Dr Matthew Rowley

Honorary Visiting Fellow

School/Department: History, Politics and International Relations, School of



I received a PhD in early modern political and religious history from the University of Leicester. My thesis was entitled ‘Godly Violence: Military Providentialism in the Puritan Atlantic World 1636-1676’. This study traced Puritan interpretations of providence in military victory over enemies in England Ireland Scotland and colonial America. I focused on how beliefs were created sustained contested and occasionally dismantled. Though the focus was on theology and warfare the work also touched on issues of identity race slavery law and the communal remembrance of the past. I have been tutored in the history department at Leicester from 2014 to 2019. I have worked as a research associate on the AHRC ‘Remembering the Reformation’ project (University of Cambridge) and the ‘Wilberforce Diaries’ project (University of Leicester). I am currently editing a two-volume Global Sourcebook in Protestant Political Thought 1517-1914 (Routledge).


My primary focus is on the relationship between politics and piety in Protestant history with a special focus on the relationship between Christianity and warfare. Research interests span several disciplines namely history peace and conflict studies and the reception history of theology and Scripture. In addition to politics religion and war my research also explores issues of authority law toleration identity race slavery and memory.



Godly Violence: Military Providentialism in the Puritan Atlantic World, 1636-1676 (PhD thesis; Leicester, 2018).

Trump and the Protestant Reaction to Make America Great Again (London: Routledge, 2021)

Miracles, Political Authority and Violence in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds (London: Routledge, 2021). Edited with Natasha Hodgson.

Special issue: Immigration and American Identity in the Wake of the Mayflower’, Review of Faith and International Affairs (2021). Editor

Special issue: Nationalism, Populism and the Struggle for Christian Heritage and Identity, International Journal of Religion (2021). Edited with Karina Wendling and Anton Jager.

Special issue: Religion, Hermeneutics and Violence, Transformation 34.2 (2017): 77-163. Edited with Emma Wild-Wood

A New Approach to Just and Holy Warfare: The Complicated Case of Puritan Violence, in Religion and Conflict in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds: Identities, Communities and Authorities (London: Routledge, 2020), 275-93.

On the Impossibility of Imitating Biblical Violence, in The Bible on Violence: A Thick Description (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2020), 42-61.

Reverse-Engineering the Covenant: Moses, Massachusetts Bay and the Construction of a City on a Hill, Journal of the Bible and its Reception special issue on the Hebrew Bible and the nation (forthcoming).

Toxic and Intoxicating: Puritan Theology and the Thirst for Power (Latimer Trust, 2019) 2019 St Antholin's Lectureship on Puritan theology.

All Pretend an Holy War: Radical Beliefs and the Rejection of Persecution in the Mind of Roger Williams, Review of Faith & International Affairs 15.2 (2017): 66-76.

What Causes Religious Violence? Three Hundred Claimed Contributing Causes, Journal of Religion and Violence 2 (2014): 361-402.


Press and media

I would be happy to talk about Puritan history Protestantism and politics or religion and warfare.


Universities: Cambridge Duke Edinburgh Queen’s University Belfast Nottingham Trent East Anglia. Research centres: Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center Centre for the Study of the Bible and Violence Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements Cambridge Institute on Religion and International Studies Ecclesiastical History Society.

Media coverage

Trump and the Protestant Reaction to Make America Great Again (London: Routledge 2020). Publicity: November 2020 book launch at the Centre for Geopolitics (Cambridge University). Featured in various podcasts: ‘God and Guns’ (Nov 2020); ‘Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute’ (Jan 2021); ‘New Books Network’ (Jan 2021). ‘How plague reshaped colonial New England before the Mayflower even arrived’ The Conversation (13 November 2020) ‘From Make America Great Again to Make America Better: how US history shapes Christianity and politics’ The Conversation (2 November 2020) ‘Stop Weaponizing the Bible for Trump: No Politician Is a Cyrus David or Caesar’ Washington Post 19 June 2019. Written with Dr Judd Birdsall ‘Was the Notre Dame fire God’s judgment? How to understand apocalyptic interpretations’ Washington Post 17 April 2019.
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