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Robert Benne

Robert Benne is Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus and Director of the Center for Religion and Society at Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia. He was Jordan-Trexler Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Roanoke for eighteen years. Prior to that he taught at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where he was Professor of Church and Society for seventeen years.

A native of Nebraska, Dr. Benne received his BA summa cum laude from Midland Lutheran College and his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Germany (Erlangen, 1959-60) and has done post-doctoral research at Hamburg University in Germany (1971-72) and at Cambridge University in England (1978-79, 1985-85, 1992-93) where he continues as a Visiting Fellow at St. Edmund's College.

He has authored eight books: Wandering in the Wilderness: Christians and the New Culture, 1971; Defining America: A Christian Critique of the American Dream, 1974; The Ethic of Democratic Capitalism: A Moral Reassessment, 1981; Ordinary Saints: An Introduction to the Christian Life, 1988; The Paradoxical Vision: A Public Theology for the Twenty-first Century, 1995; Seeing Is Believing: Visions of Life Through Film, 1998; Why Bother? A Whole Vision for a Whole People, 1999; and Quality With Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with their Religious Traditions, (Eerdmans, 2001).

He has also written over one hundred articles and reviews for many journals. He writes a regular column for The Cresset. His main interests focus on Christian ethics, social interpretation, and the character and mission of church-related institutions.

He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Woodrow Wilson, Rockefeller, and University of Chicago Fellow, an American Association of Theological Schools Grantee, a Franklin Clark Fry Fellow, a Siebert Foundation Fellow, a Virginia Laureate in Religion, and a Louisville Institute Fellow. He has lectured widely in American and European colleges, seminaries and universities. He has won both an Outstanding Professor Award (1985) and an Exemplary Professional Achievement Award (1991) at Roanoke College. His alma mater, Midland Lutheran College, honored him with its Alumni Achievement and Master Teacher Awards, elected him to its Athletic Hall of Fame, invited him to be its inaugural NEH Lecturer, and bestowed a Doctor of Humane Letters upon him in 1996. In the fall of 1998 he was appointed Senior Lilly Fellow in the Lilly Program for Humanities and the Arts based at Valparaiso University, where he spent the 1999-2000 academic year writing Quality with Soul.

He married Joanna Carson in 1959; they are the parents of four children and the grandparents of four.

Book List

2 items
Release date: 
June 18, 2003

Theologian and ethicist Robert Benne addresses the Christian life in its religious and moral dimensions by writing about the vocation of the Christian in daily...

Release date: 
February 1, 1995
Robert Benne elaborates a basic theological-–ethical framework for engaging the Christian vision with its surrounding public...