Roland Boer is director of the Faculty of Education and Arts' Religion, Marxism and Secularism project. Boer was recently awarded the prestigious Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Prize for In the Vale of Tears (Brill and Haymarket, 2014). It is the final book in a seminal five-volume series, The Criticism of Heaven and Earth. that offers critical commentary on the tradition of interactions between Marxism and theology. He has found ready engagement especially in China, where much of his work has been translated or has appeared first in Chinese. A frequent visitor and teacher in China, with close collaborative links, he is deeply interested in the way Marxism is still very much the dominant political ideology, but with a distinct and unique development in terms of "Chinese characteristics."
The Criticism of Heaven and Earth series is part of a wider program of Boer's academic work. In 2012, he was awarded a prestigious Discovery Projects grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC), his fifth grant from the national body, to pursue a novel line of research on Lenin's interactions with religion. In 2013, he was awarded his sixth ARC Discovery Project grant for The Sacred Economy, which undertakes a wholesale reconstruction of the Bible's ancient economic context. The project is framed theoretically by the Marxian Régulation School of economic theory, Soviet-era studies, and works of ancient-world economists. The Sacred Economy will be published in the authoritative Library of Ancient Israel series with Westminster John Knox Press in early 2015.