Fall 2005 Courses



NES 216/HIS 216
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 M


Topics in Hebrew Literature: Love and Death in Hebrew Narrative from the Bible to Contemporary Israeli Fiction
This course will explore how the fundamental human issues of love and death are treated in the art of narrative in the Hebrew literary tradition, a tradition that spans three millennia. We will read closely and discuss diverse works ranging from Biblical narrative to contemporary Israeli fiction (short stories and novels), noting shifts in genre, narrative technique, and focus. The larger question the course asks is about the interplay and tension between the past and the present in this rich literary tradition.
Professor: James Diamond

REL 245/JDS 245
Lecture L01: 11:00-11:50 MW
Precept P01: 10:00-10:50 W
Precept P02: 2:30-3:20 W
Precept P03: TBA


Jewish Mysticism: From the Beginnings to Kabbala
The Kabbalah, the summit of Jewish mysticism, is among the most revolutionary innovations in the history of Judaism. It transforms the single, static (and essentially male) God of biblical and rabbinic Judaism into a dynamic and multifaceted God, whose rich inner life can be explored -- and influenced -- by human beings. This course follows the historical development of Jewish mysticism from its early beginnings and examines its major themes, e.g., God, his female aspect, creation, good and evil, redemption, and mystical union.
Professor: Peter Schäfer


JDS 301/CHV 301
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 Th


Topics in Judaic Studies: Prejudice on Trial: Antisemitism, the Courts, and the Law
This course explores how the courtroom has been a setting for both diffusing and refuting antisemitism in Europe and the United States from medieval and early modern precedents to notorious trials of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the Dreyfus Affair (Paris), the Leo Frank case (Atlanta), and the Eichmann trial (Jerusalem). Drawing on legal transcripts, the press, popular and visual culture, literary works, TV, and cinema, we will examine the political, social, cultural, and religious implications of these cases in their historical context.
Professor: Jenna Weissman-Joselit


JDS 443/HIS 443
Class C01: 11:00-12:20 MW


Jewish History Through the Middle Ages
Essential to a basic understanding of Jewish experience and expression, this course, ranging from the Christianization of the Roman empire (4 th c.) to the early Enlightenment (17 th c.), seeks to introduce undergraduates to the historical study of Jews and Judaism. Looking at a variety of approaches to the formative questions in medieval Jewish historiography, we will explore the geographic, social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions of the pre-modern Jewish world. In the process, we will uncover surprising continuities and ruptures between the lives and ideas of medieval Jews and those of the contemporary heirs.
Professor: Olga Litvak


NES 330/JDS 330
Lecture L01: 11:00-12:20 T
Precept P01: 3:00-4:20 Th


Ancient Near Eastern History: From City-State to Empire
This course will chart the history of the Ancient Near East comprising the civilizations of the Pre-Islamic Middle East, i.e. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Syria-Palestine and Anatolia, from the beginning of writing until the Persian Period. Some attention will be given to the history of ancient Israel and the ancient kingdoms and peoples who made up the world of the Bible. Essential topographical and geographical features will be studied for a better understanding of the rise of civilizations and the formation of city-states and empires.
Professor: Beate Pongratz-Leisten

REL 340/JDS 340
Class C01: 3:00-4:20 TTh


Judaism in the Greco-Roman World
This course seeks to understand the evolution of Judaism during the crucial period from the conquest of Alexander the Great to the destruction of the Second Temple, through a careful reading of primary texts and consideration of such issues as the process of hellenization, the development of biblical canon, the emergence of sects, and the growth of eschatological expectation. Topics include Palestine in the third century BCE; the Hellenistic reform and the Maccabean revolt; Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes; the Dead Sea Scrolls; Philo and Egyptian Judaism; and apocalyptic literature.
Professor: Martha Himmelfarb

REL 504/JDS 504
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 M


Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: The Origins of Jewish Mysticism
The seminar will review the whole range of textual evidence from the biblical book of Ezekial through Hekhalot literature, with special emphasis on questions of definition (vision of God, heavenly ascent, communion with the angels, union with God, etc.).
Professors: Martha Himmlefarb and Peter Schäfer


NES 220/HIS 220/JDS 220
Class C01: 1:30-2:50 MW


Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages
An introduction to the history and culture of the Jews in the Middle Ages (under Islam and Christendom) covering, comparatively, such topics as the inter-relationship between Judaism and the other two religions, interreligious polemics, political (legal) status, economic role, communal self-government, family life, and cultural developments.
Professor: Mark Cohen

NES 507
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 Th


Readings in Medieval Hebrew Literature
Selections from the Hebrew poetry of Muslim Spain, mainly by Halevi, Ibn Gabirol, and Moshe Ibn Ezra. The Arabic poetic background will be discussed, as well as the relevance of philosophical texts (e.g., Halevi’s Kuzari, Ibn Gabirol’s Maqor Hayyim) and Sufi writings. Some readings in Arabic for those who can handle them.
Professor: Andras P. Hamori

NES 523
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 Th


Readings in Judeo-Arabic
An introduction to the reading of Arabic texts written by medieval Jews in the Hebrew script, especially documents from the Cairo Geniza.
Professor: Mark Cohen



COM 349/JDS 349
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 Th


Texts and Images of the Holocaust
In an effort to encompass the variety of responses to what is arguably the most traumatic event of modern Western experience, this course explores the Holocaust as transmitted through historical documents, survivor/perpetrator testimonies, memoirs, and fictions, as well as in cinematic and visual images. In our study of these works, representing different languages and nationalities, we will focus especially on themes of bearing witness, the work of collective and individual memory, modes of speaking, visualizing, (and thinking) about the unspeakable, and general strategies of representation. Weekly film showings in addition to seminar
Professor: Froma Zeitlin


ENG 365/JDS 365
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 W


Topics in American Literature: American Jewish Writers
This course will consider the contribution of Jewish novelists, poets, and short story writers to the American literary scene. We will focus on the representation of immigration, assimilation, linguistic disorientation, and political and cultural marginality.
Professor: Deborah Nord


HEB 101
Class C01: 10:00-10:50 MWF
Drill D01: 10:00-10:50 TTh


Elementary Hebrew
To develop the skills of reading, speaking, comprehending and writing. The main emphasis is on acquiring communicative proficiency and therefore, Hebrew is progressively employed as the classroom language. A solid grammatical basis and awareness of the idiomatic usage of the language will be emphasized. Classroom activities include conversation, grammar exercises, and reading. Towards the middle of the semester, an Israeli movie is shown, discussed and criticized through a written assignment.
Professor: Esther Robbins


HEB 105
Class C01: 12:30-1:20 MTWThF


Intermediate Hebrew
Reinforcement and expansion of reading, oral, aural, and writing skills through maximum student participation, exclusive use of Hebrew in the classroom, and coverage of remainder of basic grammar. Readings of graded selections from prose, poetry, and newspapers, and viewing and discussion of Israeli films and television programs open a window on Israel and its culture.
Professor: Esther Robbins


HEB 301
Class C01: 1:30-2:50 TTh


Advanced Hebrew: Aspects of Israeli Culture
This course develops an advanced, active command of the written and spoken language through reading and discussion of newspapers, short stories, and poetry. Focus on aspects of contemporary Israeli and Jewish cultures.
Professor: Esther Robbins