JOURNAL   Christianity & Literature is devoted to the scholarly exploration of how literature engages Christian thought, experience, and practice. The journal presupposes no particular theological orientation but respects an orthodox understanding of Christianity as a historically defined faith. Contributions appropriate for submission should demonstrate a keen awareness of the author's own critical assumptions in addressing significant issues of literary history, interpretation, and theory.

For more than fifty years, Christianity & Literature has served as the primary public face of the Conference on Christianity and Literature; it is a member of CELJ, the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Published quarterly, each issue contains peer-reviewed scholarly articles, book reviews, poetry, and announcements.  


Mark Eaton
Azusa Pacific University

Associate Editors
Matthew J. Smith
Caleb D. Spencer
Azusa Pacific University

Book Review Editor
Philip Mitchell
Dallas Baptist University

Poetry Editor
Peter Cooley
Tulane University



Articles should be submitted electronically at

The editors assign book reviews by invitation. For inquiries see our detailed Submission Guidelines.

  • Poetry submissions are accepted in hard copy form only. Please send all poetry submissions to:

  • Peter Cooley, Poetry Editor
    Christianity & Literature
    Tulane University
    Department of English, Norman Mayer 122
    New Orleans, LA 70118

  • Please be sure to include all relevant contact information along with poem or poems. Because of the volume of poetry received, submissions will not be acknowledged or returned unless they are accompanied by an SASE with sufficient return postage.

For detailed instructions on essay and poetry submissions, see Submission Guidelines or consult our complete guidelines at SAGE:



Special Issue of Christianity & Literature

"The Secular and the Literary"

Guest Editor: Colin Jager (Rutgers University)

In the past decade we have seen a surge of interest in secularism (as a mode of governance) and “the secular” (as a background condition of modernity). The terms of debate have by now achieved something of a rough equilibrium: Is “secularization” an outdated concept, or does it still capture something true about the modern world? Is secularism a mode of governmentality or a normative ideal to be defended? What is secularism’s role in colonial and imperial ventures? Is its story best told as a matter of intellectual, social, or political history? Does the term “post-secular,” which has begun to appear with some frequency, describe anything more than an academic trend? Most of these questions originated in the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and political science), or in hybrid disciplines like religious studies and intellectual history, and it is there that they are being most actively debated. Though literary studies has productively adopted some of this work, the place of literature and the literary within the secular (and indeed, whether literature has anything but an ancillary role to play in this conversation) remains, with a few notable exceptions, ill-defined. For example, Edward Said’s defense of “secular criticism” as intrinsic to a certain kind of literary relation to the world remains one touchstone, and yet Said’s concerns and themes (critical distance, exile) are largely orthogonal to the current interest in secularism. Or consider Hans Joas’s 2008 reminder that dissatisfaction with the narrative of secularization does not lead in any obvious or straightforward way to an increase in religious practice, commitment, or sacred expression. This special issue seeks, then to push further the theorization and application of secularism and postsecularism, with a particular emphasis upon the ways that literary studies and literature have advanced, altered, or intercepted the social science and religious studies conversation. What, then, is the place of the literary within the history and formation of the secular? What histories of the field, discipline, or literary object might have purchase on the secular / religion binary? If that binary has outlived its usefulness, what might replace it? We also are interested in critical engagements with those modes of analysis that have become most prominent in so-called postsecular literary studies, from the turn to religion and the presumed demise of secularization theory to the political and ethical implications of naming something (a text, an era, a methodology) postsecular.

Full-length essays (8,000 words) and shorter (4,000 word) “think” pieces are both welcome. Deadline: January 15, 2017 Contact: Colin Jager, Professor of English, Rutgers University Submit at: (please indicate in the field on the 4th page of the submission process that asks “Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue?” that it is for the Secularism/Postsecularism issue). Direct Submission queries to


Special Issue of Christianity & Literature

This special issue of Christianity & Literature furthers the journal’s aim to investigate the complex relations between literature, drama, and Christian thought and history by bringing a critical eye to “sacramental” reading—to examine its limitations, unseen investments, and unexplored promises.

