Faculty at the School of Arts and Humanities

David Patterson


Hillel A. Feinberg Distinguished Chair in Holocaust Studies

Areas of Specialization:  Holocaust, Jewish Thought, Anti-Semitism, Israel

Office:  JO 4.800
Mail Station:  JO 31
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2049

I earned degrees in philosophy and comparative literature in an effort to engage the "big questions," often to no avail. In my teaching, in the midst of what I call a "meaning famine" that plagues academia, I strive to offer my students bread, and not a stone. My interest in teaching and scholarship is to pursue what is higher in higher learning in a time when nihilism, in various forms and disguises, is fashionable.

My current research interests include (1) ways in which the Shoah affects our reading of the Torah and how the Torah shapes our reading of the Shoah, (2) Elie Wiesel’s legacy as a Hasidic Jew, and (3) ways in which Jewish thought informs problems of Holocaust representation.

In their research, study, and scholarship, I encourage students to work on topics that transform them into witnesses and help them to meet their responsibility to humanity for elevating this world.

I joined the University of Texas at Dallas on 1 June 2010. With degrees in philosophy (B.A., Oregon, 1972) and in comparative literature (M.A., Ph.D., Oregon, 1976, 1978), I have taught at the University of Memphis, where I held the Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, as well as at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oregon. I served as the visiting Sutton Chair in the Humanities at the University of Oklahoma and as a guest professor at Pepperdine University.

Work Samples and Publications: 

Elie Wiesel's Hasidic Legacy: Portraits (Albany: SUNY Press, forthcoming)

The Holocaust and the Non-representable: Literary and Photographic Transcendence (Albany: SUNY Press, 2018)

Anti-Semitism and Its Metaphysical Origins (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Genocide in Jewish Thought (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2012)

A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad (Cambridge, Eng.: Cambridge University Press, 2011)

Emil L. Fackenheim: A Jewish Philosopher’s Response to the Holocaust (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2008)

(co-authored with Alan L. Berger), Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey from the Rock (St. Paul: Paragon House, 2008)

Open Wounds: The Crisis of Jewish Thought in the Aftermath of Auschwitz (Seattle: Univ of Washington Press, 2006)

Wrestling with the Angel: Toward a Jewish Understanding of the Nazi Assault on the Name (St. Paul: Paragon House, 2006)

Hebrew Language and Jewish Thought (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005)

Along the Edge of Annihilation: The Collapse and Recovery of Life in the Holocaust Diary (Seattle: Univ of Washington Press, 1999)

Sun Turned to Darkness: Memory and Recovery in the Holocaust Memoir (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ Press, 1998)

The Shriek of Silence: A Phenomenology of the Holocaust Novel (Lexington: Univ Press of Kentucky, 1992)


B.A. in Philosophy, University of Oregon (1972)
M.A. in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon (1976)
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Oregon (1978)

Curriculum Vitae:  David Patterson's CV