Pnina Navè Levinson was born to a German Jewish family in Berlin. Her parents were attracted to the Zionist movement and wanted to escape the Nazis, and in 1935, the family emigrated to British Palestine. She attended high school in Tel Aviv, and then studied Romance languages, Jewish studies, and education at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1952, she became the first woman to earn a doctorate from that university. For 10 years, she worked at the Encyclopaedia Hebraica, translated European and Latin American literature into Hebrew, and worked with Martin Buber. Her first independent publication was an Overview of Hebrew Literature, which won the Leo Baeck Prize. In 1970, she married Rabbi Nathan Peter Levinson and with him founded the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien (College of Jewish Studies) in Heidelberg, Germany, where she was a visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg for many years. Many of her written works were devoted to Christian-Jewish dialogue, Jewish feminism, and refuting anti-Semitic stereotypes and prejudices. In 1996, she and her husband received the Leopold-Lucas-Preis for humanities scholars who have given outstanding services to the idea of tolerance.