Hebrew and Judaic Studies (2016 - 2018)
Hebrew Language Courses: General Information
The College Core Curriculum foreign language requirement can be fulfilled by completion of the standard four-semester sequence of Elementary and Intermediate Hebrew (HBRJD-UA 1 through HBRJD-UA 4).
All students wishing to enroll in a Hebrew language course who possess any exposure to or knowledge of the language must take a placement examination, whether they have formally studied Hebrew previously or not. Placement of students in Hebrew language courses is explained in the academic policies section of this Bulletin under the heading “placement examinations.” Under no circumstances may students decide on their own in which level of Hebrew they belong.
Introductory Language Courses
Elementary Hebrew I
HBRJD-UA 1 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Active introduction to modern Hebrew as it is spoken and written in Israel today. Presents the essentials of Hebrew grammar, combining the oral-aural approach with formal grammatical concepts. Reinforces learning by reading of graded texts. Emphasizes the acquisition of idiomatic conversational vocabulary and language patterns.
Elementary Hebrew II
HBRJD-UA 2 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Continuation of Elementary Hebrew I (HBRJD-UA 1). Open to students who have completed HBRJD-UA 1 or who have been placed at this level through the placement examination.
Intermediate Hebrew I
HBRJD-UA 3 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Open to students who have completed Elementary Hebrew II (HBRJD-UA 2) or Intensive Elementary Hebrew (HBRJD-UA 5), or those who have been placed at this level through the placement examination. Builds on skills acquired at the elementary level and develops a deepening command of all linguistic skills. Modern literary and expository texts expand vocabulary and grammatical knowledge, with conversation and composition exercises built around the texts. Introduces selections from Israeli media. Addresses the relationship between classical and modern Hebrew.
Intermediate Hebrew II
HBRJD-UA 4 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Continuation of Intermediate Hebrew I (HBRJD-UA 3). Open to students who have completed HBRJD-UA 3 or who have been placed at this level through the placement examination.
Advanced Language Courses
The prerequisite for all advanced language courses is Intermediate Hebrew II (HBRJD-UA 4) or the equivalent.
Hebrew Language through Film
HBRJD-UA 10 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Aspects of Israeli society as portrayed in primarily 21st century Israeli films and television: immigration and immigrants, ethnic groups within Israeli society, religious communities and their relationship to the secular world, the kibbutz, periphery vs. center, the Israeli-Arab conflict, and military service. Focus on the Hebrew language’s various registers and their manifestation in different social contexts and genres.
Hebrew of the Israeli Communications Media
HBRJD-UA 73 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Extensive selections from a representative range of Israeli media, including newspapers, magazines, and broadcasting. Stresses study of various approaches in the different media, as well as practical exercises in comprehending Israeli press styles.
Modern Hebrew Literature (in Hebrew)
Literature of the Holocaust
HBRJD-UA 690 In Hebrew. Offered periodically. Feldman. 4 points.
Examines representations of the Holocaust in Hebrew fiction and poetry. Among issues to be explored are the differences between responses of the Jewish community in Palestine at the time of the event and later reconstruction by survivors and witnesses, and the new perspectives added since the 1980s by children of survivors, who have made the Holocaust a central topic in contemporary Israeli culture.
Modern Hebrew Literature (in Translation)
From Hebrew to Israeli Literature
HBRJD-UA 76 In English. Identical to MEIS-UA 713. Offered every third year. Feldman. 4 points.
Representative works of modern Hebrew literature from the writers of the Hebrew national renaissance of the late 19th century to the present. Focuses on thematic and structural analysis of texts in light of social and intellectual movements of the period. Readings include selections from Peretz, Berdichevsky, Ahad Ha’am, Gnessin, Brenner, Agnon, Hazaz, Yehoshua, and Appelfeld.
