Portrait image of Verna Ehret
Verna Ehret

Chair, Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy; Professor

Contact Information

OFFICE: Preston 204
PHONE: 814-824-2532

Dr. Verna Marina Ehret is Professor of Religious Studies, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy, and Director of the Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics and Society (ELIES). Her primary fields of study are philosophical and constructive theology. Her most recent publications include a special issue of Religions on Narrative Theology and Religious Change, which is in the process of being converted to a book, and “Embodied Pedagogy: Ricoeur and Becoming Oneself” in Ricoeur and Pedagogy from Rowman and Littlefield, 2020. She is also the editor the Bulletin of the North American Paul Tillich Society, which is published twice a year. In her work with ELIES, Dr. Ehret provides Mercyhurst University and the Erie community with 4-6 lectures and panels each year on wide-ranging topics in ethics including: emerging technologies, environmental ethics, issues in social justice, and global issues. Dr. Ehret also runs an annual faculty development series for Mercyhurst faculty on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging through ELIES.  

In teaching, Dr. Ehret is particularly concerned with the ways understanding religion affects how we live in the world to promote cooperative and just societies. She therefore teaches not only the introductory course to Religious Studies and the Capstone Ethics course, but also courses in the history, sociology, and philosophy of religions. Dr. Ehret also has a special interest in the Exploratory Studies program at Mercyhurst, helping students in their first two years of study to find a direction for their education that best fits their goals.

About Dr. Verna Marina Ehret
    • Ph.D. - University of Iowa, Modern Religious Thought
    • M.A.R. - Yale Divinity School, Philosophy of Religion
    • B.A. - Hamline University, Philosophy
    • What Is Religion?
    • Islam
    • Religion and Politics
    • Contemporary Issues in Islam
    • Christology/Jesus the Christ
    • Philosophy of Religion
    • Globalized Religion
    • Religion and Violence
    • Evolving Religion
    • Religion and the Environment
    • Capstone Ethics
    • Special Topics: Atheism
    • Religious Studies Seminar
    • Senior Thesis
    • Organizational Inclusion and Belonging (Online, Graduate class)
    • Constructive Theology
    • Narrative Theology
    • Theological Humanism
    • Religion and Violence
    • Religion and Justice
    • Comparative Study of Religion
    • Dynamics of Religions

    • International Society for Religion, Literature, and Culture (ISRLC)
    • American Academy of Religion (AAR)
    • North American Paul Tillich Society (NAPTS)
    • Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion (EIR)
    • “Religion is not Violent: Tillich, Anxiety, and the Politics of Religious Violence” Book chapter for The Political Theology of Paul Tillich,forthcoming, Lexington Books.
    • Editor, North American Paul Tillich Society Bulletin 46(3-4) 2020, 47 (1-2), 2021, 48 (1-2) 2022, 48 (3-4) 2023. 
    • Guest editor, Religions special issue, Exploring Modern Religious Changes from the Perspective of Narrative Theology, August 2022. 
    • Review, Apocalypse Without God: Apocalyptic Thought, Ideal Politics, and the Limits of Utopian Hope. Journal of Church and State, Fall 2022
    • Co-editor, Tillich Research Series, DeGruyter Press, 2018-2022.
    • “Embodied Pedagogy: Ricoeur and Becoming Oneself,” Book chapter for Paul Ricoeur and the Hope of Higher Education in Studies in the Thought of Paul Ricoeur book series, Lexington Books, January 2021.
    • Book Review, The Body and Ultimate Concern in International Yearbook for Tillich Research, Fall 2020.
    • Wabash Faculty of Color Peer Mentoring Grant, 2019-2020
    • “Contemporary Religious Changes in the U.S.: Responses to the Fracturing of Religious Life” in Religions, April 2019.
    • Co-author “A collaborative approach for the teaching of the ethical and technological issues surrounding gene modification” in International Journal of Ethics Education, October, 2018.
    • “Imago Dei to Ciphers of Transcendence: Narrative Theology of the Integrity of Life” in Journal of Religion and Theology, June 2018.
    • “Transcontextual Narratives of Inclusion: Mediating Feminist and Anti-Feminist Rhetoric” in Religions, May 2018.
    • Book Review, The Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism in Journal of Religion and Violence, Vol. 6, No. 1,  2018
    • “The Courage of Liminality: Tillich and Theological Anthropology in Post-modernity” in Tillich Jahrbuch, October 2016.
    • “Supporting Students and Faculty of Color,” Ohio Northern University Faculty Development Series, February 2022.
    • “Tillich and Political Theology Book Panel,” NAPTS, November 2019.
    • “Data Integrity and Ethics in Planning: Examining Ethics through Case Study” workshop presented with Dyan Jones for The American Planning Association Pennsylvania Chapter regional meeting, October 2018.
    • “Performative Narrative, Communal Truth, and Gun Control” – International Society for Religion, Literature, and Culture, October 2018.
    • “Building Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom” Roundtable discussion, EIR AAR, May 2018.
    • “Public Discourse as Performative Narratives of Reconciliation” – AAR, November 2017.

    Dr. Ehret with co-panelists in a session on Tillich and Politics at the North American Paul Tillich Society. Dr. Ehret’s work is particularly concerned with the move from theory to practice and making scholarly writing both accessible and applicable to the world outside of academia.