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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
Phone: 303-871-7731

Recent Updates

Sarah is currently organizing a special Jewish Week of Philosophy for May 2014 featuring visiting scholars Leora Batnitzky (Princeton), Paul Franks (Yale), Karin Nisenbaum (Toronto), and Eli Sachs (CU Boulder). Stay tuned for more details.

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). In November, Sarah presented parts of her new book at the annual American Catholic Philosophical Association meeting, and 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." In October, Sarah presented a plenary paper on Jewish and Islamic philosophy as part of a prestigious medieval philosophy colloquium series at Catholic University of America. She also recently gave an author's talk as part of JCC's JAAMMfest entitled "Writing as Creation: From Human Being to Divine Desire in Ibn Gabirol."

On March 13, 2014 (5pm-6:30pm / Eaton Humanities, 250) Sarah will be presenting a paper for CU Boulder's Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS): "Divine Love in a Neoplatonic Key: Rethinking God (and the History of Ideas) from Greek, Islamic and Jewish Points of View." She will also participate this Spring in a Regis University panel on religious, philosophical, cultural, and civic approaches to food in connection with a screening of the film Fresh (for more information call 303-964-5517).

This Spring and Summer, Sarah will be editing the Jewish philosophy section for a new intercultural reader in medieval philosophy and participating in a summer metaphysics workshop. Continuing her work in comparative medieval philosophy, Sarah is also 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 also 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). Sarah also recently co-organized, with Richard Taylor (Marquette University), a DU meeting of the Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions conference which drew medieval philosophy scholars from around the world; the next gathering, focusing on the work of Al-Farabi, is scheduled at Marquette University for Summer 2014.

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.


MA, Columbia University, New York

PhD, The Ohio State University, Columbus