Jewish Studies courses

JWST 1010 Introduction to Jewish Civilization: Foundations
Introduction to Jewish Civilization: Foundations
This course will introduce the student to the variety of religious expression and understanding in the Jewish tradition. The focus of the course is the biblical texts and their interpretations which are relevant to Jewish understandings of issues such as creation, revelation, redemption and community. We will also study the social, literary, historical and cultural influences that helped shape the varieties of Jewish traditions throughout the ages.
credit hours: 3

JWST 1020 Introduction to Jewish Civilization: The Modern Era
Introduction to Jewish Civilization: The Modern Era
This course will introduce the students to the variety of religious expression and understanding in the Jewish tradition in the early modern and modern eras.The focus of the course will begin with biblical texts and then use writings from medieval, early modern, and the modern period to explore how the definitions of Jewishness and conceptions of Jewish belonging change over time. We will also study the social, literary, historical and cultural influences that helped shape the varieties of Jewish traditions across 1,000 years.
credit hours: 4

JWST 1110 Introduction to Judaism
Introduction to Judaism
credit hours: 3

JWST 1250 Building Jewish Identity: Secular Judaism in Historical Perspective
Building Jewish Identity: Secular Judaism in Historical Perspective
The starting point for our investigation of a distinctively secular Jewish conception of the world will be the fact that roughly on behalf of the American Jewish population possesses a secular non-religious orientation (American Jewish Identity Survey, 2001). How did this non-religious orientation arise amongst what many people consider to be a religious community? We will explore how certain non-religious features, such as shared culture, language, custom, dress, and education played an integral part in the definition of Jews and Judaism from their inception, and the role played by these features in the constitution of variant secular forms of Judaism and secular Jewish orientations in the modern period.
credit hours: 3

JWST 2100 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible - Old Testament
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible - Old Testament
In this course we will attempt to understand the Hebrew Bible better by examining samples of each of the major genres represented while at the same time placing each within its historical context. We will also focus upon questions of interpretation. By taking a general survey of the ways in which the Hebrew Bible has been read and interpreted in the past we will begin to understand how these ancient texts continue to live and speak to so many.
credit hours: 3

JWST 2200 Modern Jewish History
Modern Jewish History
Analysis and interpretation of Judaism in modern times. The meanings of religiosity and secularity are explored through analysis of several Jewish responses to modernity: religious reform, Jewish socialism, political and cultural Zionism, assimilationism. Integration of these diverse responses produces a coherent picture of how a religion is transformed through interaction with modern culture.
credit hours: 3

JWST 2810 Special Topics in Jewish Studies
Special Topics in Jewish Studies
Special topic in Jewish Studies.  
credit hours: 3

