Spring 2005 Courses


JDS 201/REL 223
Class C01: 1:30-2:50 MW


Introduction to Judaism: Religion, History, Ethics
This course explores the complex nature of Judaism and its development as a religion and culture over millennia. It is not a history course. The focus is on the various elements that combine to make Judaism a holistic religious system, such as sacred place, rites of passage, sacred writings, worship, and attitudes to nature. Attention will be paid to how these elements are differently understood within the Orthodox and non-Traditional movements in the Jewish community. All students are welcome.
Professor: James Diamond


JDS 315/WOM 310
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 Th


The Family in Jewish Tradition
This seminar will examine the historic flexibility and variability of the Jewish family in the context of selected times and places: Biblical period, early Common Era Diaspora, 20 th Century Europe, contemporary U.S. and Israel. The major emphasis in this course will be on the different protocols and forms that may collectively be called the “Jewish Family.” Among the topics to be covered are the Biblical family, the Rabbinic period of late antiquity, the East European shtetl and subsequent immigration to America before and after World War I, the situation of the family during and after the Holocaust, the experimental family arrangements of the Kibbutz, the role of sexuality as prescribed by Jewish law, and conflicts between traditional morality and contemporary secular life. Application required; concentrators have first priority.
Professor: Dr. Ruth (Westheimer)


JDS 325/AMS 325
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 W


Culture Mavens: American Jews and the Arts
This seminar explores the relationship between marginality and creativity by focusing on the way America’s Jews of the 20 th Century drew on the performing arts as well as on film, radio, television, and publishing to express their identity as full fledged Americans. Venturing behind the scenes, it considers the roles Jews played both as cultural impresarios and performers (in vaudeville, Hollywood, and the theater) while also closely examining the cultural forms they championed - and why. Film screenings, guest lecturers, and field trips.
Professor: Jenna Weissman Joselit


REL 244/JDS 244
Class C01: 11:00-12:20 TTh


Rabbinic Judaism: Literature, History, and Beliefs
This course introduces students to the world of the talmudic rabbis, who created the classical and normative literature of Judaism. We will deal with the historical background of Rabbinic Judaism, the concept of the written and oral Torah, and rabbinic literature proper (Midrash, Mishna, Talmud, etc.) as well as with some major rabbinic concepts (God, creation, election of Israel, repentance, redemption). The course will focus on the analysis and discussion of primary sources.
Professor: Peter Schäfer


REL 306/JDS 307
Class C01: 3:00-4:20 TTh


Transformations of Jewish Culture in the Early Modern World (16th-18th Century)
Jewish modernity – far from emerging “out of the ghetto” – was the result of a series of transformations that can be traced back to the vibrant urban centers of early modern Europe. In this course we will explore autobiographical, political, scientific, and pedagogical writings from Italy, Poland, Prague, Amsterdam, and Berlin (including authors like Judah Loew ben Bezalel and Moses Mendelssohn). We will examine the social contexts of cultural innovation, the interrelation between Jewish and Christian attempts at educational reform, and the role of languages and media in the transition from the early modern to the modern world.
Professor: Andrea Schatz

REL 311
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 TH


Studies in the Philosophy of Religion: Religious Existentialism
This course is an in-depth study of the existentialist philosophies of Soren Kierkegaard, Martin Buber, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Emmanuel Levinas. We will focus on their respective arguments about the relations between philosophy and existence, reason and revelation, divine law and love, religion and politics, and Judaism and Christianity.
Professor: Leora Batnitzsky

REL 347/JDS 347
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 W


Religion and Law
A critical examination of the relation between concepts of “religion” and “law,” as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, as well as in contemporary legal theory. If religion gives law its spirit, and law gives religion its structure, then what is their practical relation in both religious and secular life? This course explores the relation between Jewish and Christian conceptions of law, both in their ancient and modern contexts, and the relation between traditional religious and modern secular views of law.
Professor: Leora Batnitzky

REL 354/JDS 354
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 M


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. This 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

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


Studies in Greco-Roman Religions: Introduction to Judaism in the Greco-Roman World
The goal of this course is to introduce you to a significant part of the literature of the Jews of Palestine and Egypt in the period from Alexander to the destruction of the Second Temple, together with a sampling of some recent scholarship on these works. The introduction is necessarily selective, and it will thus reflect to some degree my interests and preoccupations, but I have made an effort to give you some sense of the range of Jewish texts in the period. I hope that this breadth of coverage will provide the background you need for your own work.
Professor: Martha Himmelfarb

HIS 447/JDS 447/ECS 447
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 T


Holocaust Controversies: Historiography and Politics
This course will investigate several central controversies surrounding the Holocaust from the 1960s to the present. Among the cases that we will focus on are: the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the German Historian’s Controversy, the trial of Klaus Barbie, the debate over Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, and the Jedwabne Massacre. The course will concentrate on the public resonance and meaning of the controversies for academic and non-academic audiences. The course will also include lectures by visitors who have participated in some of these debates.
Professors: Anson Rabinbach and Jan Gross

HIS 341
Lecture L01: 9:00-9:50 MW, Precept TBA


Between Resistance and Collaboration: The Experience of the Second World War in Europe
In the broader context of conflict between fascism, communism, and liberal democracy, we shall examine various patterns and methods of occupation, collaboration, and resistance during World War II in Western and Eastern Europe, The Holocaust of European Jewry and the technology of terror will be discussed. We will try to ascertain how elites and different social strata were affected by the impact of war and occupation. Students will be asked to read historical studies as well as personal narratives by eyewitnesses and participants.
Professor: Jan Gross

NES 329/REL 342
Class C01: 1:30-4:20 W


Religion in Culture – Culture in Religion: A History of Religion in the Ancient Near East
The geographical setting for this course is the region corresponding roughly to modern Syria, Iraq, Levant, and Turkey from the fourth through the first millennia B.C.E. Religion represents an essential part of the cultural system of the civilization of the Ancient Near East. We will explore the world view, cosmologies, concepts of divinity and mankind, destiny mortality, as well as official and personal cults, and the position of the king in his intermediary function between the gods and the people. Primary sources and a range of scholarly literature will be the basis for our discussion.
Professor: Beate Pongratz-Leisten

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: Abraham L. Udovitch

NES 545
Seminar S01: 1:30-4:20 W


Problems in Near Eastern Jewish History
The topic this year is the [Dhimma], the status of Jews and other non-Muslims in medieval Islam.
Professor: Mark Cohen

HEB 102
Class C01: 10:00-10:50 MWF
Drill D01: 10:00-10:50 TTh


Elementary Hebrew
Continuation of Hebrew 101 focusing on the structure, grammar, and vocabulary of the Hebrew language. There will be reading of easy texts from Israeli newspapers and from the textbooks. Also, there will be more compositions and presentations about various topics in Hebrew.
Professor: Esther Robbins


HEB 107
Class C01: 11:00-11:50 MWF
Drill D01: 11:00-11:50 TTh


Intermediate Hebrew
Completion of two-year textbook Ha-Yesod, and reading and discussion of selected additional texts (newspapers, stories, poems, etc.). Extensive practice in conversation, writing, and reading Hebrew literature.
Professor: Esther Robbins