Israel: Fact through Film and Fiction
HBRJD-UA 780 In English. Identical to MEIS-UA 698. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Israeli cinema’s artistic achievements and gutsy in-depth engagement with political, social, and sex-and-gender borders and boundaries that are local and universal at one and the same time. We explore some of the high points of recent Israeli cinema and ask how its treatment of these issues compares to and differs from analogous literary representations in contemporary Hebrew fiction.
Jewish History and Civilization
CORE-UA 514 Offered every semester. Fleming, Jassen, Schiffman, Smith. 4 points.
See description under Foundations of Contemporary Culture in this Bulletin.
CORE-UA 537 Offered every semester. Engel, Zweig. 4 points.
See description under Foundations of Contemporary Culture in this Bulletin.
Sex, Gender, and the Bible
HBRJD-UA 19 Identical to RELST-UA 19. Offered every third year. Feldman. 4 points.
Investigates a series of problems regarding the mutual constitution of male and female in the Hebrew Bible. Through close readings of a range of biblical texts (narrative, law, wisdom literature), we address such issues as the absence of the goddess in monotheism, the literary representation of women and men, the construction of gender ideals, and the legislation of sex and bodily purity.
Introduction to the New Testament
HBRJD-UA 22 4 points.
Introduces issues and themes in the history of the Jesus movement and early Christianity. Covers most of the New Testament texts with attention to historical context, modern scholarly methodologies, and the larger frameworks of ancient history and the theoretical study of religion.
The Bible as Literature
HBRJD-UA 23 Identical to RELST-UA 23. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Approaches the Bible as a “full-fledged kindred spirit” of modernism through a broadly literary approach. While the focus is on narrative—the Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy) and the Former Prophets (Joshua to Kings), as well as shorter narrative books (Ruth, Jonah, and Esther)—also studies Ecclesiastes and Job as ancient precursors to modern skepticism. Finally, examines one modernist engagement with the Bible: Kafka’s Amerika.
Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
HBRJD-UA 24 4 points.
Offers a survey of archaeological remains from different periods in pharaonic history and prehistory, and introduces the ways that archaeologists have interpreted these remains. Students will read actual site reports as well as more synthetic studies, and become familiar with the history of field research in Egypt.
Jewish Backgrounds to the New Testament
HBRJD-UA 25 4 points.
Special attention to the textual and archaeological evidence that helps to shape one’s understanding of the landscape of Jewish thought, in particular those issues and themes that parallel the texts of the New Testament. Students read primary sources in translation (New Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, rabbinic texts) and gain an understanding of the world out of which nascent Christianity and ancient Judaism develop.
Israeli Music: Contesting National Culture
HBRJD-UA 29 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines the musical construction of Israeli national identity. Students think critically about the political and cultural aspects of music and other expressive forms; become acquainted with Israeli society, culture, and identity politics; develop a sophisticated understanding of contemporary Israeli music; enhance their understanding of the theoretical literature on nationalism, postnationalism, and globalization; and learn the fundamentals of performance and discourse analysis.
Food and Identity in the Middle East and its Jewish Communities
HBRJD-UA 36 Offered periodically. 4 points.
An introduction to the study of the Middle East and its Jewish communities through an examination of culinary history and foodways. Particular attention will be paid to food as a marker of class, ethnic, and religious identity.
Global Jewish Communities: New York
HBRJD-UA 85 Offered every two years. 4 points.
Explores the historic impact of New York upon the Jews, and conversely, how the Jews since the seventeenth century have left their mark upon New York. Organized chronologically and examines the economic, political, cultural, and social symbiosis between the city and its massive Jewish population, which at its height constituted almost one-third of New York’s residents.
History of Judaism: The Classical Period
HBRJD-UA 100 Identical to HIST-UA 109, MEIS-UA 680, RELST-UA 680. Offered every year. Rubenstein. 4 points.
History of Judaism during its formative periods. Hellenistic Judaism, Jewish sectarianism, and the ultimate emergence of the rabbinic system of religion and law.