A dominant theme of recent years’ turn to religion in English studies has been the sacramental dimensions of texts and performances. Scholars have explored the interpretive deliverances of how texts enact and embody the cultural, epistemological, and metaphysical functions that Christian practice traditionally associates with sacramental devotion. Especially in their poetics and theatricality, texts and performances have been described as sacramental, incarnation, and eucharistic. Sometimes scholars connect these readings to an author’s awareness of theological controversy, such that an author or playwright is thought to engage in theological debate through writing and performance. Other approaches focus on a broader cultural demand or “gap” in popular access to the transcendent, and literary production is understood to meet such demands for transcendence, justice, semiotic complexity, embodiment, or metaphysical depth.

Yet these reading strategies—e.g., sacramental drama, sacramental poetics, incarnational texts—have been largely neglected from critical scrutiny and, at times, are only defined loosely or even analogically in connection with theological doctrines of penance, the trinity, and various historical versions of sacramental theology (transubstantiation, consubstantiation, memorialism, and so on). In fact, it has begun to be suggested that sacramental reading may in fact, almost ironically, contribute to a secularization thesis, where claims of literature’s sacramental surrogation imply some sort of loss or dysfunction in sacred access in mainstream devotional culture. What do sacramental readings imply about the state of devotion in a given society? How, if at all, are such terms as sacramental, eucharistic, and incarnational any more than metaphorical when applied to literary production or to audiences? And does this reading strategy sometimes impose a sacred-secular binary anachronistically upon historical societies? Alternatively, does the language of sacramentality demand further investment and offer unique insight into semiotic and performative force of drama and poetry?

We invite essay submissions that question and explore the sacramental, incarnational, or eucharistic aspects of texts or performances from any historical period. Submit essays (6,000-9,000 words) to Matthew Smith, Associate Editor, at by July 15, 2016.




Christianity & Literature Volume 65, Issue 3 (June 2016)

Special Issue: The Environmental Imagation


Mark Eaton, "The Environmental Imagination"

Joshua Mabie, "The Field is Ripe: Christian Literary Scholarship, Postcolonial Ecocriticism, and Environmentalism" 

Paul Willis, "'He Hath Builded the Mountains': John Muir's God of the Glaciers" 

William Tate, "Avian Diptych: Richard Wilbur's Flights of the Imagination"

Jeffrey R. Bilbro, "The Ecology of Memory: Augustine, Eliot, and the Form of Wendell Berry's Fiction"

Richard Rankin Russell, "Embodying Place: Ecotheology and Deep Incarnation in Cormac McCarthy's The Road"

Lawrence Buell, "Afterword"

Julia Spicher Kasdorf, "A Pastor and Part-Time Security Guard Wonders about the Work Ethic"



Christianity & Literature Volume 65, Issue 1 (December 2015)

Ethan Smilie, “Goddes Pryvetee and a Wyf: Curiositas and the Triadic Sins in the Miller's and Reeve's Tales” 

Daniel J. Hanna, “La guirlande térésienne: A Nineteenth-century ‘Teresian Bard’ Sings the Praises of Teresa of Avila” 

Jose I. Badenes, “Until Death Do Us Part: Matrimony, Casti Connubii, and the Catholic Church in Federico García Lorca's Yerma

Marisa Pierson, “Vocation and Time in Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede

Stephen Mirachi, “The Paradox of Powerlessness in Robert Pinsky's Early Jesus Poems”

Daniel Vruels, “Pilgrimage”

Ricardo Pau-Llosa, “Papyrus Fragments”


Christianity & Literature Volume 65, Issue 2 (March 2016) 

J. Russell Perkin, “Matthew Arnold, the Oxford Movement, and the stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse”

Suzanne Stewart, “Gerard Manley Hopkins: Sensuality and Spirituality in the Diaries and Journals”

Laurie Camp Hatch, “Gerard Manley Hopkins and Victorian Approaches to the Problems of Perception: Affirming the Metaphysical in the Physical”

Michael Edwards, “A Magic, Unquiet Body”

Jo-Anne Cappeluti, “W.H. Auden’s For The Time Being: Christian Proof? Aesthetic Possibility?”

Anthony Domestico, “‘Clampitt and the Cloisters”

Sofia M. Starnes, “Another Life”

Valerie Wohfield, “Vale of Siddim”

Review Essay
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, “Poetry, the Power of the Pen, & the Redemption of Time” 



Read excerpts from the book, Imago Dei, featuring poetry from 60 years of Christianity and Literature.