Judaic Studies (JDST)
JDST 110b / HUMS 133b / RLST 145b, The Bible Christine Hayes
The writings common to both Jewish and Christian scripture examined as diverse and often conflicting expressions of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel. The works' cultural and historical setting in the ancient Near East; the interpretive history of selected passages influential in Western culture. Introduction to a wide range of critical and literary approaches to biblical studies. Students view course lectures, which survey the entire Bible, on line; class time focuses on specific biblical passages and their subsequent interpretation in Jewish and Christian culture. HU
* JDST 127a / RLST 220a, Christians in Early Jewish Sources Staff
Exploration of Jewish and Christian texts from the first centuries (1-6th) C.E. Comparison of texts produced by Jewish and Christian writers in various geographical areas and communities; how the two religious communities saw each other and the world in which they both lived. Further understanding of the complexity of Jewish-Christian interactions in this early period. HU
* JDST 128b / RLST 232b, Jews in Early Christian Sources Staff
Exploration of Jewish and Christian texts from the first centuries (1-6th) CE. Christian writers are at the center of class readings: writings of Church fathers, east and west and church cannons of laws. The focus is on the comparative angle of the texts, and the importance of incorporating various geographical areas and various communities, in different times and historical circumstances. Students discuss the contacts and interactions between the two religious communities as they appear in these texts: the way they saw each other, and the world in which they both lived. All these serve to demonstrate the complex picture which is the Jewish-Christian interactions in this early period. HU
JDST 200a / ER&M 219a / HIST 219a / MMES 149a / RLST 148a, Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern Times Ivan Marcus
A broad introduction to the history of the Jews from biblical beginnings until the European Reformation and the Ottoman Empire. Focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jewish society and culture in its biblical, rabbinic, and medieval settings. Counts toward either European or non-Western distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies. HU RP
JDST 201b / HIST 220b / RLST 149b, Introduction to Modern Jewish History David Sorkin
A broad introduction to the history of Jewish culture from the late Middle Ages until the present. Emphasis on the changing interaction of Jews with the larger society as well as the transformation of Judaism in its encounter with modernity. HU
* JDST 223b / HUMS 295b / PLSC 307b, Trials of Uncertainty Norma Thompson
Is the demise of the trial at hand? The trial as cultural achievement, considered as the epitome of humanistic inquiry, where all is brought to bear on a crucial matter in an uncertain context. Truth may be hammered out or remain elusive, but the expectation in the court case has been that the adversarial mode works best for sorting out evidentiary conundrums. Inquiries into issues of meaning of the trial, its impartiality, and challenges to its endurability. The role of character, doubt, and diagnosis explored in Sophocles, Plato, Cicero, Burke, Jane Austen, Tocqueville, and Kafka, as well as in twentieth-century trials, films, documentaries, and twenty-first-century medical narratives. WR, HU
* JDST 245b / HUMS 390 / RLST 358b, Humor and Play in Rabbinic Literature Christine Hayes
This course examines the role of humor and play in ancient Jewish and rabbinic literature as compared with the role of humor and play in classical Greek and Roman culture and as illuminated by contemporary theories of humor, play, and performance. The course challenges anachronistic assertions of the incompatibility of humor and the sacred and explores the way ancient Jews, and the talmudic rabbis in particular, used humor and play to articulate a countercultural ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics. HU
JDST 265b / HIST 345b / MMES 148b / RLST 202b, Jews in Muslim Lands from the Seventh to the Sixteenth Centuries Ivan Marcus
Jewish culture and society in Muslim lands from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to that of Suleiman the Magnificent. Topics include Islam and Judaism; Jerusalem as a holy site; rabbinic leadership and literature in Baghdad; Jewish courtiers, poets, and philosophers in Muslim Spain; and the Jews in the Ottoman Empire. HU
* JDST 270a / HIST 232Ja / HUMS 443a / MMES 342a / RLST 201a, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In Conversation Ivan Marcus
How members of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities thought of and interacted with members of the other two cultures during the Middle Ages. Cultural grids and expectations each imposed on the other; the rhetoric of otherness—humans or devils, purity or impurity, and animal imagery; and models of religious community and power in dealing with the other when confronted with cultural differences. Counts toward either European or Middle Eastern distributional credit within the History major, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies. WR, HU
