Courses: Current and Upcoming

Next Semester Courses

This is a listing of Jewish Studies courses that will be taught in Fall 2014. The list includes both courses directly offered through Jewish Studies, with the JWST prefix, and those offered through other departments which students minoring in Jewish Studies can take for credit towards the minor.

Courses in Jewish Studies

JWST/RLST 10300 Hebrew Scriptures       Rebecca Lesses
MW 4:00-5:15 pm
The Hebrew Bible (referred to by Christians as the Old Testament) is one of the foundational books of both western and world culture, and serves as the basis for Judaism and Christianity. In this course, we will read the books of the Bible critically as literature, as religious and moral text, and as a source of sociological knowledge. This course surveys the biblical literature, acquaints the students with critical methods for the study of the Bible, situates the Bible within the literature and culture of the ancient Near East, and discusses the religion of ancient Israel. We will deal with questions of history and archaeology, and with questions of meaning—what the biblical text meant to its ancient readers, and what meaning it has today. RLST-10300 is cross-listed with JWST-10300. A student may not earn credit for both RLST-10300 and JWST-10300.

JWST 20100/HIST 20400 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds LA HU 1 G H      Rebecca Lesses
TR 4:00-5:15 pm
This course is an introduction to Jewish history and the varieties of Jewish cultures and religious traditions in the ancient and medieval worlds. We will explore Jewish history from the period of the Second Temple (sixth century B.C.E.) to the Expulsion from Spain in 1492. The first part of the course will cover ancient Jewish culture and civilization in Palestine, the Mediterranean basin, and Mesopotamia, exploring such issues as Jewish responses to foreign domination (by the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires), Jews and other cultures (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Persian), Judaism and Christianity, the rise of rabbinic Judaism and rabbinic culture. In the second part of the course, we will discuss the development of Jewish civilization in Spain, Italy, and northern Europe, Jews under Islamic rule, Jews under Christian rule, medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism, medieval antisemitism and expulsions from Western Europe and Spain. 

JWST/HIST 20500 The History of Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict       Sanford Gutman
TR 1:10-2:25 pm
The course covers the history of the Zionist movement, modern Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict from the 1880's to the present. It begins by tracing the history of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century, pre-state Jewish immigration to Palestine, conflict between Jews and Arabs in the period of the British Mandate, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The course then focuses on the subsequent waves of Jewish immigration to Israel and the political, social, and cultural challenges posed by the various immigrant groups; and on the relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel (post-1948) and between Israel and the Palestinians post-1967. 3 credits. IRR. Prerequisites: sophomore standing. This course is cross-listed with JWST 20500. Students must register for either JWST 20500 or HIST 20500, not both.

ARTH/JWST Jewish Imagery, Images of Jews      Stephen Clancy
TR 2:35-3:50 pm      Gannett 112
The course will explore the ways in which objects, images, and architecture have shaped and expressed ideas about Jewish culture and identity, by both Jews and non-Jews. Traditional approaches to western art history neglect Jewish architectural and artistic production, under the fiction that Jewish culture has been, historically, an "artless" one. Particularly from the ancient through early modern periods, however, cultural production in service of Jewish worship and Jewish communities was rich and formative, both relying upon and contributing to the architectural and artistic traditions of Europe and the Mediterranean basin. The course examines how both Jews and non-Jews have used art and architecture to shape and characterize Jewish culture and identity, explores the nature of "Jewish" imagery and art history, and historical developments, from the ancient through modern eras, of both distinctive and adaptive Jewish visual identities, and nvestigates representations of Jews and appropriations of Jewish culture by others. Cross-listed with ARTH 22300; students may not receive credit for both JWST 22300 and ARTH 22300. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. 3 credits (IRR) 

Courses in other departments

HEBR 10100 Elementary Hebrew        Mirit Hadar
MWF 2:00-2:50 plus a drill section
Beginning course. Practice in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing simple idiomatic Hebrew. Emphasis is placed on culture, participation, and self-expression. 

HEBR 20100 Intermediate Hebrew       Mirit Hadar
MWF 11:00-11:50 plus a drill section

POLT 23000 Holocaust      Don Beachler
Time TBA
This course is an introductory survey of major issues related to the Holocaust. We will examine the role of anti-Semitism in Western Culture and the rise of the racial anti-Semitism that animated Nazi hatred of the Jews. Among the topics to be covered are: The rise of Hitler to power; the initial policies of persecution and dispossession of the Jews and Jewish responses to these policies; the evolution of Nazi policy from expulsion of the Jews to extermination; the role of Jewish community leadership in attempting to cope with a murderous onslaught by establishing Jews in vital industries; the cooperation of many German bureaucrats in the final solution; the relationship of the Holocaust to the Nazis’ overall racial views and their war of racial supremacy in eastern Europe; the ongoing controversy over whether more Jews could have been rescued by the nations opposing Hitler and his regime.







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