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Michael Raposa

Michael Raposa

E. W. Fairchild Chair in American Studies


0031 - Williams Hall

1977, B.A. Yale University, cum laude (Philosophy; Religious Studies)

1977- 1978, University of St. Michael's College (University of Toronto)

1979, M.A.R. Yale Divinity School

1987, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

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Additional Interests

  • Philosophy of religion
  • Philosophical theology
  • American pragmatism
  • Contemporary Roman Catholicism


Michael L. Raposa joined the Department of Religion Studies at Lehigh in 1985. He has served as chair of the department on four separate occasions. From 2006-2008, he also served as associate dean for undergraduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Previously, Raposa taught for four years at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Raposa was born in Westport, Massachusetts and received his undergraduate education at Yale University. After a year of graduate study at the University of Toronto, he returned to Yale and completed his master's degree at the Divinity School there. In 1979, he entered the doctoral program in Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned the PhD in 1987.

Raposa's primary research and teaching interests fall within the areas of modern western religious thought and the philosophy of religion. His first book, published in 1989, explored the religious dimension of Charles S. Peirce's philosophy. In 1999, he published a book on the religious significance of boredom, its importance as both a threat and a stimulus to the spiritual life. Several years later, in 2003, Raposa published a volume devoted to the relationship between meditation and the martial arts, both the meditative aspect of certain martial exercises and the martial character of certain classical forms of spirituality.  Most recently, in 2020, he published a book entitled "Theosemiotic: Religion, Reading, and the Gift of Meaning," an application of Peirce's semiotic theory to certain issues in philosophical theology.

Raposa regularly teaches courses in the philosophy of religion, contemporary theology, Roman Catholic studies, American religious history, and the relationship between religion, science and technology. 

Raposa's wife, Mary Ellen (retired in 2021) was a counselor in Lehigh's Career Services center for many years; they raised three children, Daniel, Elizabeth, and Rosemary at their home in Northeast Bethlehem, about four miles from the university.

Raposa is a long distance runner, who enjoys running along the Lehigh River with family, friends and colleagues. He has also been a student of the martial arts since 1988, with a special interest in the Japanese art of aikido and the Chinese discipline of taijiquan.

For a detailed CV please click here

For a detailed CV please click here

Selected Publications

Peirce's Philosophy of Religion (Indiana, 1989)

 Boredom and the Religious Imagination (Virginia, 1999)

Meditation & the Martial Arts (Virginia, 2003)

Theosemiotic: Religion, Reading, and the Gift of Meaning (2020)


Rel 5 Spiritual Exercises in Religious Traditions 

Rel 124 Philosophy of Religion (Phil 124)

Rel 159 Roman Catholicism in the Modern World

Rel 174 Contemporary Theology

Rel 187 Science, Technology and the Religious Imagination 

Rel 224 Topics in the Philosophy of Religion (Phil 224)

Rel 347 American Religious Thinkers (Phil 347)