* JDST 272b / PHIL 264b / PHIL 295b / RLST 295b, Al-Ghazali and Maimonides Frank Griffel
The lives and thought of the philosopher theologians Al-Ghazali and Maimonides. Comparison of their lives and writings, focusing on their integration of Aristotelian philosophy into the theology of Islam and Judaism. HU
* JDST 280a / GMAN 391a / HUMS 391a / LITR 125a / RLST 374a, The Bible in German-Jewish Modernist Literature Staff
Biblical references in modernist literary works illustrate literature’s potential to transform ancient forms and conceptions into driving forces of renewal. This renewal concerns both literature and the Bible. Their encounter in modernist texts rarely occurs in a straightforward fashion. While the modernist literary reception of Biblical material occasionally does appear as pious affirmation or outright rejection, more characteristically, it alters, displaces, or distorts the original Scriptures. Not only do these transformations enact modernism’s basic injunction to “make it new,” but they also illuminate its complex relationship to tradition as such. The course explores this dynamic in the work of major German-Jewish modernists such as Franz Kafka, Else Lasker-Schüler and Paul Celan. None. HU
* JDST 293b / HIST 248Jb / RLST 214b, Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought Elli Stern
An overview of Jewish philosophical trends, movements, and thinkers from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first. Topics include enlightenment, historicism, socialism, secularism, religious radicalism, and Zionism. HU
* JDST 305a / HEBR 158a / MMES 168a, Contemporary Israeli Society in Film Shiri Goren
Examination of major themes in Israeli society through film, with emphasis on language study. Topics include migration, gender and sexuality, Jewish/Israeli identity, and private and collective memory. Readings in Hebrew and English provide a sociohistorical background and bases for class discussion. Prerequisites: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor. L5, HU RP
* JDST 306b / MMES 157b / NELC 157b, Israeli Narratives Shiri Goren
This course looks at contemporary representations of social, political, and domestic space in Israel through cultural production such as literature, visual work, and art. It focuses on close reading of major Israeli works in translation with attention to how their themes and forms relate to the Israeli condition. Reading and viewing include: Amos Oz’s major novel A Tale of Love and Darkness, Anne Frank: The Graphic Diary, Maya Arad’s novella “The Hebrew Teacher,” TV show Arab Labor and writing by Yehudah Amichai, Etgar Keret, and Sayed Kashua, among others. We discuss topics and theories of personal and collective identity formation, war and peace, ethnicity and race, migration, nationalism, and gender. No knowledge of Hebrew required. WR, HU Tr
* JDST 312b / LITR 196b / MMES 312b / NELC 323b, Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain Peter Cole
Introduction to the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry in Muslim Andalusia from the tenth century through the twelfth. Major figures of the period and the cultural and philosophical questions they confronted. The Judeo-Arabic social context in which the poetry emerged; critical issues pertaining to the study and transmission of this literature. Readings from the works of several poets. Readings in translation. Additional readings in Hebrew available. HU Tr
* JDST 316b / ENGL 456b / HUMS 427b / LITR 348b, The Practice of Literary Translation Robyn Creswell
This course combines a seminar on the history and theory of translation (Tuesdays) with a hands-on workshop (Thursdays). The readings lead us through a series of case studies comparing, on the one hand, multiple translations of given literary works and, on the other, classic statements about translation—by translators themselves and prominent theorists. We consider both poetry and prose from the Bible, selections from Chinese, Greek, and Latin verse, classical Arabic and Persian literature, prose by Cervantes, Borges, and others, and modern European poetry (including Pushkin, Baudelaire, and Rilke). Students are expected to prepare short class presentations, participate in a weekly workshop, try their hand at a series of translation exercises, and undertake an intensive, semester-long translation project. Proficiency in a foreign language is required. HU
* JDST 319b / HEBR 162b / MMES 161b, Israel in Ideology and Practice Dina Roginsky
An advanced Hebrew class focusing on changing ideology and politics in Israel. Topics include right and left wing political discourse, elections, State-Religion dynamics, the Jewish-Arab divide, and demographic changes. Materials include newspapers, publications, on-line resources, speeches of different political and religious groups, and contemporary and archival footage. Comparisons to American political and ideological discourse. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor. L5 RP
