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Dr Vittorio Montemaggi

Vittorio Montemaggi-416-croppedLecturer in Religion and the Arts

Address: Department of Theology & Religious Studies
King's College London
Room 3.24, Virginia Woolf Building,
22 Kingsway

London, WC2B 6LE




I grew up in Italy, and to this day have its art and culture as primary point of reference and inspiration, especially as enshrined in Siena and its contrade (districts). In 1997 I moved to the UK and, as a student at Robinson College, earned degrees in European Literature and in Theology and Religious Studies from the University of Cambridge. Following my doctorate, I held a Junior Research Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge, and taught Italian literature at the University of Leicester and Theology at the University of Cambridge. I then moved to the US, where I taught Religion and Literature at the University of Notre Dame from 2009 to 2017. In 2017 I joined King’s, where my work focuses on the relationship between religion and the arts, and on the significance of this field of enquiry for human society and culture.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Literature, the visual arts and music as explorations of divinity
  • The relationship between language, truth and love
  • The relationship between scholarship and spiritual life
  • The arts and/as inter-religious encounter
  • The works of Dante Alighieri and of Primo Levi, and their contemporary theological implications

My research interests are defined by an overarching concern with the significance of the arts for humanity’s exploration of divinity. I am particularly interested in reflecting on how specific works provide concrete possibilities for deepening our understanding of how human beings can explore, engage with, relate to and/or express divinity. While my primary focus is on the works of Dante Alighieri and of Primo Levi, I also explore works by authors as different as Gregory the Great, Duccio di Buoninsegna, Catherine of Siena, Shakespeare, Mozart and Roberto Benigni.

Selected publications
  • Reading Dante’s Commedia as Theology: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).
  • “Theology, Literature and Prayer: A Pedagogical Suggestion”, in Theology and Literature After Postmodernity, edited by Peter Hampson, Zoë Lehman Imfeld, Alison Milbank (London: T&T Clark, 2015)
  •  “Charity, Contemplation and Creation ex nihilo in Dante's Commedia”, Modern Theology 29:2 (2013), special issue on Creation ‘Ex Nihilo’ and Modern Theology, edited by Janet Soskice: 62-82.
  • “Primo Levi and the Tragedy of Dante’s Ulysses”, in Christian Theology and Tragedy: Theologians, Tragic Literature and Tragic Theory, edited by Kevin Taylor and Giles Waller (London: Ashgate, 2011)
  • Dante’s ‘Commedia’: Theology as Poetry. Co-edited with Matthew Treherne (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).

At both the undergraduate and the postgraduate level, my teaching focuses in a fully interdisciplinary way on the relationship between religion, theology, and various forms of artistic expression.

I welcome enquires from prospective students wishing to work on any of the authors or issues listed above.

Expertise and public engagement

I will be advising and supporting the Centre for Arts and the Sacred at King’s (ASK) and the Visual Commentary on Scripture project.

I look forward, moreover, to developing further public engagement and impact activities in my new London context.

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