Richard B. Miller

Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Religious Ethics




PhD, University of Chicago, 1985


Professor Miller is a scholar of religion and ethics, which he explores in an interdisciplinary, critical, and comparative way.  Miller’s interests include political ethics, theory and method in religious ethics, social criticism, and practical reasoning in ethics.  Working with sources both classical and contemporary, Miller examines how normative claims that are generated by religious thought and practice provide guides to human conduct in personal and public life, and he does so in critical dialogue with moral and political philosophy.  He is the author of Interpretations of Conflict: Ethics, Pacifism, and the Just-War Tradition (University of Chicago Press, 1991); Casuistry and Modern Ethics: A Poetics of Practical Reasoning (University of Chicago Press, 1996); Children, Ethics, and Modern Medicine (Indiana University Press, 2003), and Terror, Religion, and Liberal Thought (Columbia University Press, 2010).  In addition, he has edited War in the Twentieth Century: Sources in Theological Ethics (Westminster/John Knox Press, 1992).  His new book, Friends and Other Strangers: Studies in Religion, Ethics, and Culture charts and expands the field of religious ethics by exploring the implications of taking a cultural turn in the humanities and social sciences (Columbia University Press, 2016).  His essays have appeared in the Journal of Religion, the Journal of Religious Ethics, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Ethics and International AffairsHarvard Theological Review, and Theological Studies.

With his faculty colleagues in Religious Ethics, Miller has launched a new initiative at the Divinity School—a two-year cycle of readings, “Minor Classics in Ethics,” focusing on recent essays that have revitalized forgotten themes or have posed new questions for moral philosophers and religious ethicists to take up. Miller’s courses are organized so that students can situate arguments, theories, or concepts within a larger historical and intellectual arc.  He is currently at work on two research projects: a critical monograph on theory and method in the academic study of religion, and an intellectual history of “nature” in early modern and modern critical discourses about religion.   

In the 2016-17 academic year Professor Miller is presenting work at the University of Virginia, Boston University, the College of William and Mary, Oregon State University, and Villanova University on topics related to the ethics of war, biomedicine, social criticism, and  the ethics of Religious Studies.

(773) 702-7252
Swift 202
Areas of study: 

Current and Upcoming Courses

Religious Ethics

RETH 30100 Minor Classics in Ethics

RETH 30100 Minor Classics in Ethics

RETH 30100 Minor Classics in Ethics

RETH 30802 Contemporary Religious Ethics I

RETH 30803 Contemporary Religious Ethics II

RETH 30904 Minor Classics in Ethics

RETH 43302 The Ethics of Belief

RETH 45102 Religion, Medicine, and Ethics

RETH 45502 Religion and the Political Order

RETH 52104 Augustine, Kierkegaard, and the Problem of Love