Research Interests: Late medieval and early modern Christianity; the English and continental reformations of the sixteenth century; Lollardy/Wycliffism; heresy and orthodoxy; contemporary American Roman Catholicism; religious affiliation and disaffiliation; sexual diversity and contemporary Christian thought and practice; religion and law.
Hornbeck’s scholarly work focuses on the interplay between the shifting categories of “heresy” and “orthodoxy” in medieval and early modern Christianity; and on affiliation, identity, and on issues of marginalization in contemporary Roman Catholicism. Much of his historical scholarship has focused on the “Lollard” or “Wycliffite” movement, which represented the most serious challenge to the authority of the church in late medieval England.Hornbeck has also applied his long-standing interests in the categories of heresy and dissent to the area of marginalized practices and identities in contemporary American Roman Catholicism. In this area, he has studied “deconversion” among Roman Catholics (receiving a major grant from the Louisville Institute to do so); worked to describe the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in and around the Catholic Church; and commented extensively on Catholic matters in the media.
Returning to the late medieval and early modern periods that are his intellectual home, his most recent book was a study of the English cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who served as lord chancellor and archbishop of York under Henry VIII. The book, entitled Remembering Wolsey: A History of Representations and Commemorations, surveyed portrayals of Wolsey in historical writing, works of literature and drama, and art from the mid-sixteenth century to today.
Hornbeck’s current research is in the area of religion and law, where he is examining from both theological and legal perspectives the conflicts concerning religious exemptions from civil laws in the U.S., as well as the legal implications of recent revelations concerning abuse perpetrated by Catholic clergy.
Hornbeck teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses at Fordham, including the introductory Theology course “Faith and Critical Reason”; a historical course on primary texts from the Reformation period; and advanced undergraduate electives on Christianity and sexual diversity and on religion and law. At the graduate level, he offers courses on the history of heresy and dissent in Christianity and the Reformation.
What Is a Lollard? Dissent and Belief in Late Medieval England (Oxford University Press, 2010).
Wycliffite Controversies, ed., with Mishtooni Bose (Medieval Church Studies, Brepols, 2011).
Wycliffite Spirituality, ed., and trans., with Stephen E. Lahey and Fiona Somerset (Classics of Western Spirituality Series, Paulist Press, 2013).
More than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church, ed., with Christine Firer Hinze and Michael A. Norko, 2 vols. (Fordham University Press, 2014).
A Companion to Lollardy (Brill, forthcoming 2016).
Europe after Wyclif, ed. with Michael Van Dussen (Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2016).
Remembering Wolsey: A History of Representations and Commemorations (Fordham University Press, 2019).