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Graduate Courses

This is a listing of our course offerings for the current semester:<br />

CourseCrCourse TitleCross Listing

16:563:501 Jewish History I: Ancient and Medieval (3)

This course examines the social, religious, intellectual, and political experience of the Jewish people from the crystallization of their national-religious consciousness in the biblical period through the end of the 15th century. The religion and culture of the Jews are discussed within the broader context of their environment. The course divides neatly into three main periods: the biblical (or ancient) period, the post-biblical period (known as late antiquity), and the medieval period. We begin the course with the ancient Israelites as an independent people in its own land, and then move to the study of the Jews under foreign rule (including Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, Islam, and Christianity). Primary sources (Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Talmud, Maimonides, medieval chronicles, etc.) are emphasized throughout. The course concludes with the Expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula.

16:563:502 Jewish History II: Early Modern and Modern (3) Sinkoff

This course surveys the major trends in Jewish life from the ferment caused by the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the fifteenth century until the years between Europe’s two great twentieth-century wars. Lectures will highlight the political, social, religious, and intellectual life of the Jews. Topics of study include the emergence of Marranism, the rise of mercantilism and the resettlement of the Jews in Europe, the development of Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah), the debates over the political emancipation of the Jews, the emergence of Hasidism, the rise of Reform Judaism, modern anti-Semitism, Zionism, and Jewish life in Eastern Europe from the nineteenth century until the Russian Revolution. The course concludes with Jewish life in Weimar Germany during the interwar years.

16:563:510 American Jewish Life: Social Science Approaches (3) Shandler

This course will examine key works in the study of Jewish life in America since the turn of the twentieth century, including works of journalism, sociology, anthropology, sociolinguistics, and ethnomusicology. The course will consider both the dynamics of American Jewry during this period and the intellectual history of its study in the social sciences.

16:563:520 The Bible through Literary Eyes (3) Rendsburg

One of the major developments in biblical studies during the past thirty years has been a marked increase in attention to the literary artistry of the Bible – with a concomitant decrease in attention to historical and theological matters. This course will seek to bring the many lines of scholarly inquiry concerning the literary aspects of the Bible into coherent focus, with specific attention to a) the manner in which language and literature intersect to create the prose and poetry of the Bible, and b) how recent translations of the Bible reflect these concerns.

16:563:530 The Akedah: The Binding of Isaac and Its Reverberations (3) Yadin
A broad view of Jewish cultural and intellectual history, using the story of the Binding of Isaac as its linchpin; survey of Jewish sources, including a wide range of texts, genres, and media.

16:563:541 Rabbinic Literature (3) Yadin

The course will trace the historical developments that led to the establishment and eventual dominance of rabbinic Judaism, as well as the internal dynamics involved in this process. We will begin with a survey of the historical context of late Second Temple Judaism, then move to the post-destruction response of the group that would come to be known as the rabbis. All readings are in English.

16:563:550 Kafka (3) Levine
Kafka's parables, short stories, novels, diaries, and correspondence, with a particular focus on questions of translation, intertextuality, gesture, and the relationship between writing and the body.

16:563:555 Benjamin, Scholem, Arendt (3) Levine
The course examines three towering figures of twentieth-century thought: Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), Gershom Scholem (1897-1982), and Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Tracing the overlapping and divergent life paths of these figures and the story of their complex friendships and fallings-out, the course brings into focus central issues of contemporary political, philosophical, legal, literary, and religious thought. Issues discussed include: Jewish identity in the modern age; Marxism and theology; trauma and the concept of history; criticism and Kabbalah; the “German-Jewish Dialogue”; Holocaust memory, human rights, and the Eichmann trial.

16:563:580 Europe and Its Jews: Problems and Directed Readings in Modern Jewish Historiography (3) Sinkoff

This course explores the central trends and personalities in modern Jewish writing (historiography). It strives to cover the classic debates in modern Jewish historiography as well as to engage in newer debates within general historiography that have had an impact on the writing of Jewish history. The course also endeavors to sensitize students to the self-representation inherent in historical writing generally and about the Jews specifically.

16:563:588 Jewish-Christian Relations through the Ages (3) Tartakoff

This course examines the history of Jewish-Christian relations from the beginnings of Christianity through to the start of the twenty-first century. The course focuses both on the history of social interactions between Jews and Christians – persecutions, collaborations, conversions, etc. – and also on the history of theological stances and popular attitudes.

16:563:589 The Jews in Muslim and Christian Spain (3) Tartakoff

This course examines Jewish life in Iberia from its legendary beginnings in biblical times through to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Students will explore intellectual, cultural, and religious developments as well as social and political trends. Special emphasis will be placed on the complex history of relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

16:563:590 Jewish Memory, Identity and Culture (3) Zerubavel

Memory is an important facet of Jewish social life. Jewish tradition put a particularly strong emphasis on memory and modern Jewish culture has continued this trend. Traditional forms have been reinterpreted and reshaped while new sites of memory represent the impact of major events in recent history on contemporary Jewish life and identity. The course examines the relations between history and memory, autobiographical and collective memory, memory and identity, counter-memory and the transformation of tradition trauma and post-memory as well as explores various Jewish sites of memory including holidays, literary narratives, memorials, media, and art. Students are expected to develop their own research projects on a theme related to Jewish memory, selecting their own topic, preferred historical era and methodological approach.


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Dept of Jewish Studies
12 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
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