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David Albertson

Associate Professor of Religion

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-7050
Office: ACB 227

American Cusanus Society
More on Mathematical Theologies


B.A. Religion, Stanford University
M.Div. Theology, University of Chicago
Ph.D. Religion, University of Chicago

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Tenure Track Appointments

Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 2015-  
Assistant Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 2007-2015  

Non-Tenure Track Appointments

Resident Faculty Fellow, Parkside Arts and Humanities Residential College, 2012-  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

I study the history of Christian thought in medieval and early modern Europe. I’m interested in transformations of Christian intellectual culture from 1100-1700, particularly the way that theological discourses have been conditioned by other modes of knowledge, including philosophy, natural science, visual culture, and contemplative practices. Because "mysticism" often designates areas of dissent and innovation, my research has focused especially on mystical literature in this period. My first book, Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres (Oxford University Press, 2014), examined the fifteenth-century German polymath, Nicholas of Cusa, whose writings combined mystical theology with medieval number theory. The book traces his connections to ancient Pythagoreans and medieval scholastics. I am currently writing a sequel, under contract with Oxford University Press, which explores religious uses of geometrical diagrams during debates over iconoclasm in the Renaissance and Reformation. In collaboration with K. Meredith Ziebart, I am also translating a collection of controversial mystical letters from medieval Germany, which will appear in the series "Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations" from Peeters Press. With Cabell H. King, I co-edited a volume on biotechnology and ecological crisis in contemporary religious ethics, Without Nature? A New Condition for Theology (Fordham University Press, 2009). Other interests include visual theory, Platonism, political theologies, continental philosophy of religion, postsecularism, and global Christianities.

Research Specialties

Medieval and early modern Christianity; Christian mysticism; medieval and early modern philosophy; religion and visual culture; philosophy of religion

Affiliations with Research Centers, Labs, and Other Institutions

USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture
USC Early Modern Studies Institute
USC Visual Studies Research Institute



Albertson, D. (2014). Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres. Oxford Studies in Historical Theology. New York: Oxford University Press. Winner of 2014 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award [Link to book]
Albertson, D., King, C. (2009). Without Nature: A New Condition for Theology. New York: Fordham University Press. [Link to book]

Book Chapter

Albertson, D. (2014). "De docta ignorantia I-III/Über die belehrte Unwissenheit I–III" and "De genesi/Über den Ursprung," in Nikolaus von Kues: Leben und Werk. pp. 142-152, 170-174. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. [Link to book]
Albertson, D. (2012). "In Search of Unity: Reform and Mathematical Form in the Conciliarist Arguments of Heymeric de Campo’s Disputatio de potestate ecclesiastica (1433)," in Reassessing Reform: An Historical Investigation. pp. 149-169. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press. [Link to book]
Albertson, D. (2009). "Without Nature?" in Without Nature: A New Condition for Theology. pp. 1-14. New York: Fordham University Press. [Link to book]
Albertson, D. (2008). "Mapping the Space of God: Mystical Weltbilder in Nicholas of Cusa and the Structure of De ludo globi (1463)," in Weltbilder im Mittelalter: Perceptions of the World in the Middle Ages. pp. 61-81. Bonn: Bernstein Verlag. [Link to book]

Journal Article

Albertson, D. (2012). "Achard of St. Victor (d. 1171) and the Eclipse of the Arithmetic Model of the Trinity". Traditio. Vol. 67, pp. 101-144. [Link to article]
Albertson, D. (2012). "A Late Medieval Reaction to Thierry of Chartres's (d. 1157) Philosophy: The Anti-Platonist Argument of the Anonymous Fundamentum Naturae". Vivarium. Vol. 50 (1), pp. 53-84. [Link to article]
Albertson, D. (2010). "Mystical Philosophy in the Fifteenth Century: New Directions in Research on Nicholas of Cusa". Religion Compass. Vol. 4 (8), pp. 471-485. [Link to article]
Albertson, D. (2010). "A Learned Thief? Nicholas of Cusa and the Anonymous Fundamentum Naturae: Reassessing the Vorlage Theory". Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales. Vol. 77 (2), pp. 351-390. [Link to article]
Albertson, D. (2006). "'That He Might Fill All Things': Creation and Christology in Two Treatises by Nicholas of Cusa". International Journal of Systematic Theology. Vol. 8 (2), pp. 184-205. [Link to article]
Albertson, D. (2005). "On ‘the Gift’ in Tanner’s Theology: A Patristic Parable". Modern Theology. Vol. 21 (1), pp. 107-118. [Link to article]


Albertson, D. (2015). "The Beauty of the Trinity: Achard of St. Victor as a Forgotten Precursor of Nicholas of Cusa," in Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der Cusanus-Gesellschaft, Bd. 34. pp. (In press). Trier. Paulinus Verlag.
Albertson, D. (2012). "Gott als Mathematiker. Das Schöpfungsverständnis des Nicolaus Cusanus," in Der Gottes-Gedanke des Nikolaus von Kues. Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der Cusanus-Gesellschaft, Bd. 33. pp. 99-122. Trier. Paulinus Verlag.

Honors and Awards

American Council of Learned Societies, Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, 2015-2016   
Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise, Forschungszentrum Internationale und Interdisziplinäre Theologie, Universität Heidelberg, Spring 2014   
Dibner Research Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology, The Huntington Library, 2012-2013   
USC Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Grant Writing Mentorship Award, Spring 2012   
National Endowment for the Humanities, Enduring Questions Grant, 2010-2011   
USC Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Research Grant, 2008-2009   
USC General Education Teaching Award, Spring 2009   
Fulbright Dissertation Fellowship, Thomas-Institut für Mittelalterliche Philosophie, Universität zu Köln, 2006-2007   

Service to the Profession

Professional Memberships

Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, 2015-  
President, American Cusanus Society, 2014-  
Council Representative, Renaissance Society of America, 2011-  
American Academy of Religion, 2007-  
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