JWST 3100 Select Topics in Israeli Film
Select Topics in Israeli Film
This course will cover special offerings in Jewish history, religious thought and literature. It will be taught by various permanent and visiting Jewish Studies instructors.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3120 Modern Hebrew Literature and the Bible
Modern Hebrew Literature and the Bible
This course will introduce students to the ongoing dialogue between the Jewish People and the Hebrew Bible, their defining text. Through the reading of the Biblical text alongside Rabbinic texts composed in the first millennium of the Common Era and Hebrew Poetry of the twentieth century, students will learn how later Jewish readers employed gaps in the text to make the Bible relevant to them.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3140 Select Readings in the Hebrew Bible
Select Readings in the Hebrew Bible
In this course we will read specific books from the Hebrew Bible (in translation). The books read will rotate within three topics: Genesis; The Five Scrolls: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther; The Prophets. The aim of this course is to provide the student with the opportunity to read portions of the Hebrew Bible in detail and how they have been read, interpreted, and explained throughout the centuries. The student will also learn to read the texts critically and begin to form his/her own understanding of the text.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3150 Second Temple Judaisms
Second Temple Judaisms
Starting with the return from Babylonia up until the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E., Judaism was transformed from a local ethnic religious cult to a broad-based, diverse, and often fragmented sectarian religion. Many outside cultures and civilizations, from the ancient Persians to the Imperial Romans, influenced the Jews and Judaism through language, culture, and political contacts. We will study these cultural contracts and conflicts that caused Jews in the Second Commonwealth to develop competing understandings of Judaism.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3210 American Jewish History
American Jewish History
The course examines the nature of religion in modern and contemporary times, using Judaism in America as an example. How did the American Jewish community come into being? What is American about it? What is Judaic, that is, carrying forward aspects of classical Judaism? What is the meaning of the ethnic, social, and cultural traits emergent in contemporary Jewish life? Answers to these questions provide a picture of the character of American Judaism and of the complexities of contemporary religious life.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3220 The Arab-Israeli Conflict
The Arab-Israeli Conflict
This seminar traces the course of the Arab-Israeli conflict from the rise of Zionism, through the various Arab-Israeli wars, and up to the recent peace negotiations. Emphasis is on presenting the perspectives of all the parties to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and placing it in the context of the history of the Middle East as a whole.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3330 Jewish Music
Jewish Music
Survey of Jewish liturgical music from Biblical times to the present, and of Jewish popular, theatre, and folk music. Emphasis on European, Israeli, Sephardic, and American traditions.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3340 Early American Jewish History
Early American Jewish History
This class focuses on the period from the earliest Jewish settlers in mid-seventeenth century colonial America through the establishment of viable Jewish communities and institutions by the latter part of the nineteenth century. It covers the so-called Sephardic and Germanic periods of American-Jewish history, prior to the wave of Eastern European immigration. Among the themes explored are the tension between Jewish identity and the pressures of assimilation; the transformation of the synagogue; the emergence of Jewish social and cultural institutions; changing religious practices and the rise of Reform Judaism. Events and themes are placed within the broader context of American history.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3440 Representing the Holocaust: Literary and Filmic Depictions of the Undepictable
Representing the Holocaust: Literary and Filmic Depictions of the Undepictable
This course examines the Holocaust from various perspectives, disciplines, and media (including history, literature, and film) to investigate the conditions and limitations of representations of the Holocaust. May be counted toward a major in German only with departmental approval and provided all reading is done in German.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3500 The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry I: Moslem Spain
The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry I: Moslem Spain
An examination of the cultural, political, and intellectual history of Spanish Jewry from the beginnings of Jewish settlement through the early reconquest. Special attention is given to the contributions of Hasdai ibn Shaprut and Samuel Ha-Nagid.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3520 The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry II: Christian Spain
The Golden Age of Spanish Jewry II: Christian Spain
A study of the transition of Spanish Jewry from Moslem rule to Christian rule. The course includes an analysis of the several disputations of this period as well as the impact of the inquisition and expulsion. Special attention is given to the literature and philosophy of Maimonides, Crescas, and Solomon ibn Adret.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3530 Jewish Life and Thought in the High Middle Ages
Jewish Life and Thought in the High Middle Ages
The medieval period was perhaps the most prolific age for Jewish exploration and interpretation of Jewish religious texts and sources. We will examine a number of these philosophical, mystical, poetic, liturgic, and juridical in order to better appreciate the context and content of medieval concerns and solutions.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3540 Jewish Life and Thought from the Renaissance to the Age of Reason
Jewish Life and Thought from the Renaissance to the Age of Reason
Cromwell's England, Florence, Vilna, Prague, and Spinoza's Amsterdam.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3590 Greek Philosophy and Jewish Thought
Greek Philosophy and Jewish Thought
Western culture has a double source, the Bible and Greek philosophy, or Jerusalem and Athens. Are the two traditions harmonious or do they stand in some essential tension with each other? While this was an especially vital challenge to thinkers of the Medieval period, it expresses a fundamental question about the relation between revelation and reason. This course will approach that question by examining the response of some important Jewish thinkers in the encounter with the teachings of Plato and Aristotle.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3600 Women in the Hebrew Bible
Women in the Hebrew Bible
Women play a significant role in the Bible, one that is often at best misunderstood and at worst ignored. In this class we will examine the biblical stories and their historical context in order to understand the role of women in the biblical period as well as the role of the figures within the biblical text. We will also examine modern interpretations of these tests (including feminist readings and creative fiction based upon the biblical text) to see how modern scholars have understood these ancient texts in modern times.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3750 Jewish Identity in Modern Literature
Jewish Identity in Modern Literature
In this course we will examine novels, short stories, essays, and other literary works by European Jewish authors and study their literary, cultural and political context. We trace the development of literary forms that provide the basis for a modern Jewish self-consciousness and a sense of cultural identity. We compare the concepts of community and individualism, religious reform, and cultural notions of identity in the writings of authors from Eastern European and Western Europe. We also examine the differences of Jews in Europe in the period before the Holocaust.
credit hours: 3

JWST 3880 Writing Practicum
Writing Practicum
Notes: Fulfills the college intensive-writing requirement.
Pre-requistites: Successful completion of the First-Year Writing Requirement.
Co-requisites: Three-credit departmental course.
credit hours: 1

JWST 4110 Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
This course will focus on the literature and culture of the Rabbinic period (c. 200-600 C.E.). We will concentrate on reading and analyzing primary texts (Midrash, Mishnah and Talmud) as well as studying the historical context and methodological issues. This course will discuss the various literatures' styles, methods and contents as well as their internal and external cultural influences.
Pre-requistites: JWST 3150 Recommended.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4150 Women, Judaism, and Jewish Culture
Women, Judaism, and Jewish Culture
Women's roles in Judaism and Jewish life have been defined by the religious precepts and civil laws described in the Bible and interpreted by the rabbis in a patriarchal age. Nevertheless, throughout the ages, women have carved out areas for themselves within the Jewish religious, social, and political systems as well as fulfilled the roles prescribed to them. This course will study the women of Jewish history and how they have participated in, developed and shaped Jewish religious, social, and cultural life.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4210 American Jewish Movements
American Jewish Movements
This course will build upon the themes of American Jewish History, JWST 3210, and seek to understand how American Jews balanced their Jewish identity with their desire to be Americans.  
credit hours: 3

