Roanoke College

Two Roanoke College faculty members publish religion books

  • Two Roanoke College faculty members publish religion books

  • 03/23/11
  • SALEM, Va.-Two Roanoke College faculty members have published books recently, Dr. Robert Benne, director of the Center for Religion and Society, and Dr. Gerald McDermott, Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion.  

    Dr. Robert Benne's eleventh book is Good and Bad Ways to Think about Religion and Politics. This book explores the negative ways religion and politics are often discussed in a variety of mediums. It also argues that there is a better way to address these two topics, which neither separates the two nor fuses them. Benne stresses that "religion and politics, different than the separation of church and state, should neither be separated nor fused. They relate dialectally, I call it 'critical engagement,' in which religious convictions play an important but indirect role in the formation of public policy." 

    Benne, who is the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus, is a leading national 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; and Quality with Soul:  How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with their Religious Traditions.

    McDermott is the editor of the recently released book, The Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology. This 500-page tome enlists thirty leading evangelical theologians from around the world to address compelling themes and questions facing Christians today. McDermott said his goal was "to gather the best evangelical thinkers to assess what the Christian tradition has said about their topics and then propose future directions." McDermott worked on this publication-his twelfth-and a yet-to-be-released 800-page book on Jonathan Edwards while on sabbatical last year.

    McDermott started teaching at Roanoke College in 1989. He teaches courses in American religion, history of world Christianity, Jonathan Edwards, Christian theology of the religions, and others. 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, and other theological issues.

    Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is the nation's second oldest Lutheran college. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as one of the "Best 376 Colleges" in its 2012 guidebook, which includes the top nine percent of colleges, and U.S. News & World Report ranks Roanoke the number seven "Up-and-coming National Liberal Arts College."

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