* JDST 326a / LITR 317a, Marxist Theory of Literature Hannan Hever
The role of Marxist thought in understanding literary institutions and texts in the twentieth century. Marx's theory of ideology; Lukacs's theory of literature as the basis for development of Marxist literary theory; the Frankfurt and materialistic schools. Readings include works by Raymond Williams, Catherine Belsey, Walter Benjamin, Pierre Macherey, and Frederic Jameson. HU
* JDST 339a / LITR 418a / MMES 418a / RLST 203a, The Classics of Modern Hebrew Literature Hannan Hever
Overview of the Poetics, Culture, History, and Political dynamics of Modern Hebrew Literature as national literature over the last 300 years. The course traces the literary development of its diasporic condition in Europe through the Hebrew Literature that is created in the Israeli Jewish sovereignty. The course is taught in Hebrew and the readings of literary texts are also in Hebrew. No background in Jewish literature, Hebrew literature, or Jewish culture is required. HU
* JDST 343b / ENGL 483b / HUMS 428b / LITR 305b, Advanced Literary Translation Peter Cole
A sequel to LITR 348 or its equivalent, this course brings together advanced and seriously committed students of literary translation, especially (but not only) those who are doing translation-related senior theses. Students must apply to the class with a specific project in mind, that they have been developing or considering, and that they will present on a regular basis throughout the semester. Discussion of translations-in-progress are supplemented by short readings that include model works from the world of literary translation, among them introductions and pieces of criticism, as well as reflections by practitioners treating all phases of their art. The class is open to undergraduates and graduate students who have taken at least one translation workshop. By permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: LITR 348.
JDST 346a / HIST 249a, Making European Culture Jewish: Five Media, 1780-1930 Staff
This course studies the ways in which Jewish writers and artists turned European culture into Jewish culture, that is, how a minority group fashioned its own version of the majority culture. As European Jews encountered European culture and society, they had to grapple with a host of fundamental questions. What was Judaism and who were the Jews: a religion, a history, a culture, a nation? We examine the way in which writers and artists struggled with these issues in five media: memoir, theology, history, fiction, and painting, thereby creating Jewish versions first of Enlightenment, Romanticism, and realism (1780-1870) and then of nationalism, positivism, and modernism (1870-1930). WR, HU 0 Course cr
* JDST 348a / GMAN 329a / PHIL 466a, German Idealism and Religion Paul Franks and Robert Stern
The philosophies of Kant and his German Idealist successors address a number of central questions in the philosophy of religion and also presuppose a religious background in their approaches to questions of general metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. In this course, we explore the relevant religious context―both in works of Erasmus and Luther and also in the writings of the kabbalists of Safed, Christian kabbalah, and Jakob Boehme. We then read major works by Kant, Hegel and Schelling against that background. Other authors include Conway, Herrera, Jacobi, Kierkegaard, Lessing and Mendelssohn. Issues considered include freedom of the will and determinism, pantheism and panentheism, infinity and finitude, knowledge and faith, love and law, commandment and antinomianism, love of God and love of neighbor. Some prior study of Kant and German Idealism is recommended. WR, HU
* JDST 351b / HIST 268Jb / PLSC 466b / RLST 324b, The Global Right: From the French Revolution to the American Insurrection Elli Stern
This seminar explores the history of right-wing political thought from the late eighteenth century to the present, with an emphasis on the role played by religious and pagan traditions. This course seeks to answer the question, what constitutes the right? What are the central philosophical, religious, and pagan, principles of those groups associated with this designation? How have the core ideas of the right changed over time? We do this by examining primary tracts written by theologians, political philosophers, and social theorists as well as secondary literature written by scholars interrogating movements associated with the right in America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Though touching on specific national political parties, institutions, and think tanks, its focus is on mapping the intellectual overlap and differences between various right-wing ideologies. While the course is limited to the modern period, it adopts a global perspective to better understand the full scope of right-wing politics. HU, SO
