Roger S. Gottlieb

Roger S. Gottlieb is professor of philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He is the author or editor of fourteen books and more than 80 articles on environmentalism, religious life, contemporary spirituality, political philosophy, ethics, and disability. He is internationally known for his work as a leading analyst and exponent of religious environmentalism, for his passionate and moving account of spirituality in an age of environmental crisis, and for his innovative and humane description of the role of religion in a democratic society.

Gottlieb is editor of six academic book series, on the editorial boards of several journals, and contributing editor to Tikkun Magazine. Gottlieb's writings have appeared in top academic journals such as the Journal of Philosophy, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Conservation Biology, and Ethics; in popular publications such as E Magazine online, The Boston Globe, and Orion Afield; and in anthologies celebrating the best of Jewish writing, environmental ethics, religious life, spirituality, the Holocaust, and disability. Widely respected for his unique range of interests, combination of personal and political passion, clarity of writing, and originality, he is probably the only American intellectual to be reviewed or interviewed in publications as disparate as San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, Christianity Today, Philosophical Review, Journal of Harvard Divinity School, New Age Journal, Discover, Chronicle of Higher Education, Shambhala Sun, Common Boundary, The American Prospect, Socialism and Democracy, and Environmental Ethics.

For the last fifteen years Gottlieb has concentrated on the religious, spiritual, and ethical dimensions of the environmental crisis and on the place of religion in a democratic society. His anthology This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment is known internationally as the first comprehensive collection on the topic. His 1999 book, A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth was called by Protestant theologian John Cobb "a true spiritual guide for our day," and excerpted in Tikkun and Orion Afield. His 2002 book Joining Hands: Politics and Religion Together for Social Change received advance praise from Harvey Cox and Bill McKibben.

Gottlieb has two new books: The Sacrifice Zone: A Novel and Morality and the Environmental Crisis (Cambridge Univ. Press). Another recent work on religious environmentalism, A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and our Planet's Future and The Oxford Handbook on Religion and Ecology establishes him as the leading commentator and exponent of this unprecedented political, environmental, and religious movement. Bob Edgar, head of the National Council of Churches, said it provided "a bright picture of the faith community’s capacity for caring for God’s creation" and that following Gottlieb’s lead would help us "go a long way toward being more effective stewards of our fragile planet." Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, called it a "seminal book examining the emerging debate on environmental ethics among the world’s great faith traditions." Thomas Berry, one of the world’s leading ecotheologians said it offers "superb insight" and is a "most needed guide".

As a speaker Gottlieb combines intense analytic intelligence, a personal and humorously engaging style, and an inspiring message of personal responsibility, social change, and spiritual vision. Audiences from universities, churches, synagogues, and community and environmental organizations have found him a riveting presenter whose message resonates long after his formal presentation is done and can lead people to act as well as think and feel.

He lives in Boston with his wife, noted psychotherapist and author Miriam Greenspan, and shares in the care of his daughters, Anna and Esther. The spiritual and political dimensions of his relation to Esther, who has multiple disabilities, forms part of Chapter 8 of Joining Hands.

Updated: May 27, 2021

Contributing Editor: Tikkun Magazine
Book Review Editor: Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Journal of Socialist Ecology
Leadership Council: Religious Witness for the Earth
Editorial Boards: Social Theory and Practice; Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion; Journal of the Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture

William B. Smith Dean’s Professor of Philosophy
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Religious Affiliation: 
Jewish Renewal




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