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Tiffany Kriner Faculty Headshot

Tiffany Eberle Kriner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English

On Faculty since 2005
630.752.5783
Blanchard 309


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I believe that texts have a place and a future in the Kingdom of God. In my scholarly book The Future of the Word: An Eschatology of Literature, I look at the intricate ways God makes meaningful futures for literary texts toward the community of the new creation in the Kingdom of God—and how God welcomes us to take part in the building of the texts and the community. I participate in the Kingdom of God through my work at Wheaton: building texts and communities. I particularly focus on intersections of theology, place, and race within literature.

In the classroom and on campus, I seek to create a space in which the interpretations of texts cultivate community among readers, working toward that community of new creation in the Trinity's love. This scholarly and classroom goal has, in recent years, spilled over into work co-coordinating the Core Book program at Wheaton, which brings together communities associated with Wheaton (staff, students, faculty, administration, alumni, community members, etc.) around a single book such at Shusaku Endo’s Silence or Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. When I’m not at Wheaton, I’m farming sixty acres of woods and fields with my husband and two children at Root and Sky Farm.

University of Wisconsin-Madison
PhD, English Literature, 2005

University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA, 1999

Messiah College
BA (summa cum laude), English, 1998

Erasmus Institute, University of Notre Dame
Carey Research Fellow, 2006

  • Twentieth Century American Literature
  • Literary Theory
  • Literature and Environment
  • Theology and literature
  • African-American Literature
  • English 115 for Vanguard: Topics in Global Literature 
  • English 381: Emily Dickinson 
  • English 381: Henry David Thoreau 
  • Vanguard Program Seminar: Writing and the Environment 
  • English 433: Literature in Place 
  • English 382: T. S. Eliot 
  • English 364: Victorian Literature 
  • CORE 101: First Year Seminar: How Shall We Live in Time? 
  • English 494: Senior Seminar: Place: Land and Story 
  • English 393: David Foster Wallace 
  • English 383: Marilynne Robinson 
  • AIS 324: Theology and Literature of the Black Body 
  • English 381: 1850-1855 
  • English 102: Modern Western Literature 
  • AIS 309: Native Art and Literature 
  • English 381: Melville 
  • English 225: Reading Theologically 
  • English 343:  American Literature After 1945 
  • English 342:  American Literature Realism to Modernism 
  • English 349/379: African American Literature 
  • English 341:  Early American Literature  
  • English 494: Senior Seminar: Judgment 
  • English 375: Women Writers 
  • English 382: Hurston and Hughes 
  • English 382: Langston Hughes 
  • English 103 and 104: Research and Composition/First Year Writing 
  • English 433: Literature of Oxford. 
  • English 105:  Modern Global Literature 
  • English 434:  Modern Literary Theory
  • Christian Formation and Ministry 131: Introduction to Spiritual Formation 

In my research, I particularly focus on intersections of theology, place, and race within literature. In a series of essays, I have considered the creation and maintenance of eschatological hope in the formal experiments of American writers such as Lucille Clifton, Denise Levertov, and Fanny Howe. The processes and forms of these writers pushed me to more fundamental questions about the theoretical and theological foundations for hopeful reading in the discipline of literary studies. Along these lines, “Hopeful Reading” works to offer a methodology for reading hopefully as a literary scholar. My book, The Future of the Word: An Eschatology of Reading, argues that books have futures in the kingdom of God and that reading allows us to participate in those futures toward the community of the new creation in the love of the Trinity. My most recent work considers the way aspects of space and time in literary works may generate theological insights, and I am completing a book project engaging literary and theological questions from the space of the farm.

“Field.” Pied Beauty Lyceum, Whitewater, WI. October 2019. Invited lecture. 

“Reader on Fire: Evangelical Reading for Jesus and Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire.”
Conference on Christianity and Literature. Harvard Divinity School. Cambridge, MA. March 2019. 

“Space/Time/Doctrine: Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Trilogy.”
Theology Conference. Wheaton College. April 2018. 

