Religion & Philosophy Faculty


Dr. Jennifer Berenson

Ph.D., Harvard University
Office phone: 540-375-4969 
West Hall 315
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M 2:00-3:00; W 11:00-12:00; TH 3:00-4:00

Dr. Berenson is a Professor of Religion. Her primary interests are in biblical interpretation within both biblical and other ancient texts. Her published works include Flavius Philostratus Heroikos (SBL Press 2001), Flavius Philostratus On Heroes (SBL Press, 2001), and Philostratus's Heroikos: Religion and Cultural Identity in the Third Century C.E. (SBL Press, 2004).

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Dr. Brent Adkins
Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago

Office phone: 540-378-5152
West Hall 321
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M/W/F 1:10-2:10

Dr. Adkins is a Professor of Philosophy. His primary interests are 19th and 20th Century European philosophy, Modern Philosophy, and politics. His most recent books are Death and Desire in Hegel, Heidegger and Deleuze (2007) and True Freedom: Spinoza's Practical Philosophy (2009), and with Paul Hinlicky Rethinking Philosophy & Theology with Deleuze: A New Cartography (2013).  He is currently writing Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus: A Reader's Guide and Critical Introduction (2015).

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Dr. Paul Hinlicky
Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary

Office phone: 540-375-2454
West Hall 305
Office Hours: Fall 2020: TU/TH 2:50-4:20
Website: Dr. Hinlicky's page

Dr. Hinlicky came to Roanoke College after six years of service in post-communist Slovakia as a missionary professor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, of which he is an ordained minister. His background is in classical theology and modern continental philosophy. Committed to the tradition of Lutheran confessional theology, he is interested in developing an ecumenically-oriented Christian systematic theology and ethics. He is concerned to meet varied contemporary challenges, preeminently the scientific view of the history of the cosmos, the dangers of cultural nihilism, and the disunity of the churches.

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Dr. Marwood Larson-Harris
Ph.D., Boston University

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion
Office phone: 540-375-2083
West Hall 317
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M/W/F 10:50-11:50
Website: Dr. Larson-Harris' page

Dr. Larson-Harris is a Lecturer in Religion. He teaches Buddhism, Chinese Religions, Native American Religions, and Religion and Literature. His interests are in the ways that religious ideas shape literary and artistic culture, as well as how ancient Native American traditions continue to shape modern Native experience. He is currently working on a study of the Zen Oxherding Pictures and a book on Buddhism and Film.

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Dr. James Peterson
Ph.D., University of Virginia
Office phone: 540-375-4919
West Hall 307
Office Hours: Fall 2020: TU/TH 9:30-10:00
Website: Dr. Peterson's page

Dr. Peterson holds the Schumann Chair in Christian Ethics and is the Director of the Benne Center for Religion & Society. An ordained minister who has been a research fellow in molecular and clinical genetics, his most recent book, Changing Human Nature (Eerdmans 2010), examines the ethics of genetic intervention and has spurred invitations to lecture at universities from the University of British Columbia to Harvard to Oxford. Peterson is also the bioethicist for LewisGale Hospital, an adjunct professor for the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, editor-in-chief of the academic journal Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, and an elected member of the International Society for Science and Religion at Cambridge University.

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Dr. Melanie Trexler
Ph.D., Georgetown University
Office phone: 540-375-5266
West Hall 303
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M/W 3:30-4:30pm; TU 12:00-1:00pm

Melanie Trexler is an Assistant Professor of Religion. Her scholarly interests and research focus on Muslim-Christian relations in the U.S. and Arab world. She is particularly interested in the encounters between Muslims and Christians throughout history, examining the ways in which these encounters shape identity construction, religious ideas, political views, and interreligious engagement. Her most recent book is Evangelizing Lebanon: Baptists, Muslims, and the Question of Cultures (Baylor, 2016). Currently, she is researching the depictions of Muslims in comics, such as Ms. Marvel, to examine the ways in which Muslim identities are depicted and constructed through popular graphic mediums.

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Dr. Ned Wisnefske
Ph.D., University of Chicago
Office phone: 540-375-2372
West Hall 301
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M/W 4:00-4:30; TU 12:00-1:00

Prof. Wisnefske's most recent book in theology is God Hides: a critique of religion and a primer for faith.  In that book he argues that faith should not be understood as a result of spiritual seeking, but rather as rooted in moral living.  The thesis is that in order for us to serve our neighbor whom we see, and not seek God whom we do not see, God hides. 

He has also recently published a picture-story book for young adults entitled, The Ought.  The Ought is written for those who wonder where morals come from and whether we just make them up.  The book is an ethical quest to answer those questions.  Intriguingly illustrated, it brings these questions to life. He is currently working on "The Fate of the Universe and the Faith of Christians."  He claims that if the universe ends as scientists' suggest, Christian faith is false.  It is this very realization, however, that grounds Christian hope and moral life today. 

Dr. Hans Zorn
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Office phone: 540-375-2024
West Hall 309
Office Hours: Fall 2020: M/W 2:20-3:20; TU/TH 3:00-4:00

Dr. Zorn is Professor of Philosophy, has taught previously at the University of Toledo, the University of Notre Dame, and Valparaiso University. His primary areas of interest are the philosophy of religion, ancient and medieval philosophy, and metaphysics. He is particularly interested in the ways in which philosophers attempt to push the limits of thought to encompass what cannot be said.

Emeritus Faculty

Dr. Robert Benne
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Office phone: 540-375-2378
West Hall 324
Office Hours: contact for appointment

Dr. Benne is the founder of the Center for Religion and Society. He came to Roanoke from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago in 1982. He is a leading figure in Lutheran ethics and social thought. A selection of his publications illustrates his interests: The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism: A Moral Reassessment; Ordinary Saints: An Introduction to the Christian Life; The Paradoxical Vision: A Public Theology for the Twenty-first Century; Seeing is Believing: Vision of Life Through Film. He is currently working on a study of higher education in Lutheran and other Christian denominations.

Adjunct Lecturers

Dr. David Delaney
Office phone: 540-389-1000
Bittle Memorial Hall

Prof. Nick Montgomery
Office phone: 540-375-2083
West Hall 318