William Tate

William Tate

Professor of English
Department Chair
Dean of Arts and Letters
On faculty since 2007





PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996

MA, Duke University, 1986

MA, Bob Jones University, 1984

BA, Bob Jones University, 1982


Professional Interests

Because everything is related to everything else, I'm interested in everything. I'm especially interested in the ways theology, philosophy, and literature intersect in the formation and transformation of cultures. I love the literature of the English Renaissance; favorite authors from the period include Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, and Henry Vaughan. I'm also strongly interested in Modern and Contemporary literature; favorites include Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Richard Wilbur, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill among the poets and Walker Percy and Frederick Buechner among the novelists. I'm especially intrigued by the way authors use metaphor and fiction to convey truth, the epistemological status of language, paradox, ambiguity, and similar matters.


Favorite theologians include Karl Barth, Herman Bavinck, Emil Brunner, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, John Frame, Colin Gunton, Lesslie Newbigin, William Perkins, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Thomas F. Torrance. Favorite philosophers include Hans-Georg Gadamer, Alvin Plantinga, Paul Ricoeur, and Nicholas Wolterstorff (though I don't claim understanding!). I look to these writers for help in my effort to understand the world as well as how the invented worlds of literature relate to the actual world.


Personal Interests

I'm married to Patty, who directs the Math Center at Covenant. We have four children, Joseph (who loves technology and reading and hopes to pursue a career in robotics), Hannah (who loves reading, writing, and being with friends—and wants to take over my job someday), Will (who loves animals, art, and climbing walls), and Bekah (who still likes to be read to and loves listening to music); they're all creative and challenging; they all know more about technology than I do. The whole family loves our dog, Emma, but she still doesn’t get enough attention to suit her. On Friday nights we order pizza and watch a movie.


Patty and I both enjoy pottery, and we have a small collection of pieces by North Carolina potters; we're hoping to add some work by North Georgia artists (maybe after the kids leave home!). I do a lot of the cooking at our house, and when time allows, I enjoy cooking creatively for family and friends (favorite creations include pork-and-oyster pie, three-bean chili, and chocolate cheesecake).


Professional Membership

  • Conference on Christianity and Literature
  • Modern Language Association


Selected Publications

  • “Karl Barth’s Secular Parables.”  CASE:  The Quarterly Magazine of the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education 30 (2012): 22-26.
  • “Something in Us Like the Catbird’s Song.”  LOGOS:  A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 13:3 (Summer 2010): 105-123.

Recent Presentations

  • “‘To Be Without a Description of To Be’:  Wallace Stevens and Richard Wilbur on Waking Up.”  Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature, April 2012.
  • “Gonzalo’s Garments:  Skepticism  and the Capacity for Wonder in Shakespeare’s The Tempest,” Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature, April 2011.  Presented again, in adapted form at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, July 2012.