Fall 2019 Courses

Fall 2019

COM 349 / ECS 349 / GER 349 / JDS 349
Texts and Images of the Holocaust
In an effort to encompass the variety of responses to what is arguably the most traumatic event of modern Western experience, we explore the Holocaust as transmitted through documents, testimony, journals, memoirs, creative writing and cinema. In our study of works, reflecting diverse languages, cultures, genres, and points of view, we focus on issues of bearing witness, collective vs individual memory, and the nature of radical evil Throughout we are mindful of tensions between ethical and aesthetic imperatives, and the perils of representation itself, when faced with the unrepresentable. Weekly film showings in addition to seminar.
Instructors: Froma I. Zeitlin
Office of the Registrar

JDS 302 / NES 302 / REL 302 / HEB 322
Elementary Biblical Hebrew I
Students will achieve a basic ability to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language. During the semester, students will learn the script and the grammar, develop a working vocabulary, and read a selection of Biblical passages. The course is designed for beginners with little or no previous knowledge of the language. Students with extensive experience in the language should contact the instructor about course alternatives.
Instructors: Philip Zhakevich
Office of the Registrar

NES 316 / HIS 299 / AAS 324 / JDS 316
Muslims, Jews and Christians in North Africa: Interactions, Conflicts and Memory
This has been as one of the main events of the modern times in North Africa: from the 1950s onwards, the Jewish local communities and the European settlers started to leave Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. We will study the various interactions between Muslims, Jews and Christians in this part of the Islamic world. How did Europeans transform North African Islam and local societies? We will as well explore the reasons why the local Jews and Europeans left en masse after the colonial period and how North African Muslims, Jews and former European settlers developed either a strong memory of a shared past or a mutual distrust even today.
Instructors: M'hamed Oualdi
Office of the Registrar

NES 369 / HIS 251 / JDS 351
The World of the Cairo Geniza
The importance of the Cairo Geniza, a cache of texts discovered in the attic of a medieval Egyptian synagogue, goes beyond Jewish history, crossing the breadth of the medieval world and offering an intimate view of commerce, slavery, heresy and seafaring; of what people wore, ate, rode, believed and did all day; of who married whom and why; of a Shi'ite state ruling over Sunnis, Christians and Jews; and of a society that remains the best documented of its period. Students in the course will read unpublished primary sources to gain an insider's glimpse of what we can know and can't know in premodern history.
Instructors: Marina Rustow
Office of the Registrar

REL 246 / JDS 246
Ancient Judaism from Alexander to the Rise of Islam
This course offers an introduction to the development of ancient Judaism during the eventful millennium from the establishment of the Torah as the constitution of the Jewish people in the fifth century BCE--an event that some have seen as marking the transition from biblical religion to Judaism--to the completion of the other great canonical Jewish document, the Babylonian Talmud, in perhaps the sixth century CE.
Instructors: Martha Himmelfarb
Office of the Registrar

REL 347 / JDS 347
Religion and Law
A critical examination of the relation between concepts of "religion" and "law," as they figure in modern Christian and Jewish thought, modern legal theory and contemporary debates about religious freedom. 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 in debates about the modern nation state.
Instructors: Leora Faye Batnitzky
Office of the Registrar