Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Levinas, Emmanuel

  • David M. GoodmanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_838

Emmanuel Levinas (1906–1995) was a Talmudist, ethicist, and continental philosopher whose thought has left a lasting imprint on contemporary philosophy and theology. His sophisticated ethical system that understands the self to be radically responsible for the Other has challenged conventional theories of selfhood, subjectivity, consciousness, ethics, metaphysics, language, and social relations. Furthermore, his ethical philosophy is beginning to find its way into psychological discourse concerning psychotherapy, human development, and definitions of selfhood.

Levinas was born in Kaunas (a.k.a. Kovno), Lithuania, in 1906 to a moderately affluent, Orthodox Jewish family. In his formative years, he was educated in traditional Hebrew school and was also heavily influenced by the work of Russian novelists such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. In 1923, Levinas traveled to Strasbourg, France, for formal education in philosophy. Shortly after, he went to Freiburg, Germany, where he studied...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolLesley UniversityCambridgeUSA