Trained at Stanford University as a Medieval European historian, Kenneth Baxter Wolf is jointly appointed to the Classics department. He is the originator and coordinator of the Late Antique-Medieval Studies (LAMS) Program, founded in 2012.
Wolf is a historian of mentalité who mines medieval Latin texts in an effort to reconstruct the mind-sets and world-views of their authors and imagined audiences. Because this approach relies on such a close reading of texts, it is no surprise that Wolf evolved into a translator, applying his skills to Latin texts ranging from eighth-century chronicles to 13th-century canonization records. He regularly offers a half-credit Medieval Latin translation tutorial for students who have at least one year of Classical Latin under their belts.
Wolf began his scholarly work as a historian of early medieval Spain, with particular interests in the cultural construction of sanctity and early Christian views of Islam. Over the years the geographical scope of these two interests has expanded to encompass the Mediterranean basin as a whole. His signature course is "Medieval Mediterranean," a lecture-based class that simultaneously treats the history of the Latin, Greek and Arabic components of the post-Roman world. He regularly offers two other surveys ("Saints and Society" and "Medieval Europe and the World Outside") as well as four seminars ("Monks of War," "Heresy and Church," "Earliest Christian Views of Islam," and "Medieval Spain"). These courses are not only essential for students specializing in the Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean subfield of the history major but they also serve the needs of students majoring in LAMS.
An active researcher, writer and translator, Wolf recently finished a translation and study of the writings of Eulogius of Córdoba, the main source for the so-called “Córdoban martyrs’ movement” of the 850s (Liverpool University Press, 2019). He is particularly intrigued by what these sources reveal about how Christians living under Muslim rule came to terms with the political subordination of Christianity without losing their religious identity in the process. He is currently at work on a companion volume featuring a translation of another Latin text from Córdoba, the first to argue that Muhammad fit biblical descriptions of the Antichrist. In his spare time, Wolf is slowly reconstructing the experiences of his 19th-century German and English immigrant ancestors.