Spring 2013 Courses

ENG 356/JDS 377/AMS 378Topics in American Literature: American Jewish Writers: Exiles, Citizens, Provocateurs(LA)
American Jewish writers are known to adopt a variety of personae: they may write as exiles, as citizens, as provocateurs, among other figures. Why these strategies--and what sort of mark have they left on the rich body of writing we have before us? On American letters? On modern Jewish literature? We'll address these questions while considering the historic sweep of American Jewish writing from the 18th to the 21st centuries.Esther H. Schor

HIS 359/JDS 359 Modern Jewish History: 1750-Present(HA)
This course surveys the breadth of Jewish experience from the era of the Enlightenment to the contemporary period. Tracing the development of Jewish cultures and communities in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States against the background of general history, the lectures focus on themes such as the transformation of Jewish identity, the creation of modern Jewish politics, the impact of anti-semitism, and the founding of the State of Israel.Yaacob Dweck

JDS 306/REL 316/HEB 306 Elementary Biblical Hebrew
Students will achieve a basic ability to read the Hebrew Bible/Old Testamtent in its original language. During the semester, students will study the grammar and develop their vocabulary. Upon completing the grammar textbook, students will read large passages from the Bible from all genres.Naphtali S. MeshelJudah Kraut  NEW

NES 316/JDS 326 Introduction to Jewish History: Museums and Memory(HA)
This course covers Jewish history from the ancient period through the present, and across various geographies and contexts, using as its lens the tendency for Jews to reflect upon and record their experiences through a variety of documentary and archival forms. We will reflect on Jewish modes of consciously recording customs, cultural contact, violence, migration, and displacement, and the ways in which later Jewish communities interpret and understand the material they have received from the past. A focus on museums and their construction of memory will be a centerpiece of the course.Liora R. Halperin NEW

NES 349/JDS 350 Imagining Diasporas and Homelands(HA)
Why do people sometimes long for homelands that they have never personally experienced? Is this longing compatible with integration in new surroundings? In the first part of the course we consider the complexities of the paradigmatic original diaspora: the Jewish diaspora. In the second part of the course, we consider how the concept of diaspora has been expanded to include other groups in an age of widespread migration, displacement, and increasing global connectivity. Here we will consider, among others, the Palestinian and Armenian diaspora, as well as how concepts of Jewish diaspora have been modified and revisited.Liora R. Halperin  NEW

NES 408/JDS 408/COM 365 The Hebrew Poetry of Medieval Spain(LA)
Covers the rise of the golden age of Hebrew poetry in Muslim Spain; the Arabic literary background; lyrical, liturgical, and contemplative verse by great poets of the 11th and 13th centuries (Shmuel ha-Nagid, Ibn Gabirol, Judah Halevi, Todros Abulafia, etc.); and narratives in rhymed prose. Two weeks will be devoted to developments outside Spain: the 12th through 13th century martyrdom poems from France and the Rhineland, and, in conclusion, the adoption of Romance forms, especially the sonnet, in the Hebrew poetry of Italy.Andras P. Hamori

REL 247/JDS 247 Rabbinic Literature: Law, Religion, and History(HA)
Rabbinic literature (the Mishnah, the Talmud and midrashic texts) is crucial for reconstructing the religious culture of late antiquity as well as for understanding most subsequent forms of Judaism. This course focuses on the skills required for reading these classical Jewish texts in translation, on situating them in their historical context and in relation to Roman culture, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, and on tracing developments in the rabbis' legal concepts as well as their construction of creation, redemption, sexuality and God.Moulie Vidas NEW

REL 347/JDS 347 Religion and Law(EM)
A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in the modern state. The course will survey theoretical tools for thinking about these issues and their historical development before applying them to case studies in Europe and the Middle East. With the benefit of these comparative studies, and a new historical and philosophical insights, we will then address religion, politics and law in contemporary America.Alexander L. Kaye NEW

REL 348/JDS 348 Genesis and Cosmogony in Antiquity(HA)
Ancient accounts and discussions of the world's creation negotiated fundamental problems such as the origin of evil, the nature of mankind and its relation to animals or divine beings, and the difference between male and female. Such accounts also figure prominently in probing topics central to the study of religion: the function of myths and their relation to other forms of expression, the politics of religious identity, and the transmission of ideas across boundaries. This course examines both sets of questions through close readings of Genesis and its earliest interpretations as well as other texts from the Mediterranean and Near East.Moulie Vidas  NEW

REL 351/JDS 351 Golem: The Creation of an Artificial Man(HA)
The creation of an artifical human being has been an age-old dream of humankind. Among its ramifications are the robot, the computer and the clone. The seminar will follow the Golem tradition within Judaism throughout history up to its modern offshoots. It will deal with its origin in the Hebrew Bible, its manifestations in mysticism and magic (e.g. the Golem of Prague), in literature, in film and on stage, in art, children books, and the history of science.Peter Schäfer

REL 398/JDS 397/ART 393 Jews and Christians in Ancient Palestine: The Archaeological Evidence(HA)
The course will focus on the range of contacts and connections between Jews and Christians in Byzantine Palestine (Western Palestine and Transjordan) as corroborated by the archaeological finds. The similarities and differences between synagogues and churches will be the focus of the discussion, but other aspects relating to demography, art, cemeteries, everyday life, small finds, and more will also be examined. Through this material we will attempt to determine the relationship between the two communities in the 4th to the 7th centuries.Zeev Weiss NEW

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