Kirsten Macfarlane

Kirsten Macfarlane

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Areas of Study and Research

History of Christianity

Faculty Associate Professor; also in the College

A scholar of early modern Europe and North America, Prof. Macfarlane works at the intersection of religious, cultural, and intellectual history. She has a particular interest in the history of biblical scholarship, encompassing its production by Latin-speaking scholarly elites, its interactions with vernacular religious culture, and its relationship with theological controversy and confessional identity.

This interest unites much of her research, including her first book on the Elizabethan Hebraist Hugh Broughton (Biblical Scholarship in an Age of Controversy: The Polemical World of Hugh Broughton (1549-1612), published with Oxford University Press in 2021); her co-edited volume with Joanna Weinberg and Piet van Boxel on the early modern reception of the Mishnah (The Mishnaic Moment: Jewish Law among Jews and Christians in Early Modern Europe, published in 2022 in the Oxford-Warburg Series); and her second monograph on the relationship between erudition and piety in an exceptional community of early immigrants to Massachusetts (forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2025).

She is currently working on her third monograph, on the study of Hebrew in North America circa 1660-1800.

Macfarlane most recently served as an Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, where she also received her BA, MSt, and DPhil. Her research has been supported by fellowships from Trinity College, Cambridge; the Houghton Library; the Massachusetts Historical Society; the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies; the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study; and KU Leuven.

Prof. Macfarlane will offer a number of new courses in the 2024-2025 academic year, including “Themes in the European Reformation(s)”, “The Reformation in Britain, 1450-1660”, and “Christianity and Judaism in Early Modern Europe.”