Professor Gottlieb
Salisbury Labs 04
Ph.D., Philosophy, Brandeis University
B.A., Brandeis University

Roger S. Gottlieb is a William B. Smith Professor at WPI, and the author or editor of over twenty 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, Real Clear Religion, and many others. Three of his books received Nautilus Book Awards: Engaging Voices and 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 Globe, Orion Afield, Los Angeles Review of Books); 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.” 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 focus on the environmental crisis has also taken a fictional turn: 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.

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.

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?

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.

Visit Digital WPI to view student projects and research advised by Professor Gottlieb.

Scholarly Work

Professor Gottlieb's research focuses on Environmental Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, Religious Environmentalism, and Contemporary Spirituality.

Featured works:

Gottlieb, R. S. (2021). Theology and Religion Online—Religion, Nature, and Disability. Bloomsburg Religion in North America.

Gottlieb, R. S. (2020). The Sacrifice Zone: A Novel, Atmosphere Press.

Gottlieb, R. S. (2019). Morality and the Environmental Crisis. Cambridge University Press.

Gottlieb, R. S. (2014). Political and Spiritual: Essays on Religion, Environment, Disability, and Justice. Rowman & Littlefield.

Gottlieb, R. S. (2013). Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters. Oxford Academic.


Professional Highlights & Honors
Silver Nautilus Book Award for Fiction, 2022 - "The Sacrifice Zone: A Novel",

William B. Smith Dean’s Professor of Philosophy, 2021,

Silver Nautilus Book Award for Fiction, 2013 - "Engaging Voices: Tales of Morality and Meaning in and Age of Global Warming",

Silver Nautilus Book Award for Religion/ Spirituality, 2013 - "Spirituality: What it Is and Why it Matters",

Prophetic Witness Award, 2011,
Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light
Outstanding Book of the Year, Most Likely to Save the Planet, 2020 - "Morality and the Environmental Crisis",
Independent Publisher Book
Fellow 1980-81,
National Endowment for the Humanities
Presented multiple workshops, panels, and keynote addresses at National Meetings,
American Academy of Religion & American Philosophical Society


2018’s Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities

WalletHub spoke to Roger Gottlieb, professor of philosophy, about the many financial and physical challenges faced by people living with disabilities for a story about the “2018 Best and Worst Cities for People with Disabilities.”