Spring 2016 Courses

Kabbalah: Concepts and History
JDS 248
David Sclar

This course surveys the major concepts and historical developments of Jewish mystical traditions in the last thousand years. We will explore both theosophical (contemplative) and ecstatic (experiential) Kabbalah, including the ideas and practices of major figures, groups, and movements.

Invention of the Gentile
JDS 310
Ishay Rosen Zvi

The distinction between "gentiles" and "Jews" is significant not only due to the great impact it had on the history of Jewish and Christian communities, but also because it has become a paradigmatic case of the distinction between outsiders and insiders, us and others. This class, based on new research, will probe the origins and construction of this category, beginning with the Bible and proceeding through other classical Jewish and Christian texts.

Bible Now: Bible in Contemporary Israel
JDS 311
Anna Grinfeld

For students with a solid grounding in Modern Hebrew. Develop proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Special attention to mastering complex grammatical structures, different registers, idiomatic expressions, and overall fluency. Enhance understanding of Israeli arts and letters by examining the manifold ways in which Biblical texts echo in contemporary Israeli cultural productions. Through texts, films, television series and programs, popular songs, music videos and other contemporary media contents, become aware of the ongoing and constant dialogue between contemporary Israel and Biblical texts.

Religion and Law
JDS 347
Leora Batnitzsky

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.

JDS 373
Jonathan Gribetz

This course explores why, since the late 18th century, Jews and non-Jews alike have asked if the Jews are a nation and why people answer differently, inviting students to think about the origins of nationalism and the relationship between nations and other groups - religions, 'races,' ethnicities, and states. Learn about those who insisted that the Jews are not a separate nation and consider the different motivations for rejecting the nationhood of the Jews. We will examine the varieties of Jewish nationalisms that arose at the end of the 19th century, including Diaspora nationalism, territorialism, and especially Zionism.

American Jewish Writers
JDS 377
Esther H. Schor

American Jewish Writers 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 American Jewish writing? On American letters? On modern Jewish literature? We'll consider the historic sweep of American Jewish writing from the 18th to the 21st centuries--and what better time, since the course coincides with the Princeton Art Museum's exhibition on American Jewish life before the Civil War. Students are invited to explore the collection, and develop docent talks as part of their coursework.

Problems in Near Eastern Jewish History
JDS 545
Eve Krakowski

This course offers a hands-on introduction to primary sources composed by Jews in the Islamic Near East and their uses for social, cultural, and intellectual history. Readings are chosen according to student interests and language competencies, and may include medieval rabbinic responsa and legal codes, biblical commentaries, and documents from the Cairo Geniza.

Courses from Previous Semesters