William Weaver, Ph.D.
Great Texts, Director Professor of Literature
- Ph.D., Columbia University
- M.A., Columbia University
- B.A., Vanderbilt University
- Renaissance Humanism, Early Modern English Poetry, Classical Tradition, History of Rhetoric
The Great Texts have stories to tell. Among other things they do, they tell stories about us. Why are we reading these texts? How do we read them? How do we talk about them? Similar questions, often designated “reception” or “reception history,” can be asked of reading in historical periods. My scholarship concerns the reception of the Great Texts in sixteenth-century Europe, where they were called litterae humaniores, “humane writings,” and imitation was one of the key objects of reading. Much of my work seeks a better understanding of the transformation of the liberal arts, especially rhetoric, by Philip Melanchthon and other Renaissance humanists and evangelicals in this era. In Fall 2022, I taught a new course entitled “Principles of the Liberal Arts.” This is the first in a sequence of courses for the Liberal Arts Concentration in the Great Texts major.
- Homer in Wittenberg: Rhetoric, Scholarship, Prayer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022.
- Melanchthon, Philipp. Collected Writings on Rhetoric. Opera omnia. Opera philosophica 2.2. Ed. William P. Weaver, Stefan Strohm, and Volkhard Wels. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.
- Untutored Lines: The Making of the English Epyllion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012)
Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- “Melanchthon, Luther, and Indexing the Classics.” In Athens and Wittenberg: Poetry, Philosophy, and Luther’s Legacy, pp. 193-209. Ed. James A. Kellerman, R. Alden Smith, and Carl P. E. Springer. Leiden: Brill, 2022.
- “Melanchthon’s Rhetorics and the Order of Learning: A Case Study in Library Database Research.” Reformation 22 (2017): 120–146.
- “Rhetorik.” Translated by Tobias Jammerthal. In Philipp Melanchthon: Der Reformator zwischen Glauben und Wissen, 535–546. Ed. Günter Frank. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017.
- “A Classical Education.” In The Routledge Companion to Shakespeare and Classical Literature, 14–27. Ed. Sean Keilen and Nick Moschovakis. London and New York: Routledge, 2017.
- ’A More Excellent Way: Philip Melanchthon’s Corinthians Lectures of 1521-1522.’ Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 37 (2014): 31-63.
- ’The Banquet of the Common Sense: George Chapman’s Anti-Epyllion.' Studies in Philology 111 (2014): 757-785.
- ’The Verse Divisions of the New Testament and the Literary Culture of the Reformation.’ Reformation 16 (2011): 161-177.
- ’Triplex est Copia: Philip Melanchthon’s Invention of the Rhetorical Figures.’ Rhetorica 29 (2011): 367-402.
Work in Progress
- I am currently at work on a book chapter on swearing oaths in the classics and reformations. This contributes to a project with the working title “Angry Words: A Rhetoric of Anger,” a collection of essays on the speech acts that provoke or express anger. I’m also writing essays on literary representations of anger, drawing from multiple periods, languages, and genres.