Portrait of Dr Sarah James

Dr Sarah James

Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature


Sarah’s work is focused on medieval hagiography from c.1100-1500. Far from being timeless and aloof, saints in this period are continually being reimagined by writers in ways that perform important social, religious and political work of immediate contemporary relevance. 

To understand that work Sarah explores a range of evidence, including the written lives, documentary records, and representations of the saints in material culture. Her geographical focus is wide-ranging, including both the Latin west and more recently Byzantium; the island of Cyprus in this period is of particular significance to her work at present and is likely to remain so. 

Sarah is also absorbed by the development of theology as an academic discipline, and has written on theologies of vision, pleasure and the Eucharist. At present she is wrestling with questions of grace, and particularly the ways in which academic theological positions are mediated in order to promote pastoral care. The experience of religion for ordinary lay people, for the most part with very limited access to written texts, is a continued area of interest. 

Research interests


Sarah is always keen to hear from research students wishing to work on medieval hagiography, especially projects with a strong theological component, or which seek to work comparatively across Europe in some way. She is also interested in projects where the major focus is some aspect of medieval theology.


  • Member: The Ecclesiastical History Society; The Lollard Society; New Chaucer Society 
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 
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