The only Western philosopher before Levinas to locate the unconditional value of human beings at the heart of ethics is Immanuel Kant. On the face of it this is strange, in a cultural tradition marked by the Christian conviction of God’s unconditional love for us:

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.