JWST 4250 The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls
It has been just over 50 years since a group of Bedouin shepherds found several clay jars containing ancient scrolls. The documents include copies of the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal works, and sectarian works written to provide order and meaning to the readers lives. But who wrote the scrolls and who were they writing for? This course will investigate these questions and others by focusing on the texts themselves and the archaeological evidence from the site of Khirbet Qumran. Secondary sources will also be consulted and read critically.
Pre-requistites: JWST 2100 and JWST 3150 or approval of instructor.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4300 The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in Culture and Literature
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in Culture and Literature
This course will focus on the literary and cultural response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the beginning of the Zionist settlement to our time. We will ask questions such as how each culture, the Israeli and Palestinian, has represented the other? Has each depiction been a unified cultural portraiture or can we identify multifarious delineations? What constitutes national identity and what role have national, religious, racial and gender perspectives played in the construction of the Israeli and Palestinian identities? How has the various formation of the other contributed to the identity creation of each culture? And finally, can we point out significant historical changes in these representations? We will examination of both Palestinian and Israeli experiences as reflected in various texts including fiction, poetry, philosophical and historical treatises, editorials, caricatures, film and the like, all in English translation. Last but not least, we will try to understand both the stable and the changing parameters of national identity on the background of universal intellectual and political movements such as nationalism, multiculturalism, and globalization.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4320 Jewish Youth and Cultural Change
Jewish Youth and Cultural Change
This course will analyze the modern Jewish experience by focusing on the seminal role of Jews in their teens and twenties, examining how this group has affected social change. 
credit hours: 3

JWST 4330 The Jewish Immigrant Experience, 1881 to the Present
The Jewish Immigrant Experience, 1881 to the Present
This course will examine the transnational migration of Jews to six different continents - North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe - focusing on key components of the migration.  
credit hours: 3

JWST 4350 Rashi, Halevi, Maimonides: Rabbinical Luminaries of the Middle Ages
Rashi, Halevi, Maimonides: Rabbinical Luminaries of the Middle Ages
An exploration of the lives and major works of Judaism's most significant religious writers of the Jewish Middle Ages. Rashi, the prince of Biblical commentators; Judah Halevi, poet laureate of the Jewish people and author of The Kuzari; Moses Maimonides, the supreme Jewish thinker of all ages, and author of The Guide for the Perplexed.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4400 Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History
Power and Powerlessness in Jewish History
In this course we draw on the skills and knowledge that we have gained in our studies in Jewish Studies. In particular, we encounter the full chronology of Jewish history and are asked to analyze events through the lens of this historical perspective. Our focus is an investigation of the theme of Jewish power, Of particular interest to us is the perception of power by Jews themselves and attitudes toward Jews by their neighbors.  
credit hours: 3

JWST 4420 Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature and Historiography
Advanced Topics in Jewish Literature and Historiography
In this course we will study the work of one pathbreaking Jewish intellectual studying both his/her oeuvre and intellectual context. Of particular importance is the relationship of the intellectual's work as part of a dialogue with the works of Jewish and non-Jewish contemporaries. Among our subjects are Heinrich Graetz, Simon Dubnov, Israel Zinberg, Jacob Katz, and Salo Baron.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4630 Historiography, Research Methods, and Writing: Modern Jewish History
Historiography, Research Methods, and Writing: Modern Jewish History
This course prepares students to write major research papers in the field of Modern Jewish History, Jewish History, as well as prepares them for honors thesis work and graduate work.
credit hours: 3

JWST 4670 Israeli-Jewish and Arab-Israeli Peace through Literature and Film
Israeli-Jewish and Arab-Israeli Peace through Literature and Film
"This course explores major themes in Israeli cinema and fiction in the context of the social and historical backdrop of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the painful emergence of a new Jewish-Israeli identity in the shadow of the Holocaust and unremitting warfare. Examining in depth a number of Hebrew and Arabic films, short stories and novels, all in English translation, the course situates them in the evolution of Israeli cinema and fiction. prereg: JWST 3220 Arab-Israeli Conflict"
credit hours: 3

JWST 4810 Special Topics in Jewish Studies
Special Topics in Jewish Studies
This course will cover special offerings in Jewish history, religious thought, and literature.
credit hours: 3

JWST 5110 Capstone
Capstone
Zero-credit add-on to a 4000-level Jewish Studies seminar to indicate that this course will satisfy the capstone requirement. Students will produce a written assignment of 20-25 pages that will integrate and synthesize material that goes beyond this course.
credit hours: 0

JWST 6420 Readings in the Holocaust
Readings in the Holocaust
Examines the origins and development of the Nazi Final Solution; the experience of the victims, perpetrators, rescuers, and bystanders; and the relationship between history and memory.
credit hours: 3

JWST H4910 Independent Studies
Independent Studies
credit hours: 3

JWST H4920 Independent Studies
Independent Studies
credit hours: 3

JWST H4990 Honors Thesis
Honors Thesis
credit hours: 3

JWST H5000 Honors Thesis
Honors Thesis
credit hours: 3