Spring 2023 Jewish Studies Courses

JST 473

The Contemporary Middle East

Instructor: Michelle Campos
TIME: TuTh, 1:35PM – 2:50PM
This course surveys the history, politics, and society of the Middle East from the 19th century until the current day.  We will think critically about: the transformation of the Middle East from autonomous Islamic empires to colonized mandates to independent states; the development of collective identities such as nationalism; the role of religion and ethnicity in political and social life; the formation and mobilization of new social classes and changing gender relations; the Middle East through the lenses of European colonialism, decolonization, the Cold War, and increased American involvement; revolution, war, and civil strife; and popular culture. No previous background is required for this course, but this is a reading-intensive and discussion-based course.
JST 140

The History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1917-Present)

Instructor: Eric Fleisch
TIME: MoWed, 2:30PM – 3:45PM
The purpose of this course is to convey the complexity of the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict in all of its manifestations. We will study the core issues and narratives that have kept Israelis and Palestinians at loggerheads for more than a century. We will do this by tracing the historical progression of conflict and attempts at conflict resolution; We will explore the key underlying issues the keep the conflict alive; But most importantly, we will view material that expresses the perspective of all sides. Antagonists in conflicts often feel that their version of the history is authoritative. It is my intention in this course to introduce all perspectives, and provide students the tools and space to make any judgements (or not) on their own.

Lands of the Bible from Adam and Eve to Muhammad

Instructor: Ann Killebrew

Who, what, and where were the ancient peoples, cultures and places that played key roles in the shaping of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), New Testament and Quran? When do they appear in history and how do we reconstruct their past and legacy? Why do these ancient cultures and writings continue to influence our contemporary world? Utilizing methodologies and approaches from historical geography, archaeology, contemporary historical documents, epigraphy and anthropology, we will investigate the civilizations and peoples of the lands associated with the biblical texts. This course examines the cultural traditions that developed in these regions and contextualize the world out of which the Bible emerged. Thousands of years later, their beliefs, customs and practices continue to resonate in our lives today.

This course can also be used for completion of the Hebrew Minor.


Hebrew Bible: Old Testament

Instructor: Taylor Gray
TIME: MoWeFr, 2:30PM – 3:20PM

This course introduces the texts that make up the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament), along with the main literary and historical approaches that form the basis of modern biblical study. It is not assumed that you have any familiarity with the text of the Bible. Prior familiarity is certainly an asset, but as you will have ample opportunity to read the texts throughout the semester, it is not a necessity.

JST 112 / CAMS 121 / RLST 121

Jesus the Jew

Instructor: Taylor Gray
TIME: MoWeFr, 9:05AM – 9:55AM

Although Jesus of Nazareth is the object of Christian devotion, he was not a Christian himself, but a pious Jew. What can be known about the historical figure of Jesus the Palestinian Jew? Because almost all of our source material espouses Jesus as the Christ of Christian faith, the first step is to understand the aims and perspectives of these Christian sources, including the canonical Gospels as well as non-canonical Gospels. A careful examination of these sources will be made in light of critical scholarship and the social and historical context of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world. We will then consider and evaluