Jeremy Smith, Professor, English

Jeremy Smith



Towers Hall 331

Dr. Smith’s interdisciplinary degree in Comparative Literature focused on the interrelations of religion, philosophy, and literature and he has continued to pursue those interests both in teaching and research throughout his career. He has delved for years into the philosophy of Edmund Husserl as the basis for the development of a phenomenological aesthetics of literature and has worked intensely also with the philosophies of William James, Alfred North Whitehead, Louis Lavelle, Karl Jaspers, and Michel Henry. Dr. Smith has more recently been engaged in the study of Christian theology, especially Kierkegaard, Maurice Blondel, Karl Barth, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. His literary interests include European Romanticism, African literature, and the history of the novel–and, in terms of authors, Goethe, Blake, Wordsworth, Dostoyevsky, Chinua Achebe, and Ousmane Sembene. His work in African culture includes a book on United Brethren missions and Sierra Leone. The Staircase of a Patron focuses on the papers of Lloyd Mignerey, an Otterbein graduate who was a missionary there in the early 1920s. Dr. Smith places his experience in the context of the history of Sierra Leone, of British colonialism, and also, most importantly, of the traditional African cultures and religions with which missionaries interacted.


  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1985.  Minors: Religious Studies and German
  • M.A., Comparative Literature, Indiana University, 1979
  • B.A., in Philosophy, Indiana University, 1976

Research, Creative, & Professional Work

  • World Literature/Interdisciplinary Humanities
  • African Literature
  • African Culture
  • English Composition
  • Romanticism
  • Literary Theory
  • Philosophy and Literature
  • Religion and Literature


  • The Staircase of a Patron: Sierra Leone and the United Brethren in Christ. Lexington, Ky.: Emeth Press, 2011.
  • Religious Feeling and Religious Commitment in Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Werfel, and Bernanos. Garland Publications in Comparative Literature. New York: Garland, 1988. Reprint. New York: Routledge, 2016.
  • “Michel Henry’s Phenomenological Christology: From Transcendentalism to the Gospel of John.” Fenomenologia 13 (Poznan, 2015): 11-42.
  • “The Self, Its Ideal, and God: The Implications of Nonobjective Self-Experience. Review Essay on James G. Hart’s Who One Is.” The New Yearbook of Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 12 (2012): 384-410.
  • "Primal Religious Experience as Philosophical Evidence: A Response to Arvind Sharma’s A Primal Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 79. 4 (December 2011): 827–841.
  • “Michel Henry’s Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience and Husserlian Intentionality.” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 14.2 (April 2005): 191-219.
  • "Husserl, Derrida, Hegel, and the Notion of Time." International Philosophical Quarterly 36.3 (Sept. 1996): 287-302.
  • "Religious Experience and Literary Form: The Interrelation of Perception, Commitment, and Interpretation." Religion and Literature 21.3 (Autumn 1989): 61-83.
  • "'Stavrogin's Confession' and Religious Existentialism." University of Dayton Review 18.3 (1987): 37-47.
  • "Perceptions, Propositions, and Ideals: The Problem of Truth in the Novel." Studies in the Humanities 13.2 (1986): 93-102.

Affiliations & Awards

  • The Husserl Circle