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Center for Judaic Studies

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Prof. Sarah Pessin

Sarah Pessin

Sarah Pessin
Director of the Center for Judaic Studies
Emil and Eva Hecht Chair in Judaic Studies
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Denver

Sturm Hall

Recent Updates

Sarah has been busy with a number of national presentations reflecting on and building upon her recently published book, Ibn Gabirol's Theology of Desire: Matter and Method in Jewish Medieval Neoplatonism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). This year, Sarah presented parts of her new book at the annual American Catholic Philosophical Association meeting, gave a paper on Greek and Jewish Neoplatonic conceptions of time as part of a Jewish mysticism conference at Rice University, "Eternity, Epoch, and Soul: Jewish Mystical Notions of Time," and presented a plenary paper on Jewish and Islamic philosophy as part of a prestigious medieval philosophy colloquium series at Catholic University of America.

In May 2014, Sarah organized and presented at a special Week of Jewish Philosophy featuring visiting scholars Leora Batnitzky (Princeton), Paul Franks (Yale), and Karin Nisenbaum (Toronto), and local scholars Elias Sachs (CU Boulder), Ted Vial (Iliff), Jere Surber (DU), and Carl Raschke (DU).

Sarah is currently editing the Jewish philosophy section for a new intercultural reader in medieval philosophy and working on a chapter on Medieval Islamic and Jewish Theories of Soul and Will for a new History of the Philosophy of Mind series. She recently completed an essay on "Islamic and Jewish Neoplatonisms" for a new Neoplatonism sourcebook, an essay on the philosophical implications of matter in Islamic philosophy for a new volume on Islamic philosophy, and an essay on Greek, Jewish, and Islamic traditions of "Ps. Empedoclean" metaphysics for an anthology on mereology (viz. the philosophy of parts and wholes). 

Continuing her work in modern Jewish thought, Sarah has recently completed an invited essay on apophatic Jewish theology for a new collection, as well as an invited auto-biographical reflection on the future of Jewish philosophy and theology for a new volume in her field. She also continues to give various presentations on Levinasian ethics at a number of gatherings related to the Holocaust Memorial Social Action Site.

Sarah also continues to be active in campus Inclusive Excellence efforts, including serving as the chair of the programming committee for the new " IRISE " project designed to address questions of in/equality at DU and beyond. 

Sarah annually co-organizes the Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions conference with Richard Taylor (Marquette University), offering scholars and students working in medieval philosophy an opportunity to share research on the intersection of ideas across Jewish, Islamic, and Christian medieval texts and traditions. This year the conference will be held at DU (June 8-10) and will feature a series of presentations and guided text studies on the work of the important 11th century Islamic philosopher, Avicenna (Ibn Sina).

Sarah will be giving three presentations in Milwaukee this March:

  1. Levinas and the Paradoxes of Justice , for the Milwaukee Jewish Studies Colloquium, The Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies, UW-Milwaukee
  2. Love in the Jewish Philosophical Tradition , for Philosophy in Support of Religion in the Abrahamic Traditions in the Middle Ages , Marquette University
  3. Participant in the  Averroes-Maimonides Roundtable , Marquette University


MA, Columbia University, New York

PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus