Bio


Hester Gelber specializes in late medieval religious thought. She has taught courses on philosophy of religion as well as medieval Christianity. She has written extensively on medieval Dominicans, including: Exploring the Boundaries of Reason: Three Questions on the Nature of God by Robert Holcot OP and most recently It Could Have Been Otherwise: Contingency and Necessity in Dominican Theology at Oxford 1300-1350. She has now retired.

Professor Gelber received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin in 1974 and has taught at Stanford since 1978, beginning as a part-time lecturer in Philosophy before moving to Religious Studies in 1982.

Academic Appointments


  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Religious Studies

Administrative Appointments


  • Professor Emerita, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2015 - Present)
  • Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2006 - 2015)
  • Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2010 - 2013)
  • Teacher's Assistant, Integrated Liberal Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1966 - 1968)
  • Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1968 - 1969)
  • Lecturer, University of Santa Clara, History Department (1974 - 1974)
  • Lecturer, Stanford University, Philosophy Department (1978 - 1982)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1982 - 1990)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1990 - 2006)
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1986 - 1988)
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1991 - 1993)
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1997 - 2002)
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2005 - 2006)
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1995 - 1995)
  • Department Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2006 - 2009)
  • Department Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2010 - 2013)

Honors & Awards


  • Fellowship, Ford Foundation (1967)
  • Fellowship, Ford Foundation (1968)
  • Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (1985 - 1986)
  • Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center (1988 - 1989)
  • Fellowship, Stanford Humanities Center (2004 - 2005)
  • Coglan Fellow in Religious Studies, Stanford University (1990 - 1992)
  • University Medal, University of Helsinki (1994)
  • John and Lydia Pearce Mitchell University Fellow, Bass University (2004 - 2009)
  • John and Lydia Pearce Mitchell University Fellow, Bass University (2009 - 2014)
  • Hoagland Award, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Member, American Cusanus Society
  • Member, Medieval Academy of America
  • Member, Medieval Association of the Pacific
  • Member, American Academy of Religion
  • Member of the Council, Medieval Association of the Pacific (1984 - 1987)
  • Member of the Council, Medieval Association of the Pacific (1996 - 1999)
  • Member, Council for the American Society of Church History (1990 - 1993)
  • Member, Individually Designed Major Committee, Stanford University (1982 - 1984)
  • Member, Individually Designed Major Committee, Stanford University (1990 - 1991)
  • Chair, Individually Designed Major Committee, Stanford University (1983 - 1984)
  • Member, Western Culture Program Committee, Stanford University (1984 - 1985)
  • Member, Western Culture Program Committee, Stanford University (1986 - 1988)
  • Member, CIV Program Committee, Stanford University (1988 - 1991)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Advisory Board, Stanford University (1994 - 1998)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Advisory Board, Stanford University (2003 - 2006)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Advisory Board, Stanford University (2004 - 2005)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Advisory Board, Stanford University (2006 - 2009)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Supplementary Advisory Committee, Stanford University (1990 - 1994)
  • Member, Committee on Medieval Studies, Stanford University (1982 - 1985)
  • Member, Committee on Medieval Studies, Stanford University (1989 - 1998)
  • Chair, Committee on Medieval Studies, Stanford University (1994 - 1995)
  • Member, Graduate Committee for Humanities Special Programs, Stanford University (1990 - 1996)
  • Member, Mellon Fellow Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee, Stanford University (1989 - 1991)
  • Member, Mellon Fellow Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Committee, Stanford University (1995 - 1996)
  • Member, Danforth-Compton Graduate Fellowship for Minorities Selection Committee, Stanford University (1989 - 1991)
  • Chair, Danforth-Compton Graduate Fellowship for Minorities Selection Committee, Stanford University (1990 - 1991)
  • Member, Taskforce on Undergraduate Education at Stanford, Stanford University (1991 - 1992)
  • Member, Ad-hoc Humanities Planning Group, Stanford University (1991 - 1992)
  • Faculty Resident Fellow--Twain House, Stanford University (1991 - 1995)
  • Member, Advisory Committee for Continuing Studies, Stanford University (1992 - 1994)