Introduction to Judaism
HBRJD-UA 102 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Examines Judaism—its history, beliefs, traditions, and ritual practices—as a living religion from its roots in the biblical, intertestamental, rabbinic, and medieval periods to the modern world. Treats the seminal role of the Bible and rabbinic writings in Judaism and their interpretations and applications over the centuries. Highlights continuity and discontinuity and the evolution of religious tradition.
Modern Jewish History
HBRJD-UA 103 Identical to HIST-UA 99. Offered every year. Engel. 4 points.
Major developments in the history and culture of the Jews from the 16th to the 20th centuries, emphasizing the meanings of modernity in the Jewish context, differing paths to modern Jewish identity, and internal Jewish debates over the relative merits of modern and traditional Jewish values.
Foundations of the Christian-Jewish Argument
HBRJD-UA 106 Identical to MEDI-UA 160, RELST-UA 192. Offered every other year. Chazan. 4 points.
Illustrates the complexity of the medieval relationship between Jews and Christians by examining both Christian and Jewish perspectives and delineating the variety of responses within each religious community to the other. The primary focus is on the European Middle Ages, but the origins of the argument a millennium earlier are also considered.
Judaism: From Medieval to Modern Times
HBRJD-UA 111 Identical to HIST-UA 98, MEDI-UA 683, MEIS-UA 680, RELST-UA 683. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Intellectual-historical examination of continuities and discontinuities between medieval and modern Judaism as revealed in selected texts produced during the last thousand years. Emphasis is placed on how the interactions of Jewish thinkers with the cultures of their surroundings affected their understandings of Judaism.
The Jews in Medieval Spain
HBRJD-UA 113 Identical to HIST-UA 549, MEDI-UA 913, RELST-UA 113. Offered every other year. Chazan. 4 points.
The 700 years from the Muslim conquest of Spain in the eighth century to the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 saw the greatest levels of mutual toleration and coexistence among Jews, Christians, and Muslims achieved at any time during the Middle Ages. Uses contemporary sources to introduce the history of this important Jewish community and its relationship to the Muslim and Christian societies that surrounded it. Considers economic, cultural, and religious interactions; mutual influence; and violent conflict.
Jews in the Islamic World in the Modern Period
HBRJD-UA 114 Identical to HIST-UA 521, MEIS-UA 616, RELST-UA 610. Offered every third year. Russ-Fishbane. 4 points.
The history of Jewish communities in the Middle East from the rise of the Ottoman Empire to the end of the 20th century. Topics include the organization and operation of Jewish communities; interaction between Jews and Muslims; the effects of the twin processes of modernization and Westernization; and the relocation of the vast majority of Middle Eastern Jewry to the State of Israel in the 20th century. Concludes with the Jewish communities that continue to live in the Middle East.
HBRJD-UA 120 Identical to RELST-UA 120. Offered periodically. Fleming, Smith. 4 points.
Methods and conclusions of archaeological research and excavation as applied to the Bible and history of Israel in antiquity. Topics include the historicity of the exodus and the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the empires of David and Solomon, and the nature of Israelite religion. Investigates how archaeology provides evidence for evaluating the Bible and reconstructing early Israelite history through the Babylonian exile.
Ancient Near Eastern Mythology
HBRJD-UA 125 Identical to MEIS-UA 607, RELST-UA 125. Offered every third year. Fleming. 4 points.
Students read myths from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Ugarit, Anatolia, and Israel, studying them as literary works and exploring the ideas and broader issues that shaped them. These myths, including both extensive literary masterpieces such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and shorter works such as the Flight of Etana to Heaven, offer a window into the religious mentality of the ancient Near East.
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)
HBRJD-UA 126 Identical to MEIS-UA 809, RELST-UA 809. Offered every year. Fleming, Smith. 4 points.
Introduces students to the modern study of the Bible from historical, literary, and archaeological points of view. Reading and analysis of texts in translation.
The Oldest Diplomacy: How International Relations Shaped the Ancient Near East
HBRJD-UA 127 Offered every third year. Fleming. 4 points.
