Raphaela Sophia Rohrhofer

Raphaela Sophia Rohrhofer


  • KY16 9AL

    United Kingdom

Personal profile


Academic Qualifications

DPhil (Oxon), MSt (Oxon), MA (Courtauld), Mag. phil. ([BA+MA] Vienna), BA (Vienna) 


Dr Raphaela Rohrhofer specialises in the poetics, theology, and philosophy of contemplative literature and art in the late medieval British Isles, continental Europe, and beyond. She is the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at St Andrews' School of English.

Her first monograph, Familial Discourses in The Book of Margery Kempe, received a series of prestigious prizes, and she also co-authored an extensive analysis of the then newly discovered compilation of spiritual material containing The Chastising of God's Children (Bodleian MS Don. e. 247), alongside several journal articles and book chapters on late medieval contemplation. She is currently working on three further book projects:  

1. Julian of Norwich's Apophatic Poetics of Love and Dread, a revised version of her Oxford dissertation written under the supervision of Vincent Gillespie and funded by the AHRC and Scatcherd Foundation.

2. New Visions of Julian of Norwich, a special edition of MFF collecting the papers given at the eponymous conference that she co-organised at Somerville College/Oxford in 2022 with funding from OMS, TORCH, and Medium Aevum.

3. Dr Rohrhofer's major current research project examines the concept of contemplative nothingness in the late medieval British Isles and beyond and is supported by the Leverhulme Trust. Her work explores the hermeneutical impasse of nothing in the contemplative literature and art of the Global Middle Ages and its situatedness between the coordinates of cataphatic expression and apophatic silence. Building on texts in more than a dozen languages, it aims to establish connections between contemplative traditions and environments that have never been posited previously.    

Before coming to St Andrews, Dr Rohrhofer was a lecturer in Medieval English Literature and Art History at Oxford University, where she also gained her DPhil and MSt in medieval English literature, both as the first person from her country and the first person in her family to go to school past the age of sixteen. She also holds an MA in medieval art history specialising in manuscript illumination from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London (as the first person from her country) and started her academic career with three simultaneous degrees at the University of Vienna, in English Literature and Linguistics, and Art History. This journey was recently highlighted in an article about her as a "hidden champion" (on p. 7).