Nicholls, Dr Sophie


Sophie Nicholls

College Lecturer in Early Modern History

Academic background

BA (Hons) in Ancient and Modern History, St Hugh’s College, Oxford

MPhil and PhD in History, St John’s College, Cambridge

Carlyle/Clayman Junior Research Fellow in the history of political thought, St Anne’s College, Oxford

College lecturer, various Oxford colleges.


I teach Early Modern European, Global and British History, as well as papers in the history of ideas.

Research interests

I am an historian of ideas and of the French Wars of Religion. My particular interests lie in the relations between political and religious ideas, and in the intersection of juridical, theological and classical sources as they contribute to political thinking in the Early Modern era.

My first monograph analyses the political thought of the French Holy League, active between 1576 and 1595 and is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press, ‘Ideas in Context’ series. My next monograph builds on my interest in the intersection of sacred and secular ideas to focus on the concept of the Christian commonwealth in the years before the Fronde rebellions (1648-59). In particular, it analyses the juridical and political writings of the influential French jurist Pierre Grégoire (1540-1597).

Alongside my research, I am also writing a history of the French Wars of Religion for a non-academic readership.


Recent Publications

Troubled Kingdom. The French Holy League in the Wars of Religion, c.1572-1598. Forthcoming with Cambridge University Press.

 The Midnight Bell. A history of the French Wars of Religion. Under contract with Head of Zeus, Apollo non-fiction series.

 ‘Political and Legal Thought’ in The Cambridge History of French Thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

‘Sovereignty and government in Jean Bodin’s Six Livres de la République, 1576’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 80, I (2019):  47-66.

‘Catholic resistance theory: William Barclay versus Jean Boucher’ in Resistance Theory in Intellectual History and Political Thought, History of European Ideas, 44, 4 (2018): 404-418.

De Justa Reipublicae Christianae in Reges Impios et Haereticos Authoritate (1590): questions of authority and heretic kings in the political thought of the Catholic League.’ Bibliothèque d’Humanisme et Renaissance, LXXVII, 1 (2015): 81-101.

‘Gallican liberties and the Catholic League.’ History of European Ideas special issue, ‘Thinking about intellectual history.’ Vol. 40, 7 (2014): 940-964.