Marlin Directory

PaulB. Rasor

Paul B. Rasor

Joan P. and Macon F. Brock Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of
Religious Freedom and Professor Emeritus, Interdisciplinary Studies


Paul came to Virginia Wesleyan in May 2005. He has a wide-ranging background that includes religion, law and music. He holds a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard, as well as a law degree (J.D.) and a music degree (B. Mus.) from the University of Michigan. He is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. Paul's professional career includes six years of law practice in New Mexico and three years of church ministry in Lexington, MA, near Boston. His academic career includes 14 years as a full-time law professor at three different law schools, as well as 9 years teaching theology and religious studies at a range of institutions, including Andover Newton Theological School, Harvard Divinity School, and Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center. He has published widely in both law and theology; his latest books are From Jamestown to Jefferson: The Evolution of Religious Freedom in Virginia (2011, co-edited), and Reclaiming Prophetic Witness: Liberal Religion in the Public Square (2012). He has also received teaching awards from two universities. Paul has also been active in various forms of community service. He went to El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua several times during the war years of the 1980's, doing both educational and human rights work. He is a classical and a jazz trombonist, and has played with several symphony orchestras as well as small jazz combos.  He has also performed as an actor in several plays at Virginia Wesleyan and elswhere.

  • Reclaiming Prophetic Witness: Liberal Religion in the Public Square (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2012).
  • From Jamestown to Jefferson: The Evolution of Religious Freedom in Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2011) (co-editor)
  • "The War Discourses of William Ellery Channing: Pacifism and Just War in Antebellum Religious Liberalism," Journal for the History of Modern Theology/Zeitschrift für neuere Theologiegeschichte vol. 17 (2010):35-72.
  • "Identity, Covenant, and Commitment," in John Gibb Millspaugh, ed., A People So Bold (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2009).
  • "Theological and Political Liberalisms," Journal of Law and Religion vol. 24 (2009):433-462.
  • "Forward," in Frederic John Muir, ed., The Whole World Kin: Darwin and the Spirit of Liberal Religion (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2009).
  • Review of Rex Ahdar and Ian Leigh, Religious Freedom in the Liberal State (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005), in Journal of Church and State vol. 50 (2008):359-61.
  • "Beyond Just War and Pacifism: Toward a Unitarian Universalist Theology of Prophetic Nonviolence," Journal of Liberal Religion vol. 8 (2008).
  • "Postmodernity, Globalization, and the Challenge of Identity in Liberal Theology," in Clifford M. Reed and Jill K. McAllister, eds., The Home We Share: Globalization, Post-Modernism and Unitarian/Universalist Theology (Caerphilly, Wales: International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, 2007):57-73.
  • Review of Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon, God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives (Georgetown University Press, 2005), in Journal of Church and State vol. 48 (2006):897-98.
  • Faith Without Certainty: Liberal Theology in the 21st Century (Boston: Skinner House, 2005).
  • "The Postmodern Challenge to Liberal Theology," Unitarian Universalist Christian vol. 58 (2003):5-56.
  • "Reclaiming Our Prophetic Voice: Liberal Theology and the Challenge of Racism," in Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley and Nancy Palmer Jones, eds., Soul Work: Anti-Racist Theologies in Dialogue (Boston: Skinner House Books, 2003):105-123.
  • "Intersubjective Communication and the Self in Wieman and Habermas," American Journal of Theology and Philosophy vol. 21 (September, 2000):269-287.
  • “The Self in Contemporary Liberal Religion: A Constructive Critique,” Journal of Liberal Religion 1 (1999):1-23.
  • “Biblical Roots of Modern Consumer Credit Law,” Journal of Law and Religion 10 (1993):157-92.

Renaissance Men
Weiss, Rasor honored May 9 at faculty retirement reception, tree planting