Valerie Abrahamsen's picture
Primary Discipline

Primary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyReligious StudiesChristianity Studies
Secondary Discipline

Secondary Discipline: 

  • Old HierarchyInterdisciplinary


I completed masters and doctoral studies in New Testament and Early Christian Origins at Harvard Divinity School and have remained active in my fields for nearly four decades. I worked as an academic administrator, mainly as a registrar, at a number of colleges in Massachusetts and Vermont. I reluctantly retired in late 2017 after my job was eliminated suddenly in 2013 and I was unsuccessful landing a new position. For three years, I conducted research on the survival of the soul after death and self-published my book, Paranormal, in 2015. In October 2015, I launched a website, WisdomWordsPPF, and have been posting evidence-based blogs once a week in three areas: my scholarly research on women in antiquity, New Testament, and early church history; social justice issues from a progressive, feminist perspective; and insights from Paranormal. I am now giving lectures and leading discussions, retreats and workshops at retirement communities, churches, colleges, libraries, conference centers and other venues, and I volunteer for Estey Organ Museum in Brattleboro, Vermont; the United Way of Windham County; and the Episcopal Church in Vermont.

Current research areas: 

For blog posts: social justice issues, especially how other Western democracies solve problems that we in the US seem unable to solve. For lectures and discussions: the women around St. Paul. For retreats: the worship and legacy of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Recent scholarly activity: 

Review, Cohick, Lynn H. and Amy Brown Hughes, Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through Fifth Centuries (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017), in Anglican and Episcopal History, in progress.

Recent publications: 

Review, Elizabeth A. Johnson, editor, The Strength of Her Witness: Jesus Christ in the Global Voices of Women (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2016), in Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 86, No. 4 (December 2017) 447-49
Review, John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Edition; Foreword by Mark D. Jordan; Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 2015), in Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 86, No. 4 (December 2017) 482-84
Review, Rebecca Moore, Women in Christian Traditions (New York and London: New York University Press, 2015), in Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 86, No. 3 (September 2017) 349-51

Forthcoming research: 

Review, Catherine M. Chin and Caroline T. Schroeder, editors, Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2017), in Anglican and Episcopal History, submitted

Other activities: 

Member, Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee, the Episcopal Church in Vermont.
Vice President and Docent Coordinator, Estey Organ Museum, Brattleboro, Vermont

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National Coalition of Independent Scholars