Clay Greene is a scholar of early modern literature, with a particular focus on the work of John Milton. His work combines interests in literature, philosophy, and history, as is exemplified by his current book project, Milton’s Holy War. This project challenges the predominant critical understanding of Milton as a pacifist and critic of war, arguing instead that Milton followed the classical republican tradition that regarded war as salutary when individuals and nations fought against domestic tyranny and foreign expansionism. Dr. Greene’s other area of research analyzes the political significance of heterodox religious ideas in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Greene’s research has been supported by grants offered by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies and the Beinecke Rare Book Library, and he has presented work at numerous academic conferences. His book chapter, “Giving Laws to Milton’s God: Præexistence (1714) as Revision of Paradise Lost,” can be found in Locating Milton: Places and Contexts, published by Duquesne University Press. His work is important for understanding the American founding in terms of the tradition of republican revolution, a vital resource for the colonial Patriot cause, and for grasping the permanently complex situation of a nation that separates church and state. He received his PhD in English and Renaissance Studies from Yale University in 2021.