Professor of Theology and History of Christianity in the Divinity School
M.A. (University of Amsterdam)
Ph.D. (University of Amsterdam)
Willemien Otten studies the history of the Christian religion and Christian thought with a focus on the western medieval and the early Christian intellectual tradition, including the continuity of Platonic themes. After her early work on Johannes Scottus Eriugena, her book From Paradise to Paradigm: A Study of Twelfth- Century Humanism (Leiden 2004) offered an interpretation of Abelard and 'Chartrian' authors like Bernard Silvestris and Alan of Lille. Underlying Otten's work is an attempt to analyze the open cultural outlook of (early) medieval thought and theology as weaving ancient and patristic influence into a tradition of encyclopedic humanism. Seeing the treatment of theological questions embedded in broader historical and interdisciplinary study, Otten is currently involved in a book project on ideas of nature, linking, among others, Eriugena and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In a project headed by Karla Pollmann (Editor, St. Andrews), Otten acted as General Editor for the Reception of Augustine project (430 – 2000). This project is completed and scheduled to appear in 2013 with Oxford University Press. Since 2009 Otten has served as one of six government-appointed members on the Dutch National Task Force for Sustainable Humanities, aimed at strengthening the financial position of the humanities in the various Dutch universities.