Department of Jewish Studies
Spring 2012 Graduate Courses
Jewish History I: Ancient and Medieval
16:563:501; Monday, Wednesday, 4th period; Sara Milstein
Murray Hall, Room 210
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.
Jewish History II: Early Modern and Modern
16:563:502; Monday, Wednesday, 7th period; Jonathan Gribetz
Scott Hall, Room 214
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.
The Akedah: The Binding Of Isaac And Its Reverberations
16:563:530; Monday, 4:30-7:30, Azzan Yadin
12 College Avenue
This course provides a broad view of Jewish cultural and intellectual history, using the story of the Binding of Isaac as its linchpin. Beginning with the biblical narrative itself, we survey a number of key texts and genres that deal with the Akedah, with the aim of discussing a wide range of texts, genres, and media. Alongside the historical material itself, the course is intended as a methodological introduction to the study of Jewish sources, encompassing various literary approaches (source criticism, psychoanalytic reading, critical theory), analysis of artistic representations of the Akedah, broad questions that cut across different historical periods (elite and vernacular texts, the borderlines of the Jewish canon), and more.