Profile page for: Gary Waite | UNB

Gary Waite

Professor, Chair


Tilley Hall 137

1 506 452 6158

Dr. Gary Waite researches and teaches in the fields of Sixteenth and Seventeenth-Century Europe, particularly in Reformation and Radical Reformation History, Religious Attitudes, Prejudices, and Toleration, Witchcraft and the Devil, and Popular Culture. He holds his doctorate from the University of Waterloo (1987). He is currently Chair (Acting) of the Department of History.

Dr. Waite has had a long and varied research career, capped in 2020 with his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Arts and Humanities, and in 2018 when he received UNB's inaugural "Excellence in Research Award." Beginning with the sixteenth century Anabaptist and spiritualist David Joris, he has pursued research projects also on the drama guilds of the Netherlands (the Chambers of Rhetoric), on witchcraft and demonology in the Reformation era, and on European views of Jews and Muslims in the seventeenth century. One of his major foci has been on the shifting beliefs about the Devil, and how the seeds for his demise were sown in the networks of devout nonconformists well before the rise of “Enlightenment skepticism.”

Building on these findings, Dr. Waite is currently engaged in research funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2015-2020), called “Amsterdamnified! Religious Dissenters, Spiritualistic Ideas and Urban Associationalism in the Emergence of the Early Enlightenment in England and the Low Countries, 1540-1700.” Together with his Co-Investigator Michael Driedger of Brock University, he has pulled together a team of international scholars to work on the radical religious roots of the Enlightenment. He has already published several essays on this subject. This is Dr. Waite’s fourth SSHRC grant.

He supervises theses in the early modern era, and his undergraduate teaching also covers the Middle Ages.


With Lisa M. Todd, eds, European Racism: A Historical Source Reader. In preparation for the Broadview Sources Series, Broadview Press.

Jews and Muslims in Seventeenth-Century Discourse, From Religious Enemies to Allies and Friends, 1st Edition. Routledge, 2018.

with Jesse Spohnholz, eds, Exile and Religious Identities, 1500-1800, Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World, 18. London: Pickering & Chatto Press, June 2014.

with Els Kloek, Marion Kobelt-Groch, Mirjam van Veen, Piet Visser, and Anna Voolstra, eds, Sisters: Myth and Reality of Anabaptist/Mennonite Women, c 1525-1900, Brill's Series in Church History, 65. Leiden: E.J. Brill, September 2014.

Assistant co-editor with Michael Driedger, Religious Minorities and Cultural Diversity in the Dutch Republic: Studies presented to Piet Visser on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, August den Hollander, Alex Noord, Mirjam van Veen and Anna Voolstra, eds. Brill's Series in Church History 67. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2014.

Eradicating the Devil's Minions: Anabaptists and Witches in Reformation Europe (University of Toronto Press, 2007; paperback edition in June, 2009)

Heresy, Magic, and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

Reformers on Stage: Popular Drama and Religious Propaganda in the Low Countries of Charles V, 1515-1556 (University of Toronto Press, 2000)

The Anabaptist Writings of David Joris 2nd ed. (Plough Press, 2019).

David Joris and Dutch Anabaptism (Waterloo, 1990), is now available digitally.

Recent articles

“Religieuze non-conformisten in Nederland over geneeskunde, magie en de duivel” (Dutch Religious Nonconformists on Medicine, Magic, and the Devil: A Reconsideration), Doopsgezinde Bijdragen, 45(2019), 97-122. Translated by Mirjam van Veen.

“The Chambers of Rhetoric as Agents of Communication and Change in the Sixteenth-Century Netherlands,” e-Humanista: Journal of Iberian Studies, 39 (2018), 436-46, Monographic Issue 3, on Drama and the Reformation, ed. Javier Espejo Surós.

With Willem de Bakker, “Rethinking the Murky World of the Post-Münster Dutch Anabaptist Movement, 1535-1538: A Dialogue between Willem de Bakker and Gary K. Waite,” Mennonite Quarterly Review 92 (January 2018), 47-91.

“Pieter Jansz Twisck on David Joris: A Conservative Mennonite and an Unconventional Spiritualist,” Mennonite Quarterly Review, 91 (2017), 371-402.

"Empathy for the Persecuted or Polemical Posturing? The 1609 Spanish Expulsion of the Moriscos as Seen in English and Netherlandic Pamphlets," Journal of Early Modern History 17 (2013), 95-123

"Reimagining Islam: The Moor in Dutch and English Pamphlets, 1550-1620," Renaissance Quarterly 66/4 (Winter 2013), 1250-95 (2013)

"Menno and Muhammad: Anabaptists and Mennonites Reconsider Islam, 1570-1650," Sixteenth Century Journal 41 (2010), 995-1016.

Dr. Waite has published also in: Journal of Early Modern History, Renaissance Quarterly, Social History, Sixteenth Century Journal, Archive for Reformation History, Church History, Dutch Review of Church History, Fides et Historia, Mennonite Quarterly Review, Doopsgezinde Bijdragen, Renaissance and Reformation, The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The Canadian Journal of History, The Mennonite Encyclopedia V, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, and The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition.

