Spring 1998 Courses

JWS 301/REL 301

Topics in Jewish Studies: Jewish Messianism from the Bible to the Modern Period
The belief in the final redemption of the world and of the individual has long been identified as one of the essential characteristics of Jewish thought and practice. The seminar explores the various expressions and developments of this prospective vision during the course of history -- from its earliest beginnings in the Hebrew Bible to the most recent manifestations in the Lubavitch (Chabad) movement -- giving particular attention to the figure of the savior or Messiah.
Professor: Peter Schäfer

JWS 328/AMS 328

American Jewish Writers 1910-1990
Works by American Jewish writers, beginning with the European-bom generation of Abraham Cahan and Anzia Yezierska, and ending with recent novels by Cynthia Ozick and Philip Roth. Topics will include immigrant life, assimilation, universalism, the influence of Yiddish culture and language, socialist and communist politics, the role of Jewish women, and the Jewish writer as critic of Jewish life.
Professor: Deborah Nord

JWS 242/REL 242

Jewish Thought and Modern Society
What is the relation of Judaism and of the individual Jew to the modem world? Is Judaism a religion, a nationality, an ethnicity, or a combination of these? This course explores various answers to these questions by examining various historical and cultural formations of Jewish identity in Europe, America, and Israel from the eighteenth century to the present, as well as by engaging particular issues, such as Judaism's relation to modem technology, biomedical ethics, feminism, pluralism, and democracy.
Professor: Leora Batnitzky

JWS 245/REL 245

Jewish Mysticism: from the Beginnings to the Kabbalah
The Kabbalah, the summit of Jewish mysticism, is among the most revolutionary innovations within 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, creation, good and evil, redemption, and mystical union.
Professor: Peter Schäfer

JWS 340/REL 340

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 a 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 235

In the Shadow of Swords: Holy War and Martyrdom in Islam, Christianity and Judaism
This course will examine the concepts of martyrdom and holy war in the three monotheistic traditions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism. How are war and martyrdom presented in the sacred texts of these three traditions? Historically, how have these three traditions idealized and problematized the martyr and/or the holy warrior in very different ways? In what ways have modem religious revivalism and nationalism appropriated martyrdom and holy war in our time?
Professor: Shaun Marmon

COM 349/HUM 349

Texts and Images of the Holocaust
In an effort to explore the variety of responses to the most traumatic event of modern Western experience, this course will study some of the significant literature, both documentary and fictional, that has grown up around the Holocaust. Using both text and film that represent different languages and nationalities, we will focus particularly on themes of bearing witness, the work of collective and individual memory, and modes of speaking (and thinking) about the unspeakable. Weekly film showings.
Professor: Froma Zeitlin

NES 220

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

ART 200/NES 205

The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East and Egypt
The focus will be on the rise of complex societies and the attendant development of architectural and artistic forms that express the needs and aspirations of these societies from the prehistoric period to the end of the Bronze Age. Occasional readings in original texts in translation will supplement the study of art and architecture.
Professor: William Childs

HEB 101

Elementary Hebrew
Development of the basic skills of reading, speaking, aural comprehension, and writing. Essential vocabulary and grammar are presented in the textbook and workbook. Hebrew is progressively employed as the classroom language. Short articles, easy texts from Israeli newspaper and discussions about Israel. Movies are done in Hebrew, towards the middle of the second semester.
Professor: Edna Bryn-Noiman

HEB 105

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: Edna Bryn-Noiman

HEB 301

Advanced Hebrew: Aspects of Israeli Culture
This course develops an advanced, active command of the written and spoken language through reading of essays, short stories, and poems, through extensive practice in conversation, and through the viewing and discussion of Israeli films. Readings explore issues of Israeli and Jewish identity as reflected, for instance, in Hebrew Holocaust literature.
Professor: Edna Bryn-Noiman

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