Judaic Studies (JDST)
* JDST 129a / RLST 284a, Jewish and Christian Bodies: Ritual, Law, Theory Shraga Bick
This course employs a variety of methodological tools to explore the place and meaning of the body in Judaism and Christianity, by examining several central issues related to the body, such as observing the commandment; Martyrdom; Illness and death; sexuality and gender; and the performance of rituals. HU
JDST 200a / ER&M 219a / HIST 219a / MMES 149a / RLST 148a, Jews and the World: From the Bible through 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 0 Course cr
* JDST 213a / HEBR 150a / MMES 150a, Advanced Modern Hebrew: Daily Life in Israel Orit Yeret
An examination of major controversies in Israeli society. Readings include newspaper editorials and academic articles as well as documentary and historical material. Advanced grammatical structures are introduced and practiced. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or equivalent. L5 RP
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 0 Course cr
* JDST 268a / MMES 268a, The Cairo Genizot and their Literatures Staff
Ancient and medieval Jews did not throw away Hebrew texts they considered sacred, but rather, they deposited and/or buried them in dedicated rooms known as Genizot. The most famous of these depositories was in the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, which contained perhaps the single most important trove ever discovered of Jewish literary and documentary sources from around the Mediterranean basin, sources dating as early as the ninth century and extending into the early modern period. This course introduces students to the Jewish manuscript remains of the medieval Cairo Genizah as well as other important Cairo manuscript caches. Students study the wide
variety of types of literary and documentary genres in these collections, and gain familiarity with the history of the Genizah’s discovery in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century as well as the acquisition of these manuscripts by institutions outside the Middle East (including Harvard). Readings, including primary Genizah sources, are in English translation, but students with knowledge of Arabic will be offered an additional weekly session providing instruction in reading Judeo-Arabic and centered on readings of sources in the Judeo-Arabic original. 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 RP
* JDST 278b / MMES 278b, Interreligious Encounters: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Medieval Period Staff
The development and spread of Islam and the accompanying diffusion of the Arabic language brought religions in the Near East into contact in unprecedented ways. Judaism, Islam and Christianity were shaped and in turn shaped each other on the basis of the Arabic language, which was the shared medium of written scholarship as well as being the lingua franca of daily life. In this course we examine various aspects of this interreligious exchange, focusing on major topics in the dialogue between these three religions against the backdrop of a shared Islamicate culture, representing the pre-Islamic period through the early Ottoman period. Class sessions focus on the close reading of primary sources in translation. Depending on enrollment and student interest, some primary sources may also be read in the original Hebrew, Arabic, and Judeo-Arabic. Students with backgrounds in Arabic are introduced to the Hebrew alphabet for this purpose. HU
* JDST 286a / FREN 340a / GMAN 232a / HUMS 429a / LITR 232a, Paul Celan Thomas Connolly
An undergraduate seminar in English exploring the life and work of Paul Celan (1920-1970), survivor of the Shoah, and one of the foremost European poets of the second half of the twentieth century. We will read from his early poems in both Romanian and German, and his published collections including Der Sand aus den Urnen, Mohn und Gedächtnis, Von Schelle zu Schelle, Sprachgitter, Die Niemandsrose, Atemwende, Fadensonnen, Lichtzwang, and Schneepart. We will also read from his rare pieces in prose and his correspondence with family, friends, and other intellectuals and poets including Bachmann, Sachs, Heidegger, Char, du Bouchet, Michaux, Ungaretti. A special focus on his poetic translations from French, but also Russian, English, American, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and Hebrew. Critical readings draw from Szondi, Adorno, Derrida, Agamben, and others. Readings in English translation or in the original languages, as the student desires. Discussions in English. None. WR, HU
* 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 316b / ENGL 456b / HUMS 427b / LITR 348b, The Practice of Literary Translation Peter Cole
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 329b / LITR 235b, Modern Jewish Poets Peter Cole
This course introduces students to a diverse group of modern Jewish poets—from Gertrude Stein, Moyshe Leyb-Halpern, and Adrienne Rich to Muriel Rukeyser, Yehuda Amichai, Paul Celan, Edmond Jabès, Leonard Cohen, and others. Writing in English, Yiddish, German, Hebrew, and French, these poets gave seminal expression to Jewish life in a variety of modes and permutations, and in the process produced poems of lasting and universal value. The class explores work as art and considers pressing questions of cultural, historical, and political context. All readings are in English. HU
* JDST 335b / GMAN 254b / PHIL 274b / RLST 249b, Jewish Philosophy Paul Franks
Introduction to Jewish philosophy, including classical rationalism of Maimonides, classical kabbalah, and Franz Rosenzweig's inheritance of both traditions. Critical examination of concepts arising in and from Jewish life and experience, in a way that illuminates universal problems of leading a meaningful human life in a multicultural and increasingly globalized world. No previous knowledge of Judaism is required. WR, HU