  • Member, Whiting, Lurcy and Danforth-Compton Graduate Fellowship Selection Committee, Stanford University (1992 - 1993)
  • University Grievance Officer, Stanford University (1993 - 1993)
  • Member, Faculty Senate, Stanford University (1993 - 1993)
  • Member, Faculty Senate, Stanford University (1993 - 1994)
  • Member, Faculty Senate, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • Member, Senate Steering Committee, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • Vice-chair, Faculty Senate, Stanford University (2003 - 2004)
  • Member, Budget Advisory Group for Residential Education, Stanford University (1993 - 1993)
  • Member, Sub-Committee on the Calendar, Stanford University (1994 - 1994)
  • Member, Mabelle McLeod Lewis Graduate Fellowship Selection Committee, Stanford University (1993 - 1995)
  • Member, Senate Committee on Academic Achievement and Appraisal (C-AAA), Stanford University (1995 - 1996)
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Academic Achievement and Appraisal (C-AAA) (1997 - 1999)
  • Member, Stanford Centre in Oxford, Stanford University (1996 - 1996)
  • Sexual Harassment Advisor, Stanford University (1997 - 2001)
  • Member, H & S 50th Anniversary Celebration Proposals--Selection Committee, Stanford University (1997 - 1998)
  • Member, The Institute for Research on Women & Gender- Fellows Selection Committee, Stanford University (1998 - 2000)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Selection Committee, Stanford University (1998 - 2000)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Selection Committee, Stanford University (2002 - 2003)
  • Member, Stanford Humanities Center Selection Committee, Stanford University (2006 - 2007)
  • Member, Maryilyn Yalom Research Fund Selection Committee, Stanford University (2000 - 2001)
  • Member, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies (C-US), Stanford University
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies (C-US), Stanford University (2000 - 2002)
  • Chair, C-US-C-USP Sub-Committee on General Education Requirements, Stanford University (2000 - 2003)
  • Ex-officio, Undergraduate Advisory Council to the Vice-Provost on Undergraduate Education, Stanford University (2000 - 2002)
  • Ex-officio, Undergraduate Advisory Council to the Vice-Provost on Undergraduate Education, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Ex-officio, Area One Governing Board, Stanford University (2000 - 2002)
  • Ex-officio, Area One Governing Board, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Panelist, Stanford Judicial Affairs Faculty, Stanford University (2000 - 2002)
  • Member, Advisory Committee to the Master of Liberal Arts program, Stanford University (2001 - 2007)
  • Member, Stanford Sexual Harassment Policy Advisory Group, Stanford University (2001 - 2002)
  • Member, Awards Committee for the Arnice P. Streit Service of Excellence Award and the H & S Dean's Award of Merit for H & S staff, Stanford University (2001 - 2002)
  • Director, Medieval Studies, Stanford University (2001 - 2003)
  • Faculty Associate Director, Overseas Studies Program, Stanford University (2002 - 2004)
  • Faculty Resident Fellow, Castano, Stanford University (2004 - 2008)
  • Member, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), Stanford University (2005 - 2008)
  • Member, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), Stanford University (2011 - 2014)
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), Stanford University (2007 - 2007)
  • Chair, Senate Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP), Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Chair, Sub-Committee on Exceptions to Educational Policy, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Chair, Sub-Committee on General Education Requirements, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Chair, Sub-Committee on General Education Requirements, Stanford University (2011 - 2012)
  • Chair, Sub-Committee on ROTC, Stanford University (2011 - 2013)
  • Member, Ethical Reasoning Oversight Board, Stanford University (2005 - 2013)
  • Member, Bing Overseas Studies Program Executive Committee, Stanford University (2005 - 2009)
  • Member, School of Humanities and Sciences, Appointments and Promotions Committee, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Member, Humanities and Sciences Chairs Steering Committee, Stanford University (2007 - 2008)
  • Member, Senate Ad-hoc Committee on ROTC, Stanford University (2010 - 2011)
  • Chair, S-ROTC (2011 - 2013)
  • Director of Department Colloquia, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1984 - 1985)
  • Director of Department Colloquia, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1994 - 1995)
  • Chair of Search Committee for position in Hebrew Bible, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1990 - 1991)
  • Chair of Search Committee for position in Religious Ethics, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (1995 - 1996)
  • Chair of Search Committee for position in Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2005 - 2006)
  • Chair of Search Committee for position in American Religion, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University (2008 - 2008)

