Sarah Pessin

Professor of Philosophy & Interfaith Chair • Department of Philosophy & Center for Judaic Studies • University of Denver

Recent goings on…

Some Recent Publications:

• Check out my Medium essays:

• “Redemption Without Blue Skies: Racialized Exception, Exclusion, and Exile in Fanon, Wilderson, Moten, and Rosenzweig, Political Theology 22(8): 744-752; DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002519

• “Rosenzweig for the Contemporary Moment,” co-authored with Elias Sacks, Political Theology 22(8), November 2021

• “Ibn Gabirol,” for The Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion, December 2021

• “Maimonides,” for The Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Religion, December 2021

• “Emanationist Powers: Plotinus, Theology of Aristotle, and Ibn Gabirol,” Oxford Philosophical Concepts: Powers, ed. Julia Jorati (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021).

Some Recent Presentations:

• “Sacred Bread, Sacred Body: From Kearney on “Eucharist of the Everyday” to Levinas on “Living From Bread”,” presentation for Judaism panel “Jewish Anatheisms,” American Academy of Religion, November 2021

• Co-curator/facilitator, Rosenzweig for the Contemporary Moment: A (Zoom) Roundtable Celebration of Star of Redemption’s 100th Anniversary, Political Theology Network, 2021

• “Levinas, Pause, Covenant-Eventality,” New Polis, Critical Conversations series, “The Politics of Pause: Struggling Over Speed for Better Futures” (online), 2021:

Some forthcoming articles:

“Liturgical Politics: Racism, Antisemitism, and the Drama of Word-Wounds,” Special Issue of Religions journal, “Jewish Thought in Times of Crisis,” eds. Elias Sacks and Andrea Dara Cooper

“Ibn Gabirol: Virtue, Sensation, and the Hidden Pulse of Receptivity,” Jewish Virtue Ethics, eds. Geoffrey Claussen and Alex Green (Albany: SUNY University Press)

“Jewish Emanationisms,” Oxford Handbook of Jewish Philosophy, eds. Paul Franks and Yitzhak Melamed (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

“Self-knowledge & the Horizon of Humility in Jewish Thought,” for Ax:son Johnson Foundation volume on Self Knowledge (Stolpe Publishing, Sweden).

“Chains, Trees, and Ibn Gabirol’s Spirit-to-Body Boundary: Substance, Spiritual Matter, and the Principle of Matter as Higher Cause,” in Solomon Ibn Gabirol: Sources, Doctrines, and Influence on Medieval Philosophy, eds. Nicola Polloni, Marienza Benedetto, and Federico Dal Bo (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols).

“When a Part is not a Part?: Hylomorphic Emanationist Mereology in Ibn Gabirol,” forthcoming in On What There Was: Parts and Wholes, edited by Andrew Arlig (Belgium: Brepols)

Some essays in-progress:

Update for “Ibn Gabirol” entry, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“Bonomythy in a Greco-Jewish Key: Pause, Prayer, and Paradox in Plotinus and Levinas,” special issue of Modern Theology journal, “Constructive Jewish Theology,” ed. Stephen Kepnes

“A Trace of Levinas: Wolfson’s Phenomenology of Vulnerable Learning,” Festschrift for Elliot R. Wolfson, eds. Susannah Heschel, Glenn Dynner, and Shaul Magid.

“Medieval Jewish Philosophy,” co-authoring with Peter Adamson, for The Routledge Companion to Jewish Philosophy, eds. Ty Goldschmidt and Daniel Rynhold (New York; London: Routledge)



  • Pause and Pardon: Early Levinas on Embodiment, Effort, and Excess
  • Uncomfortable Virtues: Seven Paths to Responsible Coexistence


  • Editor of “The Jewish Tradition,” in Medieval Philosophy: A Multicultural Reader, edited by Bruce V. Foltz, with foreword by Bernard McGinn, Part 4, pp. 367-530. London, New York, Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic, April 2019.
  • Author of Ibn Gabirol’s Theology of Desire: Matter and Method in Jewish Medieval Neoplatonism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Politics of Pause, w/ Ben Noys – New Polis – Levinas’ “covenant-evental pausality” @ 24:15-53:16)
How to ‘interfaith your calendar’ and other religiously inclusive tips for your workplace…
On the Neoplatonic Spirit/Body Boundary

Hate & Protect

In a “Politics of Responsibility” you have to protect people whose ideas you hate…

Levinas’ pause

A project in progress on phenomenologies of pardon and pause; read more about current Levinasian projects.


Roles include Interfaith Chair & Team Leader for DU’s Religious Inclusivity initiative and instigator of the “Interfaith Your Calendar” project!

Ibn Gabirol book

Read about Ibn Gabirol’s Theology of Desire (Cambridge 2013)


[some light numerological bibliomancy]

Medieval Videos

Some narrated explorations of cosmo-ontology in a Greco-Judeo-Islamic key.

Recent Research

Some recent, current, and forthcoming work.

Social Action Site

DU’s Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site aims to foster inclusivity & equity.

Interview on History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps

Episode 156 on Jewish Neoplatonism (30 mins, audio, 2013)

Interview on Colorado Public Radio

Discussion of “Hate & Protect” Project (13 mins, audio, 2018)

Blog post for Cambridge U Press

On why Neoplatonic cosmo-ontology is not “invisible topography” or a search for “invisible Kansases” (2013)

Interview on Ibn Gabirol book

On the New Books in Philosophy podcast (1 hr, 14 min, audio, 2014)

Featured in AAC&U Cover Story on Interfaith in Higher Ed

[Better religious inclusivity via calendaring best-practices!]

On Stage at Buntport Theater

[Repeat offender in the Great Debate, The Narrators, and other comedic formats!]

Mellon, IFYC, AACU, CIC Grantee

Interfaith Chair and Team Leader for Religious Inclusivity project @ DU with multiple recent interfaith grants.