Recent book chapters

“The Artist David Joris (1501-56): The Prophet of the Renewed Senses,” forthcoming in Embodiment, Expertise, and Ethics in Early Modern Europe: Entangling the Senses, eds. Marlene Eberhart and Jacob Baum. London: Routledge Press.

“Fear and Loathing in the Radical Reformation: David Joris’s Efforts to Achieve Emotional Calm in the Midst of Adversity, 1525-1556,” Feeling Exclusion: Religious Conflict, Exile and Emotions in Early Modern Europe, Giovanni Tarantino and Charles Zika, eds (London, Routledge, 2019), 100-125.

“‘Turning Turke the Anabaptist Way’: Muslims, Jews, Christian Spiritualists, and Polemical Discourse in the Dutch Republic, c. 1570 to c. 1630,” Global Reformations: Transforming Early Modern Religions, Societies, and Cultures, Nicholas Terpstra, ed. (London and New York: Routledge Press, 2019), 73-94.

With Christina Moss, “Argula von Grumbach, Katharina Schütz Zell, and Anabaptist and Jorist Women,” Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe, Ronald K. Rittgers and Vincent Evener, eds. St. Andrews Series in Reformation History (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 159-78.

“Religion and Ritualized Belief,” in A Cultural History of Hair, vol. 3: A Cultural History of Hair in the Renaissance (1450-1650), ed. Edith Snook (London: Bloombury Academic Press, 2019), 17-37, 159-62.

“Knowing the Spirit(s) in the Dutch Radical Reformation: From Physical Perception to Rational Doubt, 1536-1690,” Knowing Demons, Knowing Spirits in the Early Modern Period, eds Michelle D. Brock, Richard Raiswell, and David R. Winter, Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic Series (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2018), 23-54.

"The Drama of the Two Word Debate among Liberal Dutch Mennonites, c. 1620-1660: Preparing the Way for Baruch Spinoza?" In Radicalism and Dissent in the World of Protestant Reform, eds Bridget Heal and Anorthe Kremers (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017), 118-36.

“Martyrs and Nicodemites Both? Spiritualistic and Rationalistic Currents within the Dutch Anabaptist Tradition – David Joris, Sebastian Castellio, and Pieter Jansz Twisck 1535–1648,” in Sebastian Castellio (1515-1563) - Dissidenz Und Toleranz: Beitrage Zu Einer Internationalen Tagung Auf Dem Monte Verita in Ascona 2015 (Refo500 Academic Studies), ed. Barbara Mahlman-Bauer (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2018), 423-57.

"Where did the Devil Go? Language and the Revolt in the Netherlands, 1566-1648," Interlinquicity, Internationality and Shakespeare, ed. Michael Saenger (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014), 59-72, 227-37.

"Naked Harlots or Devout Maidens? Images of Anabaptist Women in the Context of the Iconography of Witches in Europe, 1525-1650," in Mirjam van Veen, Piet Visser, and Gary K. Waite, eds., Sisters: Myth and Reality of Anabaptist/Mennonite Women, c 1525-1900, Brill's Series in Church History 65 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 17-51.

"Conversos and Spiritualists in Spain and the Netherlands: The Experience of Inner Exile, c. 1540-1620," in Exile and Religious Identities, 1500-1800, eds. Jesse Spohnholz and Gary K. Waite, Religious Cultures in the Early Modern World 18 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014), 157-70.

"A Reappraisal of the Contribution of Anabaptists to the Religious Culture and Intellectual Climate of the Dutch Republic," in Religious Minorities and Cultural Diversity in the Dutch Republic: Studies Presented to Piet Visser on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, edited by August den Hollander, Alex Noord, Mirjam van Veen, and Anna Voolstra, Brill's Series in Church History 67 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 6-28.

"Sixteenth Century Religious Reform and the Witch-Hunts," Chapter 27 of The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Euyrope and Colonial America, ed. Brian Levack (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 485-506.

“Apocalyptical Terrorists or a Figment of Governmental Paranoia? Re-evaluating the Religious Terrorism of Sixteenth-Century Anabaptists in the Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire, 1535-1570,” in Michael Driedger, Anselm Schubert, and Astrid von Schlachta, eds., Margins of Anabaptism, (Gütersloh: Schriften des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte, 2009), 105-25.

He is the editor of the "Witch Hunt" entry in the Oxford Bibliographies Online and the founding president of the Atlantic Medieval and Early Modern Group.

More of his work can be found on Academia. In 2005, he was made a University Research Scholar for a two-year term.


First year
Hist1008 – Religion, Magic & Witchcraft

Hist2013 – Medieval Europe I
Hist2014 – Medieval Europe II
Hist2023 – Early Modern Europe I
Hist2024 – Early Modern Europe II

Upper level lecture
Hist3001 – West Meets East in the Middle Ages
Hist3006 – Reformation Europe
Hist3015 – Race and Racism in the pre-modern West
Hist4001 – Heretics and Witches in Early Modern Europe
Hist4002 – Renaissance Society

Hist5011 – Reform and Revolt in Europe, 1500-1555
Hist5012 – The Late Reformation and Witch-hunting
Hist5102 – Mental World of Europeans, 1300-1600
He has also lectured in Arts 1000 and was a regular supervisor for Arts 3000 – Internship

Hist6015 – Themes in Early Modern Europe
Hist6935 – Writing History