Westar Institute

Institutional Affiliation
Charter Member

Valerie Abrahamsen

Institutional Affiliation

Independent Scholar


Th.D., Harvard Divinity School M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School B.A., University of South Carolina


Valerie A. Abrahamsen is an independent scholar, lecturer and retreat leader living in southern Vermont. Her primary research interests are women in antiquity and New Testament archaeology, especially the site of Philippi, Greece. She is the author of Paranormal: A New Testament Scholar Looks at the Afterlife (self-published 2015; printed by Shires Press, Manchester Center, VT); Goddess and God: A Holy Tension in the First Christian Centuries (2006); and Women and Worship at Philippi: Diana/Artemis and Other Cults in the Early Christian Era (1995). She has published articles in The Oxford Companion to the Bible, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Names and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, and New Testament, Biblical Archaeologist and The Journal of Higher Criticism, and she is a book reviewer for Anglican and Episcopal History. She blogs bimonthly at http://wisdomwordsppf.org/ on social justice issues, early church history and paranormal research.Abrahamsen is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Archaeological Institute of America and appears in Who’s Who in America 2008, Who’s Who of Biblical Studies and Archaeology, and 2000 Outstanding Scholars of the Twentieth Century. She serves on the Boards of Estey Organ Museum (Brattleboro, Vermont) and the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and is an Associate of the Society of St. Margaret in Duxbury, Massachusetts. An active Episcopalian, she is a member of St. Michael’s in Brattleboro, Vermont, and served on the Bishop Discernment and Nominating Committee to choose the 11th Bishop of Vermont.

• Eisenstein Award, National Council of Independent Scholars, 2006• James Luther Adams Society, Harvard Divinity School, July 2000• Travel Grant to International Meetings, American Council of Learned Societies, 1995• Travel Grant, The Kittridge Foundation, 1990• Harvard Medical School, Certificate of Appreciation, 1986• Harvard Divinity School, Pfeiffer Fellowship, 1980• Harvard Divinity School, Pfeiffer Fellowship, 1979• University of South Carolina, French Government Award, 1974• University of South Carolina, Phi Beta Kappa, 1975

Academic Appointments

• Registrar and Director of Academic Support, Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, MA, 2008–2013• Registrar and Associate Dean for Academic Records, Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT, 2003–2007• Registrar, Roxbury Community College, Boston, MA, 2000–2002• Interim Bursar, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, MA, 2000• Registrar and Director of Institutional Research, Lasell College, Newton, MA, 1998–1999• Adjunct Faculty, Lasell College, Department of Humanities, 1999• Visiting Scholar, Andover-Newton Theological School, 1997–1998• Adjunct Faculty, Bunker Hill Community College, Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 1995–1998

Professional Service

• Society of Biblical Literature, New England Regional Meeting, Section Chairperson (Christian Origins), 1998• National Coalition of Independent Scholars, 1997–• American Academy of Religion, 1997–• New England Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Institutional Research Task Force, 1997–1999• Bunker Hill Community College, Registration Team, Integrated Support System Initiative, 1997• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Small Church Ministries Task Force, 1996–1998• National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Mass. State Advisory Board, 1995–1996• The Learning Channel, Archaeology series (Archaeological Institute of America), Consultant, 1995• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Anti-Racism Task Force, 1994–• National Endowment for the Humanities, Consultant, 1994–1997• American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 1994–1999• Society of Biblical Literature, International Meeting, Section Chairperson (Pagan and Christian Anxiety), Münster, Germany, 1993• Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Boston, Council, 1992–1994; co-chair, 1993• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Committee on Admission of Parishes and Missions, 1991–1993• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Congregation Resources and Development Commission, 1988-96; co-chair, 1995–1996• Archaeological Institute of America, 1988–• Society of Biblical Literature, New England Regional Meeting, Section Chairperson (New Testament), 1988• Society of Biblical Literature, New England Regional Meeting, Section Chairperson (New Testament), 1987• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Committee on Higher Education, 1987-1993• Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Cathedral School of Religion, 1987–1993• Society of Biblical Literature, New England Region, Secretary-Treasurer and Program Committee member, 1986–1989• Harvard Divinity School, Alumni/ae Council, 1986-91; Secretary, 1989–1991• Society of Biblical Literature, New England Region, Section on New Testament and Christian Origins, Grant evaluator, 1986–1989• Society of Biblical Literature, 1978–• Church of Our Redeemer, Lexington, MA, Vestry, 1978–1982• Fortress Press, Editorial Assistant, 1977, 1981