The ancient Near East includes the world from Babylonia to the edges of Egypt, a region that gave us the two oldest writing systems in the world and the first explosion of cities and their civilizations. We enter its history through its international relations. Primary sources and modern scholarship.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, Judaism, and Christianity
HBRJD-UA 131 Identical to RELST-UA 807, MEIS-UA 807. Offered every year. Jassen, Schiffman. 4 points.
Survey of the importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the history of early Judaism and Christianity. Reading and discussion of English translations of the major texts.
Ancient Egyptian Mortuary Traditions
HBRJD-UA 134 Offered every third year. Roth. 4 points.
The mummies, tombs, and pyramids that furnish most of our evidence for life and society in ancient Egypt can be understood only in the context of the Egyptians’ beliefs about death. Surveys these beliefs and their evolution, examining translations of their mortuary texts and the art, artifacts, and architecture they created to deal with death.
The Land of Israel through the Ages
HBRJD-UA 141 Identical to HIST-UA 540, MEIS-UA 609, RELST-UA 609. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Surveys the history of the Land of Israel with special attention to its various inhabitants and cultures from prehistoric times to the present. Archaeological findings receive thorough attention.
Yiddish in America
HBRJD-UA 144 Offered every other year. Estraikh. 4 points.
Examines the Yiddish press, theatre, cinema, scholarship, and literature from the age of mass migration at the turn of the twentieth century to our days. Discusses the role of Yiddish in education, religion, and other domains of American Jewish life, both historically and in contemporary times.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
HBRJD-UA 160 Identical to MEDI-UA 25, MEIS-UA 800, RELST-UA 102. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Explores differences and similarities between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and assesses their roles and interactions in the formation and functions of human society, culture, and politics. Examines the ancient origins and contemporary relevance of these monotheistic traditions. Considers the existence of Judaisms, Christianities, and Islams, rather than a trio of theological monoliths.
Jerusalem: The City, the Shrine, and Conflict
HBRJD-UA 165 Identical to MEIS-UA 810, RELST-UA 810. Offered every third year. 4 points.
Crucially important in the histories of three major religions, Jerusalem has become the focus of a bitter nationalist struggle between Arabs and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. A home to 750,000 Jews and Arabs, it is an ethnically segregated but prosperous binational city. Surveys the history of Jerusalem, focusing on the late-Ottoman, British, partitioned Israeli and Jordanian eras, before considering the growth of a united city under exclusive Israeli control since 1967.
Religion, Race, and Economics: An Introduction to American Jewish History
HBRJD-UA 172 Identical to HIST-UA 689. Offered every other year. Diner. 4 points.
Study of the major events and personalities in American Jewish history since colonial times: the waves of Jewish immigration and development of the American Jewish community.
Israel and American Jewry
HBRJD-UA 174 Offered every other year. 4 points.
Relations between the Jewish community in Israel (including Palestine before the establishment of the state) and the American Jewish community from 1914 to 1992. Considers ideological issues as well as political and diplomatic developments. Concludes with an examination of the internal Israeli political debates that have invoked the greatest concern among American Jews: the Law of Return, the peace process, and “who is a Jew?”
Jewish Migrations in the Modern Era
HBRJD-UA 176 Identical to HIST-UA 809. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Since the 17th century, Jews have been involved in an ongoing process of shifting residences en masse from and within Europe, as well as from the Islamic lands. They have relocated to North and South America, South Africa, and Australia, as well as to Israel. Explores similarities and differences between Jewish and non-Jewish migrations, the causes and structures of the migrations, and the impact of migration on the various aspects of integration in the receiving societies.
Zionism in Communist Europe
HBRJD-UA 179 Offered periodically. Estraikh. 4 points.
The primary focus is on the Soviet Union, particularly on the emigration movement in the post-Stalinist period, but developments in post-Holocaust Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria are also considered. Concludes with a brief look at the immigrants in Israel.