* JDST 353b / ER&M 306b / LITR 308b / MMES 308b, Literature at the Limit from Palestine and Israel Hannan Hever
Readings and films from post-1948 Palestine and Israel, with special attention given to historical and political contexts. Consideration of the limit, in the geographical sense of borders and checkpoints, as well as in the existential sense of extremity and trauma. HU
* JDST 361a, The Yiddish Classics and Modernity Staff
This course considers what it means to refer to “classics” or “modernity” in modern Yiddish literature. Three writers are known as the classicists: Sh.Y. Abramovitch (also known as Mendele Moykher Sforim, the “grandfather” of Yiddish literature), Sholem Aleichem, and Y.L. Peretz. Their short stories and novels offer a provocative introduction to the Eastern European Jewish milieu in which they wrote and the historical, political, social, and economic transformations of the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Women who wrote at the same time and were often published by these men are virtually unknown and are only recently beginning to be translated. We read some of their stories, too, in order to gain a fuller understanding of the transformations that took place during this period. The stories by these men and women often seem (perhaps surprisingly) contemporary as they consider questions of mobility, romance, class, nation, and more. Knowledge of Yiddish is not required for this course. All readings are in English translation. HU
* JDST 370b / HIST 226Jb / RLST 231b, Jews and Christians in the Formation of Europe, 500-1500 Ivan Marcus
Students study how Jews and Christians interacted on a daily basis as medieval Europe became more restrictive and antisemitic, a contributing factor to the Holocaust. In this writing seminar, students discuss a variety of primary sources in class―laws, stories, chronicles, images―while researching and writing their own seminar paper structured by sessions on topics, bibliographies, and outlines. WR, HU
* JDST 401b / HEBR 152b, Reading Academic Texts in Modern Hebrew Dina Roginsky
Reading of academic texts in modern Hebrew, for students with a strong background in Hebrew. Discussion of grammar and stylistics; special concentration on the development of accuracy and fluency. Prerequisite: HEBR 150 or permission of instructor. Conducted in Hebrew. L5 RP
* JDST 405b / HEBR 156b / MMES 216b, Dynamics of Israeli Culture Shiri Goren
Controversies in Israeli society as revealed in novels, films, poetry, newspaper articles, Web sites, art, advertisements, and television shows. Themes include migration and the construction of the Sabra character; ethnicity and race; the emergence of the Mizrahi voice; women in Israeli society; private and collective memory; the minority discourse of the Druze and Russian Jews; and Israeli masculinity and queer culture. Conducted in Hebrew. Papers may be written in English or Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor. L5, HU RP
JDST 407a / HEBR 161a / MMES 156a, Israeli Popular Music Dina Roginsky
Changes in the development of popular music in Israel explored as representations of changing Israeli society and culture. The interaction of music and cultural identity; modern popular music and social conventions; songs of commemoration and heroism; popular representation of the Holocaust; Mizrahi and Arab music; feminism, sexuality, and gender; class and musical consumption; criticism, protest, and globalization. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or equivalent. L5
* JDST 409a / HEBR 159a / MMES 159a, Conversational Hebrew: Israeli Media Shiri Goren
An advanced Hebrew course for students interested in practicing and enhancing conversational skills. Focus on listening comprehension and on various forms of discussion, including practical situations, online interactions, and content analysis. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or permission of instructor. L5 RP
JDST 648a / PHIL 666a, German Idealism and Religion Paul Franks and Robert Stern
The philosophies of Kant and his German Idealist successors address a number of questions in the philosophy of religion, and also presuppose a religious background when addressing questions of general metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. In this course, we explore the relevant religious context—both in works of Erasmus and Luther and also in the writings of the kabbalists of Safed, Christian kabbalah, and Jakob Boehme. We then read major works by Kant, Hegel, and Schelling against that background. Other authors include Conway, Herrera, Jacobi, Kierkegaard, Lessing, Mendelssohn, and Rosenzweig. Issues considered include freedom of the will and determinism, pantheism and panentheism, infinity and finitude, knowledge and faith, love and law, antinomianism, love of God and love of neighbor. Some prior study of Kant and German Idealism is recommended.
