Stephen Hopkins

Assistant Professor

Class Schedule: TR 11:00-12:15, 3:30-4:45
As a medievalist, my work focuses on early English literature in its North Sea context. This means that I work primarily on Old English literature, but that I often compare it to its literary neighbors in Wales, Ireland, and Iceland. On the broadest level, I’m interested in religious texts, looking at how localized expressions of Christianity developed from what we find in Late Antiquity into the diverse and robust forms we find scattered across Northern Europe in the High Middle Ages. In my research and my classroom, I’m always asking what a text might mean in light of the intellectual and spiritual currents around it, as well as how different audiences might react to the same text. That’s why I’m also interested in manuscript studies, textual transmission, the interaction of oral/formulaic culture with scribal/literate culture, and global perspectives on literary texts.
My current book (under contract with Manchester University Press) is Translating Hell: Vernacular Theology and Apocrypha in the Medieval North Sea. In the Middle Ages, hell could be useful because it was vaguely defined. The canonical scriptures only mention the concept a handful of times, leaving much to the imaginations of early Christians, who used the space to work out who did and did not belong to the faith. This book tells the story of how hell was used across the Middle Ages to experiment with local issues in theology and identity in the North Sea region. Examining vernacular translations of two popular apocryphal hell texts (The Gospel of Nicodemus and The Vision of St. Paul), the book argues that they were often used as experimental spaces because of their liminal textual authority. Since apocrypha are noncanonical scriptures, the genre allowed medieval writers to revise their hells since they were not actually scripture, while also encouraging later readers to revere those experimental hells as valid since they seemed like scripture. 
Future projects that I’m at work on include a collected edition of all apocrypha attested in Old English, an edition and study of the Legends of the Holy Rood, and continued contributions to e-Clavis: A Dictionary of Apocrypha, and The Sources of Old English and Anglo-Latin Literary Culture project.
Ph.D. Indiana University, Bloomington, 2019
M.A. Indiana University, Bloomington, 2015
B.A. Miami University (OH), 2011
Select Publications:
“The Questions of John,” ed. and trans., in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, v. III, ed. Tony Burke (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans): 565-583.
“Adventures in the Past: Skyrim and Role-Playing Games in the Medievalist’s Classroom,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching 29 (2022): 75-94.
“Of Scopas and Scribes: Reshaping Oral-Formulaic Theory in Old English Literary Studies,” in Weathered Words: Formulaic Language and Verbal Art, ed. Frog and William Lamb (Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press, 2022): 49-79.
“A New Revelation: the Middle Welsh Erythraean Sibyl,” North American Journal of Celtic Studies 5 (2021): 30-48.
“The Legend of the Holy Rood,” ed. and trans., in New Testament Apocrypha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, v. II, ed. Tony Burke and Brent Landau (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2020): 145-159.
“An Old English Prose Fragment of Christ’s Letter to Abgar in the Lilly Library,” Notes and Queries 66 (2019):173-176.
“Snared by the Beasts of Battle: Fear as Hermeneutic Guide in the Old English Exodus,” Philological Quarterly 97.1 (2018): 1-25.
“Heaven and Hell in the Garden of Eden: the Transmissions of the Ystoria Adda in Wales,” Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 37 (2017): 105-123.
“The Manuscript of M.R. James’s ‘The Ash-Tree,’” (with Patrick J. Murphy and Frederick Porcheddu) Notes and Queries 61 (2014): 583-585.
Select Awards and Fellowships:
NEH Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2024
Mellon Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2018-19
American Scandinavian Foundation Grant for Summer manuscript research at U. of Copenhagen, 2017
Research Awards
Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2022-23
ER 1 SEED Funding Grant, UCF Office of Research, 2022
The Lorraine Kochanske Stock Endowment for Innovation in Medieval Studies, Southeastern Medieval Association, 2021
McRobbie Fellowship, MVP award from IU Medieval Studies Inst., 2019
William Riley Parker Prize for “Best Student in Brit. Lit.,” Indiana Univ. Dept. of English, 2018
College Arts and Humanities Institute Travel Grant, IU, 2018
Graduate and Professional Student Gov. Research Grant, 2016
First Year Fellowship, Dept. of English, IU, 2012-13
Teaching Awards
Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, UCF CAH, 2023 (1 of 4 in the entire College)
Knighted Faculty Cohort Program, UCF Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning, 2021-22
Telly Award (Silver for Online Education), for Vikings: Myths and Sagas course videos, 2020
UCF Office of Research, Faculty Mentor Program, 2020
First Year Teaching Award, Indiana Univ. Dept. of English, IU, 2013-14