Zionism and the State of Israel
HBRJD-UA 180 Offered every other year. Engel. 4 points.
Key questions: What were the historical circumstances in which, toward the end of the nineteenth century, an organized movement known as Zionism coalesced around a program aimed at establishing “a home for the Jewish people in Palestine”? What actions did the Zionist movement undertake and what ideas did it advance? What historical conditions aided and impeded the Zionist movement in its efforts and helped shape its activities and ideas? How have ideas fostered by the Zionist movement influenced the political, social, and cultural life of the State of Israel since its establishment?
Ethnicity in the Jewish People in the State of Israel
HBRJD-UA 181 Zweig. 4 points.
Interactions and relationships between the various Jewish ethnic groups in Israel: communities from the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Examines roots of ethnic identity and the influences of modernization and nationalism. Topics: the Zionist movement’s attitudes toward “negation of the diaspora,” the “melting-pot” approach to immigrant absorption during the 1950s and 1960s, the Sephardic protest, the identity struggle, ethnic politics, and the Russian and Ethiopian immigrations.
Jewish Women in Modern History
HBRJD-UA 185 Identical to HIST-UA 541. Diner. 4 points.
Explores the social, cultural, and political histories of Jewish women in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution through World War II, focusing on the era of Emancipation, the bourgeois 19th century, both World Wars, and the Holocaust. Examines the options women had, the boundaries against which they pushed, and the roles they created for themselves in public and in private. Students will read secondary sources as well as memoirs, diaries, and letters.
Immigration in Israeli Society
HBRJD-UA 186 4 points.
Emphasizes the common denominators between those who came to Palestine and the Americas in the early 20th century. How was the decision to emigrate (whether to Palestine or to some other destination country) made? What role did Zionist ideology play in migration to Palestine? What was the profile of the Jewish immigrants to the destination countries? What obstacles did the migrants encounter in acting on their decision and how did they overcome them?
Women in Israeli Society
HBRJD-UA 187 4 points.
Studies the role of women from the end of the 19th century until today from historical, sociological, and legal perspectives. Topics include the myth of gender equality in Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine and later in the state of Israel; images of the “new Hebrew woman,” the reality and life of these women, and their contributions to the new Israeli society and culture; and concepts of gender and national identities.
The Jewish Community in Palestine under Ottoman and British Rule
HBRJD-UA 188 4 points.
Jewish national aspirations and waves of immigration and settlement from the 1880s. Topics: the British support for a Jewish nation; the changing demographic character of Palestine; the Zionist movement; cooperation and conflict with the Palestinian Arab population; the growth of Arab and Palestinian nationalism and the Arab response to British rule and the growth of Jewish society; and parallel Jewish demands for separatism and statehood.
The War of 1948
HBRJD-UA 189 Offered every three years. 4 points.
In the Palestinian and Arab collective memory, the war is engraved as the Nakba—the catastrophe— while Israel celebrates it as its day of independence. For both, it is the formative event of their history. In recent decades, Israel’s “New Historians,” alongside other researchers, have contributed to changes in the way historians, and even the Israeli public, see their past in general and the war in particular.
Russian Jewish History
HBRJD-UA 191 Offered every other year. Estraikh. 4 points.
Jewish history in imperial Russia, from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th, and an overview of the Soviet and post-Soviet periods. Topics: the government’s policies toward Jews; attempts to integrate them into society; establishment and development of Russian Jewish civil society; Jewish participation in the revolutionary movement; aspects of Jewish social, economic, and cultural life in villages, town, and cities; the role of women in family and communal life; anti-Jewish violence; and emigration.
Christian-Jewish Relations over the Ages
HBRJD-UA 215 4 points.
Reading and analysis of key documents that illumine Christian-Jewish relations over the past two thousand years. Focuses only on Christian imageries, doctrines, and policies with respect to Judaism and Jews, from the foundations of Christian thinking in late antiquity through the medieval period and into modernity.