* JDST 351a / HIST 268Ja / PLSC 466a / RLST 324a, 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 370b / HIST 226Jb / RLST 231b, How the West Became Antisemitic: Jews and the Formation of Europe 800-1500 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 402a / HEBR 167a / MMES 166a, Creative Writing in Hebrew Orit Yeret
An advanced language course with focus on creative writing and self-expression. Students develop knowledge of modern Hebrew, while elevating writing skills based on special interests, and in various genres, including short prose, poetry, dramatic writing, and journalism. Students engage with diverse authentic materials, with emphasis on Israeli literature, culture, and society. Prerequisite: HEBR 140 or placement exam. L5 RP
* JDST 403a / HEBR 169a / LING 165a / MMES 162a, Languages in Dialogue: Hebrew and Arabic Dina Roginsky
Hebrew and Arabic are closely related as sister Semitic languages. They have a great degree of grammatical, morphological, and lexical similarity. Historically, Arabic and Hebrew have been in cultural contact in various places and in different aspects. This advanced Hebrew language class explores linguistic similarities between the two languages as well as cultural comparisons of the communities, built on mutual respect. Students benefit from a section in which they gain a basic exposure to Arabic, based on its linguistic similarity to Hebrew. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 140, or placement test, or permission of the instructor. L5, HU 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 471a or b, Individual Tutorial Hannan Hever
For students who wish, under faculty supervision, to investigate an area in Judaic Studies not covered by regular course offerings. May be used for research or for directed reading, but in either case a long essay or several short ones are required. To apply for admission, a student should present a prospectus with bibliography and a letter of support from the faculty member who will direct the work to the director of undergraduate studies.
* JDST 491a or b and JDST 492a or b, The Senior Essay Hannan Hever
The essay, written under the supervision of a faculty member, should be a substantial paper between 6,500 and 8,000 words for one term and between 12,500 and 15,000 words for two terms.
JDST 670b / NELC 805b / PERS 505b, Middle Persian Kevin van Bladel
This one-term course covers the grammar of Middle Persian, focusing on royal and private inscriptions and the Zoroastrian priestly book tradition. Permission of the instructor required.
JDST 671a / HEBR 524a, Creative Writing in Hebrew Orit Yeret
An advanced language course with focus on creative writing and self-expression. Students develop knowledge of modern Hebrew, while elevating writing skills based on special interests, and in various genres, including short prose, poetry, dramatic writing, and journalism. Students engage with diverse authentic materials, with emphasis on Israeli literature, culture, and society.
JDST 674a / HEBR 578a, Languages in Dialogue: Hebrew and Arabic Dina Roginsky
Hebrew and Arabic are closely related as sister Semitic languages. They have a great degree of grammatical, morphological, and lexical similarity. Historically, Arabic and Hebrew have been in cultural contact in various places and in different aspects. This advanced Hebrew language class explores linguistic similarities between the two languages as well as cultural comparisons of the communities, built on mutual respect. Students benefit from a section in which they gain a basic exposure to Arabic, based on its linguistic similarity to Hebrew. Conducted in Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR 503, or placement test, or permission of the instructor.
JDST 761a / HIST 596a / MDVL 596a / RLST 773a, Jews and the World: From the Bible through 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 806b / HIST 603b / MDVL 603b / RLST 616b, How the West Became Antisemitic: Jews and the Formation of Europe, 800–1500 Ivan Marcus
This seminar explores how medieval Jews and Christians interacted as religious societies between 800 and 1500.
JDST 861b / HIST 597b / RLST 797b, Twentieth-Century Jewish Politics David Sorkin
This seminar explores major aspects of twentieth-century Jewish politics with an emphasis on new forms of political practice.
JDST 862a / CPLT 644a, The Betrayal of the Intellectuals Hannan Hever
The target of the seminar is to clarify the concept of the intellectual and its political and literary uses during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The point of departure is Julien Benda’s influential book, The Betrayal of the Intellectuals (1927). Benda defines two kinds of intellectuals: the particularists, who are specifically committed to country, party, and economic issues—later thought of as the arena of “identity politics”—and the universalists, committed to more general humanist values. What makes one an intellectual? Does becoming an intellectual depend on specific historical, social, cultural, literary, and political conditions? Is being an intellectual a matter of “talking truth to power” in accordance with universalist values? The course looks at a variety of definitions of what constitutes an intellectual, based on approaches such as Benda’s notion of the betrayal of the particularist intellectual, or postcolonial intellectualism. The course then looks at the specificity of intellectualism as it appears in certain contexts through readings from Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Jean-Paul Sartre, George Orwell, Naguib Mahfouz, Frantz Fanon, Eleanor Roosevelt, James Baldwin, Angela Davis, Martin Buber, Edward Said, Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, and Toni Morrison. Open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.