David Albertson

Associate Professor of Religion
David Albertson
Email dalberts@usc.edu Office ACB 227 Office Phone (213) 740-7050

Research & Practice Areas

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


  • B.A. Religion, Stanford University
  • M.Div. Theology, University of Chicago
  • Ph.D. Religion, University of Chicago
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 2015 –
    • Assistant Professor of Religion, University of Southern California, 2007 – 2015
  • 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, and with the support of a three-year NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant, 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.

  • Book

    • 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 Chapters

    • Albertson, D. (2024). “Inside the Fold: Gilles Deleuze and the Christian Neoplatonist Tradition,” in Mystical Theology and Platonism in the Time of Cusanus: Essays in Honor of Donald F. Duclow, eds. Jason Aleksander, Sean Hannan, Joshua Hollmann, and Michael Edward Moore (Leiden: Brill), 347-383.
    • Albertson, D. (2021). “Entering the Ancient Courts of Ancient Men: On the Unfolding of Leinkauf’s Einleitung,” in Renaissance Philosophy and the Humanists’ Thought: Responses to Thomas Leinkauf’s Die Philosophie des Humanismus und der Renaissance, eds. Andrea Aldo Robiglia and Donald F. Duclow (Cordoba: University of Cordoba Press), pp. 19-35.
    • Albertson, D. (2021). “Latin Christian Neopythagorean Theology: A Speculative Summa,” in Companion to the Reception of Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, eds. Irene Caiazzo, Constantinos Macris, and Aurélien Robert (Leiden: Brill), pp. 373-414. [Link to book]
    • Albertson, D. (2020). “Cataphasis, Visualization, and Mystical Space,” in The Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology, eds. Edward Howells and Mark A. McIntosh (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 347-368. [Link to book]
    • Albertson, D. (2019). “Echoes of Eriugena in Renaissance Philosophy: Negation, Theophany, Anthropology,” in A Companion to John Scottus Eriugena, eds. Adrian Guiu and Stephen Lahey (Leiden: Brill, 2019), pp. 387-418. [Link to book]
    • Albertson, D. (2018). “Before the Icon: The Figural Matrix of De visione Dei,” in Nicholas of Cusa and Times of Transition: Essays in Honor of Gerald Christianson, eds. Thomas M. Izbicki, Jason Aleksander, and Donald Duclow (Leiden: Brill, 2018), pp. 262-285. [Link to book]
    • Albertson, D. (2017). “Philosophy and Metaphysics in the School of Saint Victor: From Achard to Godfrey,” in A Companion to the Abbey of Saint Victor in Paris, eds. Hugh Feiss and Juliet Mousseau (Leiden: Brill, 2017), pp. 353-386. [Link to book]
    • 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. (2019). “Ecce Quadratura! An Early Reader of Thierry of Chartres’s Arithmetica Commentary,” in Ad argumentum: Quaestio’s Special Issues, Supplement Vol. 1. Achard de Saint-Victor métaphysicien: Le De unitate Dei et pluralitate creaturarum, ed. Gilles Olivo: 107-132. [Link to article]
    • Albertson, D. (2016). “Boethius Noster: Thierry of Chartres’s Arithmetica Commentary as a Missing Source of Nicholas of Cusa’s De docta ignorantia“. Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales. Vol. 83 (1), pp. 143-199. [Link to 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. (2019). “Plötzlichkeit und Schweigen: Nikolaus von Kues im Dialog mit christlichen Neuplatonismus,” in Nikolaus von Kues – Denken im Dialog. Philosophie: Forschung und Wissenschaft, Bd. 30, ed. Walter Andreas Euler (Münster: LIT Verlag, 2019).
    • Albertson, D. (2016). “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. 3-20. 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.
    • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship Recipient, , 2021-2022
    • NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant, 2016-2021
    • USC ASHSS Research Grant, 2020-2021
    • American Council of Learned Societies, Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, 2015-2016
    • Dibner Research Fellowship in the History of Science and Technology, The Huntington Library, 2012-2013
    • NEH Enduring Questions Grant, 2010-2011
    • USC ASHSS Research Grant, 2008-2009
    • USC General Education Teaching Award, Spring 2009