David G. Hunter

dghunt2's picture
  • Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies
  • Classics
  • Classics
  • History
  • Modern & Classical Languages Literatures & Cultures
1015 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, Theology (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity), 1986
M.A., University of Notre Dame, Theology, 1983
M.A., University of St. Michael's College, Toronto, Theology, 1980
B.A., M.A., The Catholic University of America, Latin, 1976


David G. Hunter is the first occupant of the Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Kentucky. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of History and the Classical Studies division of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Hunter’s academic interests lie in the early history of Christianity and the history of Christian thought. He has published several books and numerous articles on Greek and Latin writers of the early church, among them Augustine, Ambrose, Ambrosiaster, Jerome, Clement of Alexandria, and John Chrysostom. Hunter’s most recent monograph, Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity: The Jovinianist Controversy (Oxford University Press, 2007), examines early Christian debates about marriage and celibacy. Co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (2008), Hunter has served as President of the North American Patristics Society (2006-08) and is active on the advisory boards of Vigiliae Christianae, the Journal of Early Christian Studies, the Journal of Late Antiquity, Augustinian Studies, Augustiniana, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, and Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society.  He currently serves as the Editorial Director of the translation series,The Fathers of the Church, published by The Catholic University of America Press, and a General Editor of the forthcoming Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity.


My primary field of research is Patristics, which is the study of early Christian thought, history, and literature.  My current research focuses on divorce and remarriage in the early church, the origins and history of clerical celibacy, and the writings of Ambrosiaster and Augustine.

Office Hours
Selected Publications: 



Marriage and Sexuality in Early Christianity. Trans. and edited by David G. Hunter. Ad Fontes: Early Christian Sources. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2018).

Suffering and Evil in Early Christian Thought, co-edited with Nonna Verna Harrison (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016).

The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies, co-edited with Susan Ashbrook Harvey (Oxford University Press, 2008).

Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity: The Jovinianist Controversy (Oxford University Press, 2007).


Articles and Book Chapters:

“Clerical Marriage and the magnum sacramentum in the Early Middle Ages,” in Sacramentum magnum: The Sacrament of Marriage in the Middle Ages – Le sacrement du mariage au moyen âge – Das Ehesakrament im Mittelalter. Edited by Pavel Blažek. Münster: Aschendorff-Verlag, 2018. Pp. 55-68.

Augustine’s Doubts on Divorce: Reconsiderations on Remarriage,” Augustinian Studies 48 (2017): 161-182.

Rivalry between Presbyters and Deacons in the Roman Church: Three Notes on Ambrosiaster, Jerome, and The Boasting of the Roman Deacons,” Vigiliae Christianae 71 (2017): 495-510.

“Latin Literature II: Moral and Spiritual Writings, ” in Augustine in Context. Edited by Tarmo Toom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. Pp. 102-110.

“Family Matters: Augustine’s Letters as a Source for his Views on Marriage and Family Life,” Scrinium Augustini. The World of Augustine’s Letters. Edited by Przemysław Nehring, Rafał Toczko, and Mateusz Stróżyński. Turnhout: Brepols, 2017. Pp. 41-56.

“Augustine of Hippo,” chapter 4 in Christianity and Family Law: An Introduction. Edited by John Witte, Jr. and Gary S. Hauk. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2017. Pp. 69-84.

“Evil, Suffering, and Embodiment in Augustine,” in Suffering and Evil in Early Christian Thought, edited by Nonna Verna Harrison and David G. Hunter. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016. Pp. 143-160.

“Sacred Space, Virginal Consecration, and Symbolic Power: A Liturgical Innovation and its Implications in Late Ancient Christianity,” in Spaces in Late Antiquity: Cultural, Theological, and Archaeological Perspectives. Edited by Juliette Day, Raimo Hakola, Maijastina Kahlos, and Ulla Tervahauta. London: Routledge, 2016.  Pp. 89-105

“Married Clergy in Eastern and Western Christianity,” in A Companion to Priesthood and Holy Orders in the Middle Ages. Edited by Greg Peters and C. Colt Anderson. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. Pp. 96-139.

“Marriage and Priesthood: The Evidence of the Early Church,” INTAMS Review 21 (2015): 4-14.

“‘A Man of One Wife’: Patristic Interpretations of 1 Timothy 3:2, 3:12, and Titus 1:6 and the Making of Christian Priesthood,” Annali di storia dell’esegesi 32/2 (2015): 333-352.

“Ambrosiaster,” “Apostolic Fathers,” “Chalcedon, Council of,” “Constantinople, First Council of,” “Cyril of Alexandria,” “Jerome,” entries in The Routledge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions. Edited by Eric Orlin, Lisbeth Fried, Michael Satlow, and Jennifer Knust. New York: Routledge, 2015. Pp. 44, 77-78, 175-176, 202, 227, 473.

“‘Accompanied by a Believing Wife’: Raymond F. Collins on Ministry and Celibacy in Early Christianity,” Louvain Studies 38 (2014): 76-85

“Preface,” in The Uniquely African Controversy: Studies on Donatist Christianity. Edited by Matthew Alan Gaumer, Anthony Dupont, and Mathijs Lamberigts. Leuven: Peeters, 2014. Pp. vii-xi.

“Asceticism, Priesthood, and Exegesis: 1 Corinthians 7:5 in Jerome and his Contemporaries,” in Asceticism and Exegesis in Early Christianity.  Edited by Hans-Ulrich Weidemann.  Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 2013. Pp. 413-427.

“The Domestic Church and the Early Church,” in The Household of God and Local Households: Revisiting the Domestic Church.  Edited by Peter De Mey, Thomas Knieps-Port le Roi, and Gerard Mannion.  Leuven: Peeters Press, 2013. P. 197-209.

“Augustine and the Body,” in The Blackwell Companion to Augustine.  Edited by Mark Vessey. Oxford: Blackwell, 2012. Pp. 353-364.

De continentia,” in The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine.  Edited by Karla Pohlmann and Willimien Otten. Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. 116-118.

“Clerical Marriage and Episcopal Elections in the Latin West: From Siricius to Leo I,” in Episcopal Elections in Late Antiquity, 250-600.  Edited by Johann Leemans, Peter Van Nuffelen, Shawn W.J. Keough, and Carla Nicolaye.  Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2011.  Pp. 183-202

 “Ambrosiaster redactor sui: The Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles (Excluding Romans),” co-authored with Stephen Cooper, Revue des Études Augustiniennes 56 (2010): 69-91.

The Significance of Ambrosiaster,”Journal of Early Christian Studies 17 (2009): 1-26.

The Raven Replies: Ambrose, Letter to the Church at Vercelli (Ep.ex.coll. 14) and the Criticisms of Jerome,” in Jerome of Stridon: His Life, Writings and Legacy.  Edited by Andrew Cain and Josef Lössl. London: Ashgate, 2009. Pp. 175-189.

“Marital Spirituality in the Early Church,” in INTAMS Companion to Marital Spirituality.  Edited by Monica Sandor.  Brussels: International Academy for Marital Spirituality, 2009.  Pp. 121-133.

“The Reception and Interpretation of Paul in Late Antiquity: 1 Corinthians 7 and the Ascetic Debates,” in The Reception and Interpretation of the Bible in Late AntiquityEdited by L. di Tommaso and L. Turescu. Leiden and Boston: E.J. Brill of Leiden, 2008.  Pp. 163-191.

 “Sexuality, Marriage, and the Family,” ch. 24 in The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume II. Constantine to c. 600.  Edited by Augustine Casiday and Frederick W. Norris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Pp. 585-600.

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