Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Religious Studies


Professor P. Travis Kroeker


This thesis contributes to the discussion of two questions central to the scholarly study of the work of Emmanuel Levinas: the question of the nature of his hermeneutics, and the question of the relationship between his philosophy and his religion. The thesis consists of an extended examination of how and why Levinas reads certain of the sources of Judaism. I watch him utilizing images, ideas and quotation from the Bible, Kabbalah and Talmud in support of his larger philosophical project, a project which consists mainly of polemic against modern ontology -- philosophical and political -- and against the hermeneutic of reification which supports that ontology. The Bible, Kabbalah and Talmud become, in Levinas' reading, weapons in a battle against Hegelianism, Nazi totalitarianism, and modern progressivist liberalism: or, more precisely, they come to represent ways of turning away from the battles these structures inscribe towards a prophetic peace.

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