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 Laude.

M.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, Ibsen, Austen, Addison, Donne, Hawthorne, Melville, Fugard, Tolstoy, Hopkins, Bible, ancient Greek and Roman rhetoric, pedagogy, and contemporary novelist Peter Orner for journals such as Milton Studies, Milton QuarterlyStyleStudies in Philology, Sixteenth-Century Journal, Christianity and Literature, Religion and Literature, Renascence, Notes & Queries, Modern Philology, the Ben Jonson Journal, TheReview of English Studies, The Year’s Work in English Studies, Calvin Theological Journal, Books & Culture, Religions, Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, Early Modern Literary Studies, Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture, Essays in Criticism, Journal of Markets and Morality, Liberty Matters, Religion and Liberty, Christian Libertarian Review,Cithara, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, Australian Slavonic and East European Studies, and in several book chapters as well as multiple entries in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, The Milton Encyclopedia, and the Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible. He formerly served as a reporter and editor for The Rapidian. He is an associate editor for The Year’s Work in English Studies (OUP).  

He has authored Milton and the Parables of Jesus: The Self and the Bible in John Milton’s Writings (Penn State UP, December 2018), and he has edited Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings (MDPI, 2020). He also co-edited Visionary Milton: Essays on Prophecy and Violence (Duquesne UP, 2010) and co-compiled and co-edited John Milton: An Annotated Bibliography, 1989-1999 (Duquesne UP, 2011).   He is currently working on two related book projects that explore 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) 
  • C. S. Lewis
  • American literature through the Civil War 
  • Modern Drama 
  • Bible as literature 


Current book project  

  1. C.S. Lewis, Miltonist: The Influence of Milton’s Paradise Lost on Lewis’s Creative and Apologetic Imagination.
  2. Milton’s Satan and Other Controversies: The Enduring Critical Legacy of C. S. Lewis’s “A Preface to ‘Paradise Lost’”

Selected scholarly articles  

“Shakespeare and Literary Apologetics.” Forthcoming in Handbook for Literary Apologetics: The Imagination’s Journey to God, edited by Thomas L. Martin (De Gruyter).

“Pastoral Images of Death and Rebirth in Milton and Herbert: A Study of Paradise LostLycidas, ‘Easter Wings,’ ‘Vertue,’ ‘Life,’ and ‘The Flower.’” Forthcoming in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 10, edited by Hao Tian (Zhenjiang UP, 2024). 

“Transcending Justice, Transcending Human Control: Overarching Providence in Shakespeare’s Comedies and Romances.” Forthcoming in the Ben Jonson Journal 31.1 (May 2024) 

“Identifying Milton’s ‘Presence Divine’ as the Son of God: An Allusion to Revelation 1:17 in Paradise Lost VIII.314-17.”  Forthcoming in Notes & Queries. Currently available through Notes & Queries website, advance articles. 

“Milton’s Eve in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.” The Routledge Handbook of Eve, edited by Caroline Blyth and Emily Colgan (Routledge, 2024). 126-43.

“The Seventeenth Century, Part I: Milton.” Review essay on twelve recent books and more than fifty recent articles on Milton.  The Year’s Work in English Studies 102 (2023): 546-603.

“Reflections on Michael Lieb and His Writings: The Influence of a Mentor.” Milton Quarterly 57.3 (October 2023): 113-16.

“The Increasing Distance between De Doctrina Christiana and Milton’s Poetry: An Answer to John K. Hale.” Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 32 (2023): 1-10.

“The Seventeenth Century, Part I: Milton.”  Review essay on eight recent books and more than fifty recent articles on Milton.  The Year’s Work in English Studies 101 (2022): 570-92.

“Metagenre in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained: Its Relevance to Milton’s Presentation of the Son’s Self-Sacrificial Epic Heroism.” Style 56.4 (2022): 392-412.  

“Queer Studies and C. S. Lewis: A Brief Addendum to Justin Keena’s ‘The Reception of C. S.  Lewis’s A Preface to Paradise Lost in Milton Scholarship, 1990-2015.’” Milton Quarterly 55.3-4 (October-December 2021): 169-70.

“Ironic Allusions to Hebrews 13:4 and Romans 11:16 in William Congreve’s The Way of the World, Act III, Scene xviii.”  Notes & Queries 68.4 (December 2021): 419-21.

“C. S. Lewis’s Complex Relationship with Queer Milton Studies: Indirect Inspiration, Hegemonic Antagonist, and Erased Inconvenient Forerunner.” Connotations: A Journal of Critical Debate 30 (2021): 99-112.

C. S. Lewis and His Later Respondents: Letting in Fresh Air, Preventing Questions, and Reimagining A Preface to ‘Paradise Lost. Connotations: A Journal of Critical Debate 30 (2021): 67-98.  

“A Son’s Progress, a Father’s Confusion: Reflections on Our Asperger’s Educational Journey and Literature.” Ought: The Journal of Autistic Culture 3.1 (Fall 2021): 10-19 (article 4; available online). 

“An Allusion to Genesis 3:1 in Milton’s Paradise Lost 9:307.” Notes & Queries 68.2 (June 2021): 204. 

“The Seventeenth Century, Part I: Milton.”  Review essay on twenty recent books and more than fifty recent articles on Milton.  The Year’s Work in English Studies 100 (2021): 535-80.  

“Slender Self-Knowledge and Growth through Correction: Tragic Consequences and Redemptive Hope in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.” Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 73.2 (2021): 127-43.  

“Teaching The Tempest and Paradise Lost in the Era of COVID-19: Reflections on Displacement, Isolation, Connections, and Empathy.”Sixteenth-Century Journal: The Journal of Early Modern Studies 51.S1 (2020): 204-08.  

“Revisiting the History of the De Doctrina Christiana Authorship Debate and Its Ramifications for Milton Scholarship: A Response to Falcone and Kerr.”Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 29 (2020): 156-88.  

“Fully Human, Created in God’s Image: Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”Christianity and Literature 69.3 (September 2020): 378-98.  

“Nora’s Ironic Longing for Christlike Love: Self-Sacrifice, Self-Love, and the ‘Religion of Torvald’ in Ibsen’s A Doll House.”Religions 11.7.318 (July 2020): 1-10. In special issue  “Religion and Theatrical Drama,” edited by Larry Bouchard and Charles Gillespie.  

“C. S. Lewis and Satan: A Preface to ‘Paradise Lost’ and Its Respondents, 1942-1952.”Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 28 (2019): 193-234. Available online.  

“Introduction to ‘Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings.’”  Religions 10.12.655 (December 2019): 1-4. In special issue,  “Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings.” Available online.  

“Prospero, the Divine Shepherd, and Providence: Psalm 23 as a Rubric for Alonso’s Redemptive Progress, and the Providential Workings of Prospero’s Spiritual Restoration in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.”Religions 10.8.448 (October 2019): 1-16. In special issue,  “Religions in Shakespeare’s Writings.” Available online.  

“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 John 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.  

“Milton’s Labourers.” Review essay on John Leonard, Faithful Labourers: A Reception History of “Paradise Lost,”  1667-1970. Vol. 1: Style and Genre; and vol. 2: Interpretative Issues (Oxford UP, 2013).  Essays in Criticism 65.1 (January 2015): 100-09.  

“Obscurity and Intention 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.  

“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.  

“Reading the New Milton Criticism: A Review Essay.” Review of Peter C. Herman and Elizabeth Sauer, eds., The New Milton Criticism (Cambridge UP, 2012) and Michael Bryson, The Atheist Milton (Ashgate, 2012). Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture 6 (2013). 63 paragraphs.  

“Milton’s Identification with the Unworthy Servant in Sonnet 19: A Response to Margaret Thickstun.”Connotations: A Journal for Critical 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 for Critical 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.  

 “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.  


“Thanksgiving for Victories: Still More Reflections on Our College Journey.” Autism Support of West Shore Newsletter 6.1 (January 2024): 1-3.  1,100 words.

“Obfuscating John Milton’s Paradise Lost.” Online Library of Liberty Reading Room (October 29, 2023).  1,370 words.

“The Continuing Story of the Banning and Censoring of the Bible.”  Online Library of Liberty Reading Room (October 5, 2023).  1,100 words.

“‘This Thing of Darkness I Acknowledge Mine’: Prospero and Caliban in The Tempest.” Online Library of Liberty Reading Room (June 13, 2023).  1,400 words.

 “Misguided Perception and Self-Righteous Judgment in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About   Nothing.”  Online Library of Liberty Reading Room (June 6, 2023).  1,440 words.  

 “Perverse Machinations, Providential Results: Autolykus in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.”  Online Library of Liberty Reading Room (May 30, 2023). 1,370 words.

“The Duke’s Deceit in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.” Online Library of Liberty   Reading Room (May 23, 2023). 1,300 words.

“Communication Is the Key: More Reflections on Our College Journey.” Autism Support of    West Shore Newsletter 4.1 (January 2022): 1-2 (940 words). 

"Reflections on Our College Experience." Autism Support of West Shore Newsletter 2.13 (December 2020): 9-10 (1,200 words) 

“Growing Personally and Professionally from My Son’s Asperger’s Syndrome.”  Autism Support of West Shore Newsletter 2.1 (January 2020): 1-2 (600 words). 

"Was C. S. Lewis a Libertarian?"Foundation for Economic Education (FEE.org).  October 22, 2017 (1,500 words). Online.  

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
    • Intercollegiate Studies Institute
    • Foundation for Economic Education


    • Sabbatical, Calvin University (2023-24; 12 hours release total)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, spring semester 2022 (one course release)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, fall semester 2020 (one course release)
    • Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship (2019; small grant for book distribution)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, fall semester 2019 (one course release)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, spring semester 2018 (one course release)
    • Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship (2017; small grant for book indexing)
    • Sabbatical, Calvin College (2016-17; four course release total)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, spring semester 2015 (one course release)
    • Calvin Research Fellowship, spring semester 2013 (two course release)
    • Calvin Dean's Interim Leave, interim 2013 (one course release)
    • 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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