Program Affiliations


  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Medieval History (1974)
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Medieval History (1967)
  • B.A., Cornell University, History (medieval focus) (1965)

All Publications


  • Laughter and Deception: Holcot and Chaucer Stay Cheerful Uncertain Knowledge Gebler, H. edited by Bose, M., Copeland, R., Denery, D., Ghosh, D., Zeeman, N. Brepols. 2014
  • Blackfriars London: The Late Medieval Studium, Philosophy and Theology in the 'Studia' of the Religious Orders and at Papal and Royal Courts Gebler, H. edited by Emery Jr, K., Courtenay, W. J., Metzger, S. M. 2012
  • Providence The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy Gebler, H. edited by Robert, R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010: 761–722
  • Blackfriars London: The Late Medieval Studium Gebler, H. 2008: 165–80
  • Medieval modal systems: problems and concepts. (Book Review) ARCHIV FUR GESCHICHTE DER PHILOSOPHIE Book Review Authored by: Goodenough Gelber, H. 2006; 88 (2): 232-236
  • Robert Holkot Encyclopedia of Philosophy Gebler, H. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale. 2005; 2
  • It Could Have Been Otherwise: Contingency and Necessity in Dominican Theology at Oxford 1300-1350 Gelber, H. Leiden: Brill. 2004
  • Walter Burley's 'On the Purity of the Art of Logic': The shorter and longer treatises (Book Review) SPECULUM-A JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 2003; 78 (4): 1258-1259
  • Metamorphosis and identity (Book Review) JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF RELIGION Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 2002; 70 (4): 893-896
  • Seeds of virtue and knowledge (Book Review) SPECULUM-A JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 2002; 77 (2): 557-558
  • Robert Holkot (Holcot) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Gebler, H. 2001
  • Revisiting the Theater of Virtue Franciscan Studies Gebler, H. 2000; 58: 19-36
  • MARSILIUS-OF-INGHEN - DIVINE KNOWLEDGE IN LATE MEDIEVAL THOUGHT - HOENEN,MJF (Book Review) SPECULUM-A JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 1996; 71 (2): 433-435
  • Seeing the Future Clearly: Quodlibetal Questions on Future Contingents by Robert Holcot edited by Streveler, P. A., Tachau, C., Gelber, H., Courtnay, W. J. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1995
  • THE DILEMMA OF FREEDOM AND FOREKNOWLEDGE - ZAGZEBSKI,LT (Book Review) SPECULUM-A JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL STUDIES Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 1994; 69 (1): 280-281
  • Eternal Questions--The Domincan Hugh of Lawton on the Eternity of the World Knowledge and the Sciences in Medieval Philosophy Gebler, H. 1990: 71–78
  • William Ockham Faith and Philosophy Gebler, H. 1990; 7: 246-252
  • Ockham's Early Influence: A Question about Predestination and Foreknowledge by Arnold of Strelley, OP Archives d'histoire doctrina/e et litteraire du moyen age Gebler, H. 1988; 55: 255-289
  • THE FALLACY OF ACCIDENT AND THE DICTUM-DE-OMNI, LATE MEDIEVAL CONTROVERSY OVER A RECIPROCAL PAIR VIVARIUM-AN INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR THE PHILOSOPHY AND INTELLECTUAL LIFE OF THE MIDDLE AGES AND RENAISSANCE Gelber, H. G. 1987; 25 (2): 110-145
  • HOLY FEAST AND HOLY FAST - THE RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF FOOD TO MEDIEVAL WOMEN - BYNUM,CW (Book Review) MODERN LANGUAGE QUARTERLY Book Review Authored by: Gelber, H. G. 1987; 48 (3): 281-285
  • A Theater of Virtue: The Exemplary World of St. Francis of Assisi Saints and Virtues Gebler, H. edited by Hawley, J. S. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1987: 15–35
  • The Physics of William of Ockham Journal of the History of Philosophy Gebler, H. 1987; 25: 294-296
  • I Cannot Tell a Lie: Hugh Lawton's Critique ofOckham on Mental Language Franciscan Studies Gebler, H. 1984; 44: 141 - 179
  • Exploring the Boundaries of Reason: Three Questions on the Nature of God by Robert Holcot, O.P. Gebler, H. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. 1983