JDST 657b / ANTH 514b / ARCG 515b / CLSS 878b / CPLT 671b / HIST 515b / NELC 570b / RLST 672b, Corrupting Seas: Premodern Maritime Ecologies (Archaia Seminar) Noel Lenski and Hussein Fancy
Uses the theoretical framework of "corrupting seas" developed by Horden and Purcell as a hermeneutic to investigate the cultural, economic, political, and religious environments of the archaic, ancient and medieval Mediterranean, and similar maritime ecologies. Landscape and natural ecologies play an important but not exclusive role in mapping how diversity and connectivity combined to constitute complex and dynamic environments in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Caribbean, and South China Sea. The course is connected with Archaia's Ancient Societies Workshop, which runs its own series of events through the academic year. Students must attend the ASW events in the spring (fall events are optional).
JDST 677a / CPLT 574a, Marxist Theory of Literature Hannan Hever
Marxist thought has played a major role in the understanding of literary institutions, as well as literary texts. Within Marxist thought, literature always had a unique function in the processes of ideology, class struggles, and the constitution of the subject; material Marxism, cultural Marxism, European Marxism, and neo-Marxism all studied the work of literature as an institution and as both reflection and construction of reality, and of its perception. The aim of this seminar is to acquaint ourselves with Marxist theories of literature in the twentieth century. We start with the very basics of Marxism, focusing especially on the theory of ideology. We then study Lukács’s theory of literature as the basis of the development of Marxist literary theory, followed by the literary theories developed by the Frankfurt School, the materialistic school of Louis Althusser, Antonio Gramsci, E.P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Terry Eagleton, Catherine Belsey, Fredric Jameson, and others. Open to undergraduates. All texts are in English, and no previous knowledge is required.
JDST 761a / HIST 596a / MDVL 596a / RLST 773a, Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern Times Ivan Marcus
A broad introduction to the history of the Jews from biblical beginnings until the European Reformation and the Ottoman Empire. Focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jewish society and culture in its biblical, rabbinic, and medieval settings.
JDST 764b / HIST 590b / MDVL 590b / RLST 777b, Jews in Muslim Lands from the Seventh through the Sixteenth Century Ivan Marcus
Introduction to Jewish culture and society in Muslim lands from the Prophet Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent. Topics include Islam and Judaism; Jerusalem as a holy site; rabbinic leadership and literature in Baghdad; Jewish courtiers, poets, and philosophers in Muslim Spain; and the Jews in the Ottoman Empire.
JDST 799b / AMST 692b / HSAR 730b / RLST 788b, Religion and the Performance of Space Sally Promey and Margaret Olin
This interdisciplinary seminar explores categories, interpretations, and strategic articulations of space in a range of religious traditions. In conversation with the work of major theorists of space, this seminar examines spatial practices of religion in the United States during the modern era, including the conception, construction, and enactment of religious spaces. It is structured around theoretical issues, including historical deployments of secularity as a framing mechanism, ideas about space and place, geography and gender, and relations between property and spirituality. Examples of case studies treated in class include the enactment of rituals within museums, the marking of religious boundaries such as the Jewish “eruv,” and the assignment of “spiritual” ownership in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Prerequisite: permission of the instructors; qualified undergraduates are welcome.
JDST 806b / HIST 603b / MDVL 603b / RLST 616b, Jews and Christians in the Formation of Europe, 500–1500 Ivan Marcus
This seminar explores how medieval Jews and Christians interacted as religious societies between 500 and 1500.
JDST 835b / HEBR 519b, Israel in Ideology and Practice Dina Roginsky
An advanced Hebrew class that focuses on changing ideology and politics in Israel. Topics include right- and left-wing political discourse, elections, state-religion dynamics, the Jewish-Arab divide, and demographic changes. Materials include newspapers, publications, online resources, speeches of different political and religious groups, and contemporary and archival footage. Also, this course draws comparisons to American political and ideological discourse. Prerequisite: HEBR 502 or equivalent.
JDST 844a / HIST 595a / RLST 692a, Introduction to Modern European Jewish History David Sorkin
This course introduces students to European Jewish history since approximately 1648. It teaches the major historiographical traditions as well as the major themes of European Jewish history. Its audience is students specializing in Jewish history but also other historians who wish to add an understanding of Jewish history to their understanding of Europe.