This Land Was Made for You and Me: Farming, Theology, Literature
Co-presented with Joshua Mabie, UW-Whitewater, Culture, Criticism, and the Christian Mind Conference, Dordt College, Sioux Center, IA, November 2017

Sacred Space/Time: Narrative Theology in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Trilogy
Western Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Abilene Christian Univeristy, Dallas TX, October 2017

"Sing Dumb." Poetry.
Music for SATB choir and percussion by Shawn E. Okpebholo, In Human Moments, recital of compositions by Shawn E. Okpebholo. Edman Chapel, Wheaton College

Stepping Into Silence. Spiritual pilgrimage guide and Art/Artifact Exhibition materials
Co-writer with Miho Nonaka and Sarah Miglio, and exhibition co-designer with Rule29. Exhibition of fumi-e and artifacts related to Shusaku Endo’s Silence, September 2016, Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL; October 2016, Sheen Center, New York City, NY; January 2017, Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA; February 2017, Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, CA

Thine Be the Canon: The Eschatology of Reading
Western Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, May 2014

Past and Future Perfect: The Translation of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84
Midwestern Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, March 2014

Love and Knowledge: A Certain Problem with Worldview
Invited Presentation, Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, IL, April 2013

The Eschatology of Texts
Humanities Colloquium, Wheaton College, January 2013

For the Future of the Word: Jesus' Becoming and the Becoming of Literature
Southwest Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Oklahoma Christian University. Oklahoma City, OK, October 2012

'lines of living light’: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Popular and Political Poetry
Midwest Regional Meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, Calvin College. Grand Rapids, MI, April 2012

“Wattle.” Word & World: Theology for Christian Ministry 40.4 (2020): 401-418.  Lyric Essay. http://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/issues.aspx?article_id=4198

“Marilynne Robinson’s Jack and the Need to Be Forgiven.”  Front Porch Republic. 28 Sept. 2020. . https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2020/09/marilynne-robinsons-jack-and-the-need-to-be-forgiven/ Review Essay. 

“Not Without Meaning.” Wheaton Magazine. (Winter 2021). https://www.wheaton.edu/magazine/winter-2021/not-without-meaning/

“On Not Getting (Over) Getting Saved: James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain.” Credo. 10.1 (2020). 5100 words. https://credomag.com/article/on-not-getting-over-getting-saved/ Creative Non-Fiction/Literary Criticism. 

“Things to Be Noted / Things to Be Done: A Response to Christine Colón.” In Choosing Community by Christine Colón. Intervarsity, 2019. 32-40. Literary criticism. 

“Owl on Beauty.” Word & World: Theology for Christian Ministry 39.1 (2019): 71-85. Lyric essay / literary criticism.  https://wordandworld.luthersem.edu/issues.aspx?article_id=4101

“The Word in the World.” The Cresset. Advent 2017. Essay. http://thecresset.org/2017/Advent/Kriner_A17.html

“Ghazal: Signs.” The Cresset. Summer 2017. Poetry. http://thecresset.org/2017/Trinity/Kriner_T17.html

“Sing Dumb.” Poetry for SATB choir and percussion. Music by Shawn E. Okpebholo. Yellow Einstein Press, 2016.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK04TOld0gI

“Wary Grammar: Fanny Howe’s Narrative Bewilderment.” Arizona Quarterly 68.3 (2012): 129-156. Literary Criticism. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/486615

“Hopeful Reading.” Christianity and Literature 61.1 (2011): 101-131. Literary Theory. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44315131#metadata_info_tab_contents

“Our Turn Now?: Imitation and the Theological Turn in Literary Studies.” Christianity and Literature.  Special Issue: The Turn to Religion in Literary Studies. 58.2 (2009): 266-272. Literary Theory. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014833310905800217

“Ascent, Continuance, Immersion:  Hope in the Poetry of Denise Levertov.” Literature and Belief. 27.2 (2007): 83-110. Literary Criticism. https://www.academia.edu/1975177/Ascent_Continuance_Immersion_Hope_in_the_Poetry_of_Denise_Levertov

“John the Baptist at a Country Tent Meeting, Jesus Comes.” The Christian Century. 29 Jan 2008. 11. Poetry.  https://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/poems/john-baptist-country-tent-meeting-jesus-comes

“Conjuring Hope in a Body: Lucille Clifton’s Eschatology.” Christianity and Literature. 54.2 Winter 2005. 185-208. Literary Criticism.  https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/014833310505400205

The Future of the Word: An Eschatology of Reading. Fortress Press, 2014. Literary Criticism and Theology.

“Space / Time / Doctrine: Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead Novels.” In Balm in Gilead: A Theological Dialogue with Marilynne Robinson. Ed. Keith Johnson and Timothy Larsen. Intervarsity Press, 2019. 122-146.