: Reflections on the Past, Ruminations on the Present, and Hopes for the Future of Milton Bibliography.” Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture 4 (2011).  26 paragraphs.

“Speaking for the Dead: C. S. Lewis Answers the ‘New Milton Criticism’; or, ‘Milton Ministries Strikes Back.” Milton Quarterly 45.2 (May 2011): 95-106.

“Erroneous Instruction: Hally’s Misrepresentations of Tolstoy and Joe Louis in Fugard’s MASTER HAROLD’ . . . and the boys.” Notes & Queries 58.1 (March 2011): 138-40.

“The Rhetoric of Rebuke and Community-Shaping in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians: An Aristotelian Analysis, with Jeremiah as an Alternative Interpretive Rubric.” Scandinavian Evangelical E-Journal for New Testament Studies (Copenhagen Lutheran School of Theology) 1 (2010): 28-42.

“Tolstoy’s Influence in Fugard’s ‘MASTER HAROLD’ . . . and the boys: Sam’s Pacifist Christian Perseverance and ‘a Case of Illness.’” Renascence 62.4 (summer 2010): 311-26.

“Introduction.” Co-authored with Peter Medine in Visionary Milton: Essays on Prophecy and Violence. Peter E. Medine, John T. Shawcross, and David V. Urban, eds. Duquesne UP, 2010. Xi-xxv.

“Balancing the Antithesis: An Enduring Pedagogical Value of Worldview.” After Worldview. James M. Bonzo and Michael Stevens, Editors. (Dordt Press, 2009). 119-27. Followed by a response by Roy Anker, 129-30.

“The Lady of Christ’s College, Himself a ‘Virgin Wise and Pure’: Parabolic Self-Reference in John Milton’s Sonnet 9.” Milton Studies 47 (2008): 1-23.

“‘Intimate Impulses,’ ‘Rousing Motions,’ and the Written Law: Internal and External Scripture in Samson Agonistes.” Uncircumscribed Mind: Reading Milton Deeply.  Kristin Pruitt and Charles Durham, Editors (Susquehanna UP/Associated Univ. Presses, 2008).  292-306

“Talents and Laborers: Parabolic Tension in Milton’s Sonnet 19.” Milton in France. Christophe Tournu, Editor (Peter Lang, 2008). 61-71

On Christian Doctrine: Teaching the Conflict and What’s at Stake.” The MLA Guide to Teaching Milton’s Shorter Poetry and Prose. Peter C. Herman, Editor (Modern Languages Association, 2007). 235-41.

Entries on “Hero Story,” “Imagery,” and “Irony” for The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Kevin Vanhoozer, General Editor (Baker Academic/SPCK, 2005). 287-90; 319-21; 334-36.

 “The Evasion of the Finite in Hawthorne’s ‘The Artist of the Beautiful.’” Christianity and Literature 54.3 (Spring 2005): 343-58.

“‘Out of His Treasury Things New and Old’: Milton’s Parabolic Householder in The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce and De Doctrina Christiana.” Milton’s Legacy. Kristin Pruitt and Charles Durham, Editors (Susquehanna UP/Associated Univ. Presses, 2005).  208-19.

“The Talented Mr. Milton: A Parabolic Laborer and His Identity.” Milton Studies 43 (2004): 1-18.

“‘Rousing Motions’ and the Silence of God: Scripture and Immediate Revelation in Samson Agonistes and Clarel.” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 4.1 & 2. Special Double Issue on Melville and Milton. (March-October 2002): 91-111. Reprinted in Melville and Milton: An Edition and Analysis of Melville’s Annotations on Milton. Robin Grey, Editor (Duquesne UP, 2004). 87-107.


"Was C. S. Lewis a Libertarian?"  Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org).  October 22, 2017 (1,500 words). Online. https://fee.org/articles/was-cs-lewis-a-libertarian/

You Can't Justify Violence Because You Don't Like What Someone Says." Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org). August 29, 2017 (700 words). Online.

"Would You Choose King Henry V and War, or Falstaff and Peace?" Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org). July 18, 2017 (1,200 words). Online.

“Stories Begetting Stories” (review essay on Peter Orner's Am I Alone Here?).  Books and Culture (November/December 2016): 37 (1,300 words).

"Compassion for Difficult Fathers: Reflections from a Boyhood Friend on Peter Orner's Fiction." Books and Culture Online (October 2016). 2,100 words.

Seven pieces in response to the topic "The Corrupting Influence of Power in Shakespeare's Plays" (John E. Alvis, lead essay). Liberty Matters: A Forum for the Discussion of Matters Pertaining to Liberty (July 2016 ). Online.

  • "Power and Corruption in Shakespeare's Plays." (2,200 words)
  • "Reason and Grace" (700 words)
  • "Matters of Conscience" (700 words)
  • "Renouncing Power" (850 words)
  • "The Tempest's Antonio, Conscience, and Adam Smith" (675 words)
  • "The Corrupting Effects of Gonzalo's Hypothetical 'Man of System'" (800 words)
  • "Henry V: Corrupt beyond the Machiavellian Norm?" (1,350 words)

“John Milton on Liberty, License, and Virtuous Self-Government.” Religion and Liberty 24.1 (Winter 2014): 4-6. Also available online.

Professional associations

Milton Society of America

Conference on Christianity and Literature

Intercollegiate Studies Institute


  • Calvin Research Fellowship, spring semester 2012 (two course release)
  • Sabbatical, Calvin College (2009-10; four course release total)
  • Summer Calvin Research Fellowship, Calvin College (summer 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • Diekema Fellow, Calvin College (fall semester, 2004 [one course release]; fall semester, 2006, [one course release]; spring semester, 2007 [one course release]; fall semester, 2009 [one course release]; spring semester [one course release])
  • Dissertation Research Award, University of Illinois at Chicago (fall semester, 2000)

Community Service Award 

  • Seven Who Care Award, Oklahoma Baptist University, 2003



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