95668 - Philosophy of Religion (Lm)

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

a) Disciplinary characterization Unlike sciences of religions, philosophy of religion is a discipline that does not deal with the religious phenomenon as an “object” of inquiry, nor does it intend to thematise the “religious subject”, whether it be God or the divine in its various manifestations, but addresses the experiential dimension as a terrain for questioning the ways in which human being interprets his relationship with the world and with the sense of transcendence. In this context, religious experience is of particular importance, insofar as it shows a specificity that cannot be reduced to other forms of experience and with respect to which a hermeneutic exercise, which is addressed to some particularly relevant concepts (truth, transcendence, sacred, divine), is possible. In order to understand the various aspects of religious experience, philosophy of religion can make use of the conceptual tools offered by different philosophical perspectives (phenomenological, hermeneutic, ontological, ethical). b) Methodology, knowledges and educational objectives The purpose of the teaching of Philosophy of Religion is to acquire knowledge and critical-analytical tools that allow to understand religious experience in its theoretical-conceptual articulation, both as a historical and symbolic phenomenon (with its social and political implications) and as an existential modality, in a transcultural perspective. To this end, it is necessary to know the basic vocabulary of the discipline, to have critically assimilated its fundamental concepts and to be able to discuss its contents. This objective is pursued through the adoption of different methods, such as historical-philosophical reconstruction, conceptual elaboration, exegesis and hermeneutics of the text.

Course contents

Course title: The Other in Levinas’s Thought

The course will examine Emmanuel Levinas’s philosophy, with particular reference to “Totality and Infinity”, in which the issue of alterity is developed through a comparison with Husserl’s phenomenology and Heidegger’s thought. Among the topics covered are: metaphysics and transcendence; the Same and the Other; the idea of Infinity; the face; separation and ethical relation; the trace of the other.

The first five lessons will be dedicated to an introduction to the philosophy of religion, while in the following lessons the context in which the Levinasian thought is placed will be outlined and the above mentioned issues will be addressed.

Course timetable: the course is scheduled in the second semester; 3rd period: Monday 13-15 (Lecture room II, via Zamboni 38), Tuesday 11-13 (Lecture room VI, via Zamboni 38), Wednesday 15-17 (Lecture room C, via Centotrecento); 4th period: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 15-17 (Lecture room C, via Centotrecento)

Course start date: January 30th, 2023


E. Levinas, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, Nijhoff, The Hague-Boston-London 1979.

E. Levinas, The Trace of the Other, in M. Taylor (ed.), Deconstruction in Context, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1986, pp. 345-359.

E. Levinas, God and Philosophy, in Collected Philosophical Papers, Kluwer, Dordrecht-Boston-Lancaster 1987, pp. 153-173.

A. Fabris, Filosofia delle religioni. Come orientarsi nell’epoca dell’indifferenza e dei fondamentalismi, Carocci, Roma 2012.

G. Ferretti, La filosofia di Levinas. Alterità e trascendenza, Rosenberg & Sellier, Torino 2010 (optional).

J. Greisch, Le Buisson ardent et les Lumières de la raison. L’invention de la philosophie de la religion. III. Vers un paradigme herméneutique, Cerf, Paris 2004 (optional).

Text recommended for non-attending students:

G. Ferretti, La filosofia di Levinas. Alterità e trascendenza, Rosenberg & Sellier, Torino 2010.

The slides used in the lessons will be available in the online material.

Teaching methods

Lectures; reading and commenting of texts; discussion on the main issues covered in the course.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview, which will assess the knowledge of the texts and the ability to critically discuss the proposed issues.

Grade assessment criteria:

30 cum laude: Excellent, both in knowledge and in the critical and expressive articulation.

30: Very good. Complete, well-articulated and correctly expressed knowledge, with some critical insights.

27-29: Good. Comprehensive and satisfactory knowledge, substantially correct expression.

24-26: Fairly good. Knowledge is present in the main points, but it is not comprehensive and not always correctly articulated.

21-23: Sufficient. Sometimes superficial knowledge, but the common thread is understood. Incomplete and often inappropriate expression and articulation.

18-21: Almost sufficient. Superficial knowledge, the common thread is not understood with continuity. Expression and articulation have significant gaps.

Not sufficient: Absent or very incomplete knowledge, lack of orientation in the discipline, defective and inappropriate expression.

Teaching tools

PowerPoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Sebastiano Galanti Grollo