Issues in Israel’s Social History
HBRJD-UA 419 4 points.
From the mass arrival of Middle Eastern Jewry in the 1950s to the emergence of the tent protests in 2011, examines how a wide range of societal issues, conflicts, and dilemmas shaped the historical trajectory and complexities of Israeli society.
Jewish American Fiction
HBRJD-UA 625 4 points.
Close readings of Abe Cahan, Ludwig Lewisohn, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, and Bernard Malamud, as well as a number of lesserknown texts. Attention is devoted to fictions that test the limits of the so-called “Jewish American novel,” including texts composed in Yiddish, Hebrew, and German (in English translation); fiction written by non-Jews about American Jews; and graphic novels.
Jewish Women in European History
HBRJD-UA 653 Offered every other year. Kaplan. 4 points.
Considers the normative role of women in Judaism through the Middle Ages and early modern Europe. Primary focus on Jewish women from the French Revolution through the period of Emancipation, the bourgeois 19th century, World War I, the interwar years, the Nazi era, and postwar Europe.
Jewish Life in Weimar and Nazi Germany
HBRJD-UA 656 Identical to HIST-UA 165. Offered every other year. Kaplan. 4 points.
Explores the interactions of Jews and other Germans during the Weimar Republic, noting the extraordinary successes of the Jews, as well as the increase in anti-Semitism between 1918 and 1933. Examines the rise of Nazism, popular support for and opposition to the regime, the persecution of the Jews, the role of bystanders, and the ways in which the Jewish victims reacted inside Germany.
Jews and Germans from Emancipation through World War I
HBRJD-UA 657 Identical to HIST-UA 807. Offered every other year. Kaplan. 4 points.
Explores Jewish life in 19th-century Germany and the ways Jews and Germans interacted. Describes the Jews’ quest for emancipation, their economic profile, and their social lives. Treats debates over religious reform, integration, and identity and the growing problem of anti-Semitism.
Soviet Jewish Life through the Prism of Literature and Film
HBRJD-UA 663 Offered every third year. Estraikh. 4 points.
Focuses on the cultural and ideological transformation of Russian Jews in the 20th century from pious Yiddish-speaking shtetl-dwellers to secular Russianspeaking urbanites. Analyzes how Soviet social engineering affected traditional communities and considers the contemporary Russian Jewish diaspora.
Yiddish Literature in Translation
HBRJD-UA 664 Offered every year. Estraikh. 4 points.
The literary and cultural activity of Yiddish-speaking Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States from 1890 to 1950. Focuses on the distinct role that Yiddish played in modern Jewish culture during the first half of the 20th century and examines how “Yiddish modernism” took shape in different places and spheres of activity.
The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews
HBRJD-UA 685 Identical to HIST-UA 808. Offered every year. Engel. 4 points.
Historical investigation of the evolution of Nazi policies toward Jews; of Jewish behavior in the face of those policies; and of the attitudes of other countries, both within and outside the Nazi orbit.
Jewish Europe after the Holocaust
HBRJD-UA 689 Identical to HIST-UA 18. Offered every year. Estraikh. 4 points.
The social, political, and cultural forces that shaped Jewish life in post-1945 Europe. Topics include reconstruction of Jewish communities, repression and anti-Semitic campaigns in the Soviet Union and Poland, the impact of Israel, emigration and migration, Jewish-Christian relations, assimilation and acculturation, and reactions to the Holocaust.
Israeli Politics and Society
HBRJD-UA 710 4 points.
The power structure and mechanisms of contemporary Israeli politics beginning with the emergence of the provisional government in 1948. How Israel’s national institutions, the legislation mechanism, and electoral system developed. Key fault lines in Israeli social, political, and economic life, including Jewish- Arab relations; the balance between the welfare state and economic liberalism; and gender relations.
Racial and Sexual “Others” in Nazi Germany
HBRJD-UA 720 Offered every three years. 4 points.
