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Department of History
University of Mississippi

Lester L. Field, Jr.

Professor of History

Office Hours: MWF afternoon by appointment (Zoom)

Bishop Hall 330
(662) 915-5667  |


Teaching and Research Interests
Middle Ages and Late Antiquity, Cultural and Intellectual History

Receiving his B.A. from Gonzaga in 1977, Field did his graduate work at UCLA, where he received his M.A. in 1979 and Ph.D. in 1985. As Postdoctoral Scholar at UCLA, he served as Lecturer from 1985 to 1987. From 1987 to 1989, he held a Henry R. Luce Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Yale and, after a Lectureship at Yale, accepted an Assistant Professorship at the University of Mississippi, where he is now Professor of History and Medieval Studies.

His publications include Gerhart Ladner and The Idea of Reform: A Modern Historian’s Quest for Ancient and Medieval Truth (Lewiston, NY, Lampeter, Wales: Edwin Mellen Press, 2015); On the Communion of Damasus and Meletius: Fourth-Century Synodal Formulae in the Codex Veronensis LX, with Critical Edition and Translation Studies and Texts 145 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2004); My Response to T.D. Barnes: Positivistic Straw Arguments Do Not Review Books (University, Miss.: J.D. Williams Library, 2002); and Liberty, Dominion, and the Two Swords: On the Origins of Western Political Theology (180-398) Publications in Medieval Studies 28, ed. John Van Engen (Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998).

Field is now working on two book-length projects. One traces the notion of “political theology” from its origins in 1922 to its present status as a historiographical commonplace. The other project continues to explore the Christian idea of libertas (freedom), that is, beyond 398, the chronological limit of his first book. This project therefore deals principally with the theology of St Augustine, who died in 430.

Prolegomena have already appeared. They include “Acclamation and Liturgy in the Work of Erik Peterson and Ernst H. Kantorowicz,” “Monotheismus, ein ganz leeres Wort?” Versuche zur Monotheismustheorie Erik Petersons, ed. Giancarlo Caronello (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018) 275-330.; “Erik Peterson und Gerhart B. Ladner: ‘Politische Theologie’ und ‘Reform,’” Erik Peterson: Die theologische Präsenz eines Outsiders, ed. Giancarlo Caronello (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2012) 581-596; and “Christendom Before Europe? A Historiographical Analysis of ‘Political Theology’ in Late Antiquity,” Plenitude of Power: The Doctrines and Exercise of Authority in the Middle Ages: Essays in Memory of Robert Louis Benson, ed. Robert C. Figueira, Church, Faith and Culture in the Medieval West (Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate Publishing, 2006). See also Erik Peterson, Chiesa antica, giudaismo e gnosi: Studi ed investigazioni, ed. Lester L. Field, Jr. and trans. Daniele Tripaldi (Brescia: Editrice Paideia, 2019) [translation and second edition of Erik Peterson, Frühkirche, Judentum und Gnosis: Studien und Untersuchungen (Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1959 repr. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1982).

Lester Field CV