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History Department

J. Michael Raley

Prof. Raley in classroom

Associate Professor of History
Department Chair
Classic Hall 113
Hanover College
Hanover, IN 47243
812 866-7205


B.M., Belmont College, Nashville, Tennessee
M.M., The University of Louisville
M.A., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
D.M.A., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
Ph.D., The University of Chicago

Raley joined the faculty at Hanover College in 2013, where he teaches courses in medieval Europe, the Italian Renaissance, Tudor and Stuart England, and the Reformation era, as well as the Modern West. Prior to coming to Hanover College, he taught at Alma College in Michigan, Wake Forest University, Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Chicago.
Professor Raley's research interests focus on legal, social, gender, and cultural history of medieval and early modern Europe, and especially on the evolution of rights theory, in particular the right to freedom of religion, during the late medieval and early modern eras. His publications include:


  • Review of Religious Conflict and Accommodation in the Early Modern World. Edited by Marguerite Ragnow and William D. Phillips, Jr. Minneapolis: Center for Early Modern History, University of Minnesota, 2011. In the Journal of World History, vol. 24, no. 2 (June 2013): 426-430.


  • "The Career and Contributions of Music Educator and University of Louisville Band Director Ernest E. Lyon (1915-2005)." The American Bandmasters Association Journal of Band Research, vol. 49, no. 2 (Spring 2014): 1-27.
  • "A Revised Chronology for the Inquisitors of the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life, ca. 1394 -- ca. 1409." Ons Geestelijk Erf (Our Spiritual Heritage, Antwerp, Belgium), vol. 83, no. 1 (2012): 57-95.
  • "Traversing Borders -- Defining Boundaries: Cosmopolitan Harmonies and Confessional Theology in Georg Rhau's Liturgical Publications." The Sixteenth Century Journal, vol. 43, no. 4 (2012): 1079-1105.
  • "Interconfessionalism and Confessionalization in Germany and Austria, ca. 1530-1545: The Chorale Motets and Polemical Works of Arnold von Bruck and Stephan Mahu." In Jubilate, Amen! A Festschrift in Honor of Donald P. Hustad, ed. Paul A Richardson and Timothy W. Sharp, 315-356. Hillsdale, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 2010.
  • "'On the Same Basis as the Men': The Campaign to Reinstate Women Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, 1885-1918." Journal of Southern Religion 7 (2004) at: http://jsr.fsu.edu/Volume7/Raley1.htm.


  • Montesinos' Legacy: Defining and Defending Human Rights for 500 Years. Proceedings of the Universal Human Rights: 500th Anniversary of Antonio de Montesinos Conference.
    Sponsored by Alma College, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, and the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in the United States, Washington, D.C., December 2-4, 2011. Edited by Edward C. Lorenz, Dana E. Aspinall, and J. Michael Raley. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2015.
  • Minds and Hearts in Praise of God: Hymns and Essays in Church Music in Honor of Hugh T. McElrath. Co-edited by J. Michael Raley and Deborah Carlton Loftis. Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press/Providence House, 2006.


  • An article, entitled "The Emergence of Religious Freedom: Continental Anabaptists, English and Colonial American Baptists, and the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution," tracing a direct line from the continental Anabaptists of the sixteenth century to the English Baptists of the early seventeenth century and the fight for religious, as well as political, freedom in the American colonies during the late eighteenth century.
  • An article, entitled "Pope Honorius III's Bull, Super speculam, and the Study of Roman Law at the University of Paris, 1219-1679," challenging the longstanding paradigm that asserts that Roman law, having been prohibited by the pope in 1219, was never taught at the University of Paris between that year and 1679, when it was finally reinstated by King Louis XIV.
  • An article, entitled "Parisian Chancellor Jean Gerson, Friar Mathew Grabow, and the Devotio Moderna at the Council of Constance," that examines the trial of Dominican Mathew Grabow at the Council of Constance in 1417-19 and the implications that it held for his religious opponents, the Dutch and German lay religious brothers and sisters known collectively as the "Modern Devout."
  • A full-length book project, Geert Groote and the Devotio Moderna: Pursuing the Philosophia Dei during the Crisis of the Great Schism, that will reexamine the late medieval Dutch lay religious folk known as the "Modern Devout" in light of recent scholarship and the author's own archival research.

Last Updated: Feb. 20, 2017