Bio of Roger S. Gottlieb

Roger S. Gottlieb is a William B. Smith Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and the author or editor of twenty-one books and more than 150 articles.

He is internationally known for his work on religious environmentalism, spirituality in an age of environmental crisis, environmental ethics, and the role of religion in a democratic society. He has edited six academic book series, serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals, is contributing editor to Tikkun Magazine, and has appeared online on Patheos, Huffington, Grist, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, Real Clear Religion, and many others. Three of his books received Nautilus Book Awards: Engaging Voices, Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters, and most recently The Sacrifice Zone: A Novel.

Gottlieb’s writings have appeared in top academic journals (e.g. The Journal of Philosophy; Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Ethics); popular publications (e.g., E Magazine online, The Boston GlobeOrion Afield,; and in anthologies celebrating the best of Jewish writing, environmental ethics, religious life, spirituality, the Holocaust, and disability.

Gottlieb’s work on the environmental crisis includes This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, the first comprehensive collection on the topic. A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth won praise from Elie Wiesel and Protestant theologian John Cobb. A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and our Planet’s Future was endorsed by the heads of both the Sierra Club and the National Council of Churches.

Morality and the Environmental Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2019) was called by environmental ethicist Larry Rasmussen “The best book on the subject” and political theorist Paul Wapner “a generous, gem of a book.” Independent Publisher Magazine said it was “the book most likely to save the planet.” Here Gottlieb describes the unprecedented moral predicament created by the environmental crisis: how to be a good person when our collective and individual actions contribute to immeasurable devastation and suffering.

Gottlieb’s fictional work shares a focus on the environmental crisis: Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in an Age of Global Warming, is a collection of short stories exploring moral, political, intellectual, and spiritual dilemmas provoked by the environmental crisis. The Sacrifice Zone, Gottlieb’s first novel, explores the intersections of environmental despair, environmental activism, heroin addiction and Buddhist meditation. It asks: how can we live with grace and love in the face of suffering we cannot cure in our families and our world?

Spirituality: What it is and Why it Matters (Oxford University Press, 2012) examines the promises and perils of spiritual life as understood both within and outside of traditional faiths, and offers insightful studies of spirituality’s relation to modern medicine, nature and the environmental crisis, and political activism.

Political and Spiritual: Essays on Religion, Environment, Disability, and Justice brings together Gottlieb’s most powerful essays on these and related themes, as well as new essays on technology, death, and a fascinating intellectual autobiography.

As a public speaker, Gottlieb offers universities, religious groups, and community and environmental organizations a unique combination of an intense analytic intelligence, a personal and humorously engaging style, and an inspiring message of personal responsibility, social change, and spiritual vision.