Examines how the Nazis dealt with those they deemed “racially unfit” to belong to the German people and sought to create a nation based on invented categories of “blood and race.” Considers measures that the government enacted to delegitimize, isolate, rob, incarcerate, sterilize, and/ or murder Jews, Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), the physically and mentally disabled, Afro-Germans, “asocials,” homosexuals, prostitutes, and others.
American Jewish Literature and Culture
HBRJD-UA 779 Offered every other year. Diner. 4 points.
Explores the body of imaginative literature (novels, short stories, poetry, and drama) written by American Jews. Links these literary works to the changing position of Jews within American society.
Topics in Israel Studies
HBRJD-UA 948 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Topics vary by semester.
Topics in the Bible and Ancient Near East
HBRJD-UA 949 Offered every year. 4 points.
Topics vary by semester.
Topics in Modern Jewish History
HBRJD-UA 950 Offered every year. 4 points.
Topics vary by semester.
Jewish Philosophy and Thought Introduction to Jewish Literature and Thought
HBRJD-UA 77 Identical to RELST-UA 77. Offered every other year. Gottlieb . 4 points.
Introduces students to major forms of Jewish literature including the Bible, Midrash, Talmud, philosophy, and Kabbalah and to major intellectual trends within Judaism from the Bible to today.
A Book Forged in Hell: Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and the Birth of Modern Judaism
HBRJD-UA 107 Formerly Spinoza and Jewish Philosophy. Identical to RELST-UA 107. Offered every other year. Gottlieb. 4 points.
Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677) has been called the quintessential modern religious critic. We examine Spinoza’s critique of Judaism in light of his medieval Jewish philosophical predecessors. Topics: Are miracles possible? What is prophecy? Are the Jews the chosen people? Is Jewish law (halakha) obligatory?
Modern Jewish Thought
HBRJD-UA 112 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Emphasizes the effects of modernity on traditional Judaism. Topics include Enlightenment and the rationalistic identity; the role of ethics in religion; the emergence of Reform, neo-Orthodox, and Conservative Judaism; liberal rationalist theology and the possibility of revelation; religious and secular Zionism; the Holocaust; and the creation of the modern State of Israel.
Early History of God
HBRJD-UA 116 Identical to RELST-UA 220. Offered every year. Fleming, Smith. 4 points.
Explores evidence concerning the appearance of monotheism in ancient Israel, including the Hebrew Bible, ancient writing from Israel and its neighbors, and a range of other artifacts. Posits that Israel was not alone in ascribing priority of power to a single god, and that Israel’s result is comprehensible only in the context of these wider currents.
HBRJD-UA 117 Identical to RELST-UA 117. Offered every year. Rubenstein. 4 points.
Topics: capital punishment; business ethics; selfsacrifice, martyrdom, and suicide; truth and lying; the just war; abortion; euthanasia; birth control; and politics. Philosophical questions concerning the nature of ethics and methodological issues related to the use of Jewish sources. Examines classical Jewish texts (Bible, Talmud, and medieval codes) pertaining to ethical issues and discusses the range of ethical positions that may be based on the sources.
Religion, Magic, and the Jewish Tradition
HBRJD-UA 212 Identical to RELST-UA 212. Offered every third year. 4 points.
Examines models for understanding the nature of magic as a phenomenon in society, then applies those models to help understand the different kinds of magic in Jewish history, from biblical times to the present.
Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise and Its Aftermath
HBRJD-UA 424 Prerequisite: some background in medieval Jewish philosophy or early modern philosophy is recommended. Offered periodically. Gottlieb. 4 points.
Topics: prophecy and prophets, miracles and laws of nature, Spinoza and biblical criticism, Spinoza’s view of the Jewish Law, his political theory, and the book’s influence on the Enlightenment.
Jewish Philosophy in the Medieval World
HBRJD-UA 425 Identical to RELST-UA 106, MEDI-UA 425. Offered periodically. Gottlieb. 4 points.
