Professor William Naphy

Professor William Naphy
Professor William Naphy

Professor William Naphy

Fellow (Royal Historical Society)

Chair in History


School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History,
Crombie Annexe, Room 109
Meston Walk,
King's College,
University of Aberdeen,
Old Aberdeen,
AB24 3FX.

Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History


Professor Naphy received his doctorate (in Reformation History) from the University of St Andrews in 1993.  He was appointed a lecturer at the University of Manchester in 1993 and, in 1996, at Aberdeen where he was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1999.  He was awarded a personal chair in 2007.  He is the author of six books with translations into six languages (including a translation, funded by the Norwegian government, into Serbo-Croat for an NGO raising awareness of homosexuality in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia) as well as numerous edited volumes and articles in scholarly journals .   

He has made frequent appearances in the media (Channel 4; Grampian TV; BBC-Scotland; BBC-Radio 4: Start the Week) as a specialist on the history of witchcraft, plague, and sexuality.  He contributed extensively to the media in the discussions surrounding the Kirk's position on gay ministers.  He was historical consultant for Out in the World, a four-part series on the history of sexuality broadcast on Radio 3.

He is a leading authority on Calvin's Geneva during the sixteenth century as well as the history of crime and punishment in the early modern period  He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and member of the Sixteenth Century Studies Society

During the course of 2009 and events commemorating Calvin's birth in 1509, Professor Naphy participated in the T. V. Moore endowed lecture series at the San Francisco Theological Seminary along with the Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi (General Secreary, World Alliance of Reformed Churches).  Professor Naphy also delivered a keynote address at the conference on Calvin and his Influence, 1509-2009 (Geneva, 24-27 May).

He speaks often to general audiences on gender, sexuality, witchcraft and Calvinism.

External Memberships

Professor Naphy is one of the editors for the Manchester University Press series on Early Modern Europe.


Research Overview

Calvin, Calvinism, Witchcraft, Plague, Geneva, Crime, Sexuality, Gender, Gay Issues

Current Research

Professor Naphy is currently working on the production of a two-volume study of sexuality, deviance, and criminality in early modern Geneva. The first volume will concentrate on 'unnatural' sexual activity (as defined by the Genevan courts), while the second volume will look at the wider issue of the control and criminalisation of other forms of sexual activity (for example, fornication and adultery).


Teaching Responsibilities

  • HI 1521 Renaissance to Revolutions
  • HI 2512 Making Sex: Constructing Men and Women, c. 1750-the present day
  • HI 302E/352E Aztec, Incas and Mayas: Empires on the Eve of Apocalypse
  • HI 302F/352F Satan, Sorcery & Sabbaths: Witch-Hunting in Early Modern Europe, c. 1450-1700
  • HI 4015 Homosexuality in the Greco-Roman World
  • HI 5026/5526 Tradition and Culture in Protestant Scoland c. 1560-1650

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  • Born to be Gay: A History of Homosexuality

    Naphy, W. G.
    Tempus, Stroud. 288 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Calvin’s Geneva

    Naphy, W. G.
    The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin. Cambridge University Press, pp. 25-38, 14 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Czarna Smierc: Historia epidemii z lat 1345-1730

    Naphy, W. G., Spicer, A.
    Pantstwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, Warsaw, Poland. 157 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • La peur de la maladie

    Naphy, W. G.
    Conflicts actuels: Revue d'etude politique, vol. 14, pp. 43-55
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • La Peste noire: Grandes peurs et epidemies 1345-1730

    Naphy, W. G., Spicer, A., Sancery, A.
    Editions Autrement, Paris, France. 189 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation: with a new preface

    Naphy, W. G.
    Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, USA. 288 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Reasonable doubt: Defences advanced in early modern sodomy trials in Geneva

    Naphy, W. G.
    Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200-1700. Mulholland, M., Pullan, B. (eds.). Manchester University Press, pp. 129-146, 17 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Der schwarze Tod: Die Pest in Europa

    Naphy, W. G., Spicer, A., Ruttermann, M.
    Magnus Verlag, Essen, Germany. 208 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Verbotene Leidenschaft: Gesellschaft und Sexualitat von der Renaissance zur Aufklarung

    Naphy, W. G.
    Magnus Verlag, Essen. 222 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Sex Crimes from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

    Naphy, W. G.
    Tempus, Stroud, United Kingdom. 224 pages
    Books and Reports: Books


Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Journals