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 Urban has written articles and reviews on subjects including Milton, Donne, Hawthorne, Melville, Fugard and Tolstoy, C. S. Lewis, Bible, and pedagogy for journals such as Milton Studies, Milton Quarterly, Studies in Philology, Journal of Markets and Morality, Review of English StudiesChristianity and LiteratureReligion and LiteratureCitharaLeviathan: A Journal of Melville StudiesRenascence,Notes & Queries, Calvin Theological JournalEarly Modern Literary Studies,Appositions: Studies in Renaissance/ Early Modern Literature and Culture and in several book chapters.  He has co-edited Visionary Milton: Essays on Prophecy and Violence, he completed and edited an annotated bibliography on Milton scholarship, and his book manuscript, The Parabolic Milton: The Self and the Bible in John Milton’s Writings, which focuses Milton’s use of and identification with several figures in Matthew’s parables, is currently under review.  He is working on a book project entitled C. S. Lewis, Miltonist, which explores both the incluence of John Milton upon C. S. Lewis's writing and Lewis's enduring influence upon Milton scholarship.  

Professor Urban's hobbies include running; spending time with his wife, Adrienne, and their sons Daniel and Gabriel; listening to Bob Dylan and jazz; watching Woody Allen and Orson Wells films; attending Grand Rapids Griffins games.

Academic interests

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

Courses taught


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Books and book projects

The Parabolic Milton: The Self and the Bible in John Milton’s Writings.  

Through the Real: Embracing or Evading the Finite in Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Modern Drama.  In progress.

Scholarly articles in print

“Intentionality and Obscurity in Mark 4:11-12.”  Forthcoming in Calvin Theological Journal.

“Gaev’s Asperger’s Syndrome in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard: A Diagnosis and a Call for Character Reassessment.”  Forthcoming in Australian Eastern European and Slavic Studies 27 (2013).

“Milton’s Identification with the Unworthy Servant in Sonnet 19: A Response to Margaret Thickstun.”  Forthcoming in Connotations: A Journal of Scholarly Debate 22 (2013)

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

“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. http://www.connotations.uni-tuebingen.de/urban02123.htm

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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