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Faculty Profiles

Department: Philosophy, Religion & Classics

J. Lawrence BrasherJ. Lawrence Brasher

Denson N. Franklin Professor of Religion


Berte Humanities Building 316

Contact Information:

Box 549034
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-4863
Office Fax: n(205) 226-3089

Brief Career Background:

Program Coordinator, Program in the Humanities and Human Values, UNC-Chapel Hill  1987-1989 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Religios Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill 1987-1989 Associate Professor of Religion, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC,  1990-1999 Director, The Hobbie Center for Values and Ethics, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC,  1990-1999 Associate Professor of Religion, Birmingham-Southern College 1999-2003 Professor of Religion, Birmingham-Southern College, 2003-

Educational Background:

A.B., Duke University
M.Div., Yale University
Ph.D., Duke University

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • Religion/Spirituality and the Environment
  • Religion in North America
  • Popular and Folk Religion
  • Theology
  • Ethics
  • Spiritual Autobiography
  • Southern Studies
  • Botany
  • Ecology

Research Interests

My long-term interests are in religion in the South and in spirituality and the environment.  My doctoral research explored the holiness movement in the South at the turn of the twentieth century with particular interest in folk narratives and practices and their relationship to preaching.  My other strong interest is in sustainability and the environment and their relationship with religion and spirituality.  My research has treated the religious sensibilities of eighteenth-century French botanist and explorer of America, Andre Michaux, and I also conduct botanical research on the native flora of Alabama. 

Courses Taught:

RE 100 Ecospirituality and Environmental Sustainability (1)
An introduction to contemporary ecospirituality and environmental activism with a focus on environmental sustainability in Alabama. This course highlights the growing alliance between spiritual awareness and the environmental movement. Students will read works of ecocentric theologians and scientific literature on the ecology of Alabama, study organized environmental initiatives, and gain perspective from field trips and service-learning. Spring.

RE 201 Introduction to Christianity (1)
An historical-theological introduction to Christianity with special attention to the development of Protestantism. Fall, Spring.

RE 231 Religion and Society (1)
An examination of popular and folk religions–beliefs and practices that exist among the people, apart from and alongside the theological and liturgical forms of mainline religion.

RE 311 Christian Ethics (1)
An examination of the implications of Christian faith for contemporary ethical problems. Prerequisite: RE 201, 220, or consent.

RE 315 Contemporary Christian Theology (1)
A survey of the thought of certain leading theologians in the twentieth century. Particular attention is given to Barth, Tillich, and Bonhoeffer. Prerequisite: RE 201, 220, or consent.

RE 320 Religion and the Natural World (1)
An exploration of religious understandings of the natural environment, including such world views as ancient myths, animism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Native American traditions, contemporary popular nature worship, and the Judeo-Christian faith. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

RE 330 Religion in America (1)
An analysis of the impact of religious thought upon the development of American society. This course is taught by members of the faculties of religion and of history (an IC designated course). (Also listed as HI 330.)

RE 450 Religion and Politics in America (1)
An exploration of the relationship between Religion and Politics in America.  Emphasis is placed on the role of religion in American culture and how religion affects politics.  Also listed as HON 450, this course may be counted by Honors Program students.