sarahpessin@sarahpessin.com

Research

I work in a range of interdisciplinary and intercultural areas of thought, from popular to technical and from ancient to contemporary. In one way or another, all of my research examines the complexity of the human condition, the space between memory and hope, the gift of ethical encounter, and the intricacies of human meaning-making.

You can find a partial list of some of my more recent and in-progress publications and presentations below.

Reflections on politics and the human condition for a wide readership

Civic action and intercultural bridge-building for the public good

Academic work in philosophies of religion, race, ethics, politics

Academic work in Greek, Islamic, Jewish, and Christian Neoplatonisms

Books in Progress:

  • Pause and Pardon: Early Levinas on Embodiment, Effort, and Excess
  • Uncomfortable Virtues: Seven Paths to Responsible Coexistence
  • Hope/less Pardon (Panui Press)

Some Recent Publications:

Check out my Medium essays: https://medium.com/@sarahpessin

“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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3fe-zt_jhU

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)

Author of Ibn Gabirol’s Theology of Desire: Matter and Method in Jewish Medieval Neoplatonism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
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.

Some Works in Progress:

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

“Paradoxes of Compresence,” for new volume on Divine Contradictions, edited by Behnam Zolghadr and Graham Priest

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)