Fall 2012 Courses

ECS 391/COM 391/JDS 391Holocaust Testimony(LA)This course focuses on major issues raised by but also extending beyond Holocaust survivor testimony, including the communication of trauma, genres of witnessing, the ethical implications of artistic representation, conflicts between history and memory, the fate of individuality in collective upheaval, the condition of survival itself, and the crucial role played by reception in enabling and transmitting survivors' speech.Thomas A. Trezise

JDS 202/REL 202Great Books of the Jewish Tradition(HA)This course is intended to Introduce students to the classical Jewish tradition through a close reading of portions of some of its great books, including the Bible, the rabbinic midrash, the Talmud, Rashi's commentary on the Torah, Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, the Zohar, the prayer book, and the Haggadah. We will pay particular attention to the role of interpretation in forming Jewish tradition.Martha Himmelfarb

NES 220/HIS 220/JDS 220/MED 220Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages(HA)An introduction to the history and culture of the Jews in the Middle Ages (under Islam and Christendom) covering, comparatively, such topics as the relationship between Judaism and the other two religions, interreligious polemics, political (legal) status, economic role, communal self-government, and cultural developments.Mark R. Cohen

NES 346/JDS 356/HIS 331History of Palestine/Israel: Nationalism, Politics, Culture(HA)Offers an introduction to major ideological, political, and cultural trends in Palestine before and in connection with the emergence of the State of Israel in 1948. Taking both a local and global perspective, we will analyze the evolution of Zionism and other forms of Jewish politics, the formation and negotiation of Arab and Palestinian nationalisms, and the complexities of interethnic and interreligious encounters in several spheres. We consider a range of historical interpretations and think about the multiple paths that scholars have taken in interpreting the history of Israel, Palestine, Zionism, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Liora R. Halperin

NES 404/JDS 404/HIS 403Tel Aviv: Urban History and Culture(HA)Offers a multifaceted exploration of the urban history of the city of Tel Aviv, founded in 1909 to be a Jewish suburb of the multiethnic port city of Jaffa. Tel Aviv has become a symbol for the Zionist movement's development and a space in which the meaning of Zionism has been continually contested. Through inquiries into urban studies, city planning, architecture, identity, space, politics, language, culture, and conflict in Tel Aviv and Jaffa we will use the prism of one metropolitan area to explore the history of Palestine and Israel in the twentieth and early twenty-first century.Liora R. Halperin

REL 230/JDS 230Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel(HA)A critical introduction to the Hebrew Bible in its historical, ideological and intellectual setting within the ancient Near East will be offered. Central problems in Biblical studies will be addressed, e.g., the historical value of Biblical narrative, the documentary hypothesis, and the process of canonization. A selection of texts from the Hebrew Bible will be read in class (in translation) from a broader, comparative point of view, including the narratives of the Deluge and of Samson and Delilah, the pentateuchal dietary laws, and the poetry of Song of Songs.Naphtali S. Meshel

REL 343/JDS 343Jewish Messianism from Jesus to Zionism(HA)Since its origins in the Hebrew Bible, messianism has motivated Jews from ancient heralds of the apocalypse to modern Zionists. It has been reinterpreted by rationalists and mystics and has spawned sects in virtually every century of the past two millennia. Intellectual and social movements as diverse as Marxism and Iranian Mahdism have roots in Jewish messianism and Christianity began as a Jewish messianic sect. With an emphasis on a close reading of primary sources we will explore the unfolding of this idea in its vastly different historical moments and social contexts, providing a window onto 3000 years of Jewish history.Alexander L. Kaye

REL 344/JDS 344/GSS 344Sex in Ancient Judaism and Christianity(HA)Contemporary discussions about sexuality are filled with Jewish and Christian texts from antiquity. Quotations from the Bible and its ancient interpretations are continuously used to make claims about sexual behavior and sexual desire. Yet these texts themselves come from a very different world, with values, facts and passions of its own. This course examines the classical Jewish and Christian texts on sexuality within their own ancient historical context. Throughout the course, we will emphasize the diversity of positions in antiquity and the broad cultural conversations in which these positions were staked.Moulie Vidas

REL 513/JDS 513/NES 514Studies in Ancient Judaism: Textual Exegesis in Classical JudaismThe seminar will examine the methods of exegesis developed in the Classical Jewish sources. Particular attention will be paid to explicit and implicit formal rules of deduction underlying each exegetical text. Participants with a working knowledge of Biblical or Rabbinic Hebrew will be encouraged to work with the texts in the original.Moulie VidasNaphtali S. Meshel