Professor Contact Areas of Interest

Photo of Robert Gibbs
Department for the Study of Religion
170 St George Street
Toronto, ON  M5R 2M8
  • Jewish thought
  • Phenomenological tradition
  • German idealism
  • Higher Education
  • Philosophy of Law
  • French postmodern literary theory
  • Social theory
  • Existentialism
  • Pragmatism


BA (Yale), MA, PhD (Toronto)

Robert Gibbs recently completed a 10-year term as Inaugural Director of the Jackman Humanities Institute. He is a Professor of Philosophy and of Religion. He served as a member of the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and Chair of its Programs and Quality Committee, and was a member of the International Advisory Board of CHCI (Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes).

His current research focuses on Higher Education, and he has recently completed a book-length manuscript, The University in Question: Ideas in Dialogue. In it, he inquires what a Research University is for and explores different models of universities by refocusing on the research capacities of students.

His previous research is located on the borderlines of Philosophy and Religion, with a comparative and historical focus on Law and Ethics. He has worked on Ethics in relation to the modern Jewish philosophical tradition and has numerous publications in this and in related fields in continental philosophy.


Selected Publications


2000Why Ethics? Signs of Responsibilities, (Princeton: Princeton University Press) 2000. 400 pp.

1998.  Reasoning After Revelation: Postmodern Jewish Philosophy,  co-authored with Steven Kepnes and Peter Ochs. (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press). 161pp.

1992.  Correlations in Rosenzweig and Levinas, (Princeton: Princeton University Press), (Paperback, 1994) 281 pp.

Edited Books

 2006. Hermann Cohen’s Ethics, Leyden: Brill.

2002.  Suffering Religion, co-edited with Elliot R. Wolfson, London: Routledge.


2015. “Mending the Code” in Jew and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought, ed. Elliot N. Dorff and Laruie Zoloth, Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 342-74.

2012. “Grammar of the Laws” in The Weimar Moment: Liberalism, Political Theology and Law, ed. Leonard Kaplan Rudy Koshar, Lanham, MA: Lexington Books, 371-392.

2010. “The Name of God in Levinas’ Philosophy” Saintly Influence: Edith Wyschogrod and the Possibilities of Philosophy of Religion, ed. Eric Boynton and Martin Kafka, Fordham University Press, 97-112.

2010. “The Disincarnation of the Word: The Trace of God in Reading Scripture” The Exorbitant: Emmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians, ed. M. Signer and K. Hart, Fordham University Press,  32-51.

2006. “Eternity in History: Rolling the Scroll” Liturgy, Time and the Politics of Redemption, ed. R. Rashkover and C. Pecknold,  Eerdmans, 127-140.

2005. “Jurisprudence is the Organon of Ethics: Kant and Cohen on Ethics, Law, and Religion” Hermann Cohen’s Critical Idealism, ed. Reinier Munk, Springer, 193-230.

2005. “Messianic Epistemology: Thesis XV” Walter Benjamin and History, ed. Andrew Benjamin, Continuum Press, 2005, 197-214.

2004. “Reading Torah: The Discontinuity of Tradition” Levinas and Buber: Dialogue and Difference, ed. Peter Atterton, Matthew Calarco, and Maurice Freedman for Duquesne University Press,  179-222.

2003. “Philosophy and Law: Questioning Justice” The Ethical (Blackwell Readings in Continental Philosophy), ed. Edith Wyschogrod and Gerald McKenny, 101-116.

2002. “Why Talmud: Renewing response” Textual Reasonings, ed. Peter Ochs and Nancy Levene, London: SCM Press,  113-118.

2000. “Hermann Cohen’s Messianism: The History of the Future”  ‘Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism’ Tradition and the Concept of Origin in Hermann Cohen’s Later Work, ed. Helmut Holzhey, Gabriel Motzkin, and Hartwig Wiedebach, Hildesheim: Olms,  331-349.

1997. “The Jewish Contribution” A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. P. L. Quinn and C. Taliaferro, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 179-185.

1995. “Jewish Dimensions of Radical Ethics” Ethics as First Philosophy, Routledge, 13-24.

Articles (selections)

2015. “Of Time and Pages” College Literature: A Journal of Critical Literary Studies 42.2 (Spring) 239-277.

2007. “Après vous: Theory and Asymmetry” for The Modern Schoolman vol LXXXIV, 2-3 (jan-mar): 217-34

2006. “Verdict and Sentence: Cover and Levinas on the Robe of Justice” in Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy, Vol. 14, No. 1-2. 73-90.

2006. “Law and Ethics” in Revista Portguesa de Filosofia  Vol.26, No. 2-4 (April-Dec), 395-407.

2006. “Reading with Others: Levinas’ Ethics and Scriptural Reasoning”  for Modern Theology, Vol 22, no. 3 (July), 515-28.

2003. “Seeing the Unique God: Humor and the Sublime in Jewish Aesthetics,” Archivio Di Filosofia, Vol LXXI, N. 1-3, 219-32.

2000. “Enigmatic Authority: Levinas and the Phenomenal Effacement”, Modern Theology, Vol 16, no.3 (July), 325-34.

1997. “Asymmetry and Mutuality:  Habermas, Levinas and Mead” for Philosophy and Social Criticism,  (#2) 51-6