Readings (in translation) and analysis of representative selections from the writings of major Jewish philosophers. Emphasizes the Kuzari of Yehuda Halevi and the Guide of the Perplexed of Moses Maimonides. Special attention to the cultural context in which these works were produced.
Introduction to Jewish Mysticism and Hasidism
HBRJD-UA 430 Identical to MEDI-UA 430, RELST-UA 104. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Introduction to the history of the Kabbalah and Hasidism, emphasizing the impact of these ideas on the history of Judaism.
Modern Jewish Philosophy
HBRJD-UA 640 Offered every other year. Gottlieb. 4 points.
Debates about Judaism and Jewishness from the 18th century to today. Topics: the existence of God, the authority of Jewish law, and Jewish chosenness. Emphasizes the impact of major historical and ideological developments, including Enlightenment and Emancipation, the Holocaust, the founding of the State of Israel, and feminism.
Gender and Judaism
HBRJD-UA 718 Identical to MEIS-UA 807, RELST-UA 815, SCA-UA 732. Offered periodically. 4 points.
How Jews have constructed gender during the rabbinic, medieval, and modern periods. Examines the implication of these constructions for the religious and social lives of Jewish women and men.
Jewish Responses to Modernity: Religion and Nationalism
HBRJD-UA 719 Identical to RELST-UA 470. Offered periodically. 4 points.
The impact of modernity on Jewish life and institutions in the 18th and 19th centuries. Readings in English from the works of Moses Mendelssohn, Theodor Herzl, Simon Dubnow, and the leading figures of the early Reform, Conservative, and neo-Orthodox movements.
Seminars and Independent Study Jews in the Muslim World in the Middle Ages
HBRJD-UA 104 Offered every two years. Russ-Fishbane. 4 points.
Topics: the early encounter between Islam and the Jews at the time of the Prophet Muhammad; Jewish economic life; the organization and functions of Jewish communities; and adjudication and autonomy. Comparisons with the situation of the Jews in medieval Latin Europe. Primary sources in English translation.
Israeli Music and National Identity
HBRJD-UA 294 Offered every two years. 4 points.
How a cultural “reading” of new forms of Israeli music—Mizrahi-infused pop, Israeli rock, Palestinian hip hop, Arab fusion, and religious pop music—illustrates contestations of Israeli identity. Issues of national culture and globalization provide historical and cultural context.
Israeli Politics in Comparative Perspective
HBRJD-UA 711 Offered every two years. 4 points.
Critically examines the assumption that Israel, with its strategic insecurity and political isolation in the Middle East as well as its characteristic form of democratic governance, is a unique “case apart.” Explores diverse paths to conflict resolution.
Israeli Territorial Politics: Between Security & Identity
HBRJD-UA 712 Prerequisite: general knowledge of contemporary Israeli/Middle Eastern politics. Offered every two years. 4 points.
The evolution of and conflict between different concepts of borders in Israeli domestic discourse and their impact on Israel’s territorial policies and international boundaries. How these concepts have influenced Israeli compromise or lack thereof in the Sinai Peninsula, Southern Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the West Bank.
Advanced Readings in Modern Hebrew Literature
HBRJD-UA 782 In Hebrew. Offered every other year. Feldman. 4 points.
In-depth study of selected masterpieces by 20thcentury Hebrew writers. Appreciation of artistic achievements against the sociohistorical background and general cultural currents of the period. Selections include fiction, poetry, and literary criticism by and about several of the following writers: Agnon, Brenner, Gnessin, Yizhar, Alterman, Bialik, and Greenberg.
Readings in Talmud
HBRJD-UA 784 In Hebrew. Offered every year. Schiffman. 2 points.
Selections from the Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Babylonian Talmud, utilizing both traditional and academic methods of study. Emphasis is on mastering the themes and concepts while studying the text and its commentaries in depth.
HBRJD-UA 997, 998 Open to honors and non-honors students. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Offered every semester. 1 to 4 points.