Religion & Philosophy Faculty


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

Office phone:(540) 378-5152
West 321
Office Hours: 10:10 - 11:40am, Tue, Thu

Dr. Adkins is an Associate 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).

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

Office phone: (540) 375-2378
West 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.

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

Office phone: (540) 375-2454
West 305
Office Hours: 12:00 - 1:00pm, Mon, Wed, Fri
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.

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

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion
Office phone: (540) 375-2083
West 318
Office Hours: 1:10 - 2:10pm, Mon; 1:00 - 2:30pm, Tue, Thu
Website: Dr. Larson-Harris' page

Dr. Larson-Harris is a Teaching Associate of 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.

Dr. Gerald McDermott
Ph.D., University of Iowa

Office phone: (540) 375-2375
West 309
Office Hours: 9:00 - 10:00am, Tue, Wed, Thu
Website: Dr. McDermott's page

 Dr. McDermott started teaching at Roanoke College in 1989.
He teaches courses in American religion, history of world Christianity, Jonathan Edwards, and the theology of the religions. His scholarship has been devoted to the relationship of faith and serious illness, how Christians should think about the world religions, the American theologian Jonathan Edwards, Mormonism, and other theological issues. The author of fifteen books, his most recent are A Trinitarian Theology of Religions (Oxford University Press, 2014), The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford University Press, 2012), Christianity Today awarded The Theology of Jonathan Edwards their top prize for books in theology/ethics for 2013.

Dr. James Peterson
Ph.D., University of Virginia
Office phone: (540) 375-4919
West 307
Office Hours: 11:00am - 12:00pm, Tue, Thu
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.

Dr. Monica Vilhauer
Ph.D., New School for Social Research

Office phone: (540) 375-2458
West 317
Office Hours: on leave Spring 2015

Dr. Vilhauer is Associate Professor of Philosophy. Her primary interests are in ethics, social-political philosophy, feminist philosophy, ancient philosophy, and 19th and 20th Century European philosophy. She is the author of the book Gadamer's Ethics of Play: Hermeneutics and the Other (Lexington Books, 2010), and she is currently working on a new book project on Plato and desire.

Dr. Ned Wisnefske
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Office phone: (540) 375-2372
West 301
Office Hours: 2:30 - 3:30pm, Mon, Fri; 1:10 - 2:10pm, Tue

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 315
Office Hours: 2:20 - 3:20pm, Mon, Wed; 3:00 - 4:00pm, Tue, Thu

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.

Visiting Faculty

Prof. Holly Jordan
Office phone: (540) 375-5266
West 303
Office Hours: 9:30 - 10:30am, Mon, Wed, Fri

Professor Jordan comes to Roanoke College with interests in religion and conflict. She is currently finishing her PhD at Virginia Tech in Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought. After completing her MA in Religion at the University of Georgia, Professor Jordan taught at various colleges, including Radford University, Virginia Tech, and Eastern West Virginia Community College. Recent publications and presentations illustrate her interests: "The Impossible Pit: Satan, Hell, and Teaching Doctor Who," "Hannah Arendt: Why Now?," "Jewish and Muslim Stereotypes in Children's and Youth Films," "Black, Poor, and Jewish: The Ostracism of Ethiopian Jews in Modern Israel." You can learn more about her on her website:


Prof. Samuel Gantt
Office phone: (540) 375-2083 x1
West 313
Office Hours: 3:20 - 4:20pm, Mon, Fri


Oxford University Press publishes fifth book by Roanoke professor

Oxford University Press publishes fifth book by Roanoke professor

The book, co-authored by Dr. Gerald McDermott, evaluates Christians' treatment and debates about other religions and proposes a direction for the future.

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