Dr. Peter Iver Kaufman

Professor, George Matthews & Virginia Brinkley Modlin Chair in Leadership Studies


Peter Iver Kaufman studies the political cultures of late antiquity, medieval, and early modern Europe and North Africa. He has written 10 books, the latest of which, Arendt, Agamben, Christianity, and the Dark Arts of Civilization, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2019. He is the author of more than 60 articles on authority, religious conflict, and literary history, which have appeared in, among other journals, Leadership and the HumanitiesJournal of Late Antiquity, Harvard Theological Review, Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, and Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He has also edited six books, ranging from studies of charisma to others on leadership and Elizabethan culture.

Kaufman teaches introductory leadership studies courses, such as Leadership and the Humanities and Justice and Civil Society, as well as advanced courses on political, cultural, and religious leaders in late antiquity and early modern Europe.

He is professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he taught in the departments of history and religious studies and where, in 2003, he founded the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI-NC). SLI now has additional chapters in Harrisonburg, Winchester, and Richmond, Virginia. Kaufman is director of SLI-VA. 

Selected Publications


Arendt, Agamben, Christianity, and the Dark Arts of CivilizationBloomsbury, 2019

Augustine's Leaders, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017

Charisma, Medieval and Modern, Printed Edition of the Special Issue Published in Religions, 2014

Religion Around Shakespeare, Penn State University Press, 2013.

Leadership and Elizabethan Culture, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Incorrectly Political: Augustine and Thomas More, University of Notre Dame Press, 2007.

Thinking of the Laity in Late Tudor England, University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.

Prayer, Despair, Drama: Elizabethan Introspection, University of Illinois Press, 1996.

Church, Book, and Bishop: Conflict and Authority in Early Latin Christendom, HarperCollins Westview, 1996.

Redeeming Politics, Princeton University Press, 1990.

The Polytyque Church: Religion and Early Tudor Political Culture, 1485-1516, Mercer and Peeters (Leuven), 1986.


“Augustine’s Punishments,” Harvard Theological Review (2016), 550-566.

"Opinion: Education for professional leadership and the humanities: exhortations and demonstrations," Leadership and the Humanities 3 (2015): 145-157.

"Deposito Diademate: Augustine’s Emperors," Religions 6 (2015): 317-327.

"Humility and Civility: Papal Leadership at the Turn of the Seventh Century," Leadership 8 (2012): 245-256.

"Hamlet's Religions," Religions 2 (2011): 427-448.

"Christian Realism and Augustinian Liberalism," Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (2010): 699-724.

"Authenticity, Asceticism, and the Constant 'Inconstancie' of Elizabethan Character," Performance and Authenticity in the Arts (2010): 49-65.

"Augustine and Corruption,” History of Political Thought (2009): 46-59.

"Donatism Revisited; Moderates and Militants in Late Antique North Africa," Journal of Late Antiquity 1 (2009): 131-142.


“Stepping out of Constantine’s Shadow,” Christianity, Democracy, and the Shadow of Constantine (Fordham University Press, 2017), 202-218.

"Clerical Leadership in Late Antiquity," Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership: Discovering the Better Angels of Our Nature (2016), 35-49. 

"Augustine's Dystopia," Cambridge Companion to "The City of God," 2014, 55-73.

“The Protestant Opposition or Elizabethan Religious Reform,” Blackwell Companion to Tudor Britain (2009).

“Authenticity, Asceticism, and the Constant ‘Inconstancie’ of Elizabethan Character,” Performance and Authenticity in the Arts: Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and the Arts (2010).


Ph.D., University of Chicago 1975

M.A., University of Chicago 1973

M.Div., Chicago Theological Seminary 1971

B.A., Trinity College 1968

Contact Information

242 Jepson Hall
(804) 289-8003
(804) 287-6062 (Fax)

Areas of Expertise

Social Justice and Immigration Policy
Religious Leadership
Popular Religion
Political Culture (Late Antiquity through Early Modern Period)