Emmanuel Levinas

(2345 words)
  • Emily Brooker Langston (St John’s College, Annapolis)

Emmanuel Levinas, a Lithuanian Jewish philosopher whose adoptive homeland was France, formed a critique of the philosophical tradition of the West for its suppression of alterity and proclaimed the priority of ethics over ontology. He was also active throughout his life in the Jewish community, and produced a rich body of work arising out of this commitment.

Levinas was born in Kovno (Kaunas), Lithuania, on December 30th, 1905, by the Julian calendar used in the Russian empire at the time – January 12, 1906 by our calendar. However it is December 30th that he always considered to be his birthday. He was immersed from an early age both in Torah and in the greatest Russian writers. His boyhood was marked b…

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Citation:
Langston, Emily Brooker. "Emmanuel Levinas". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 August 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=2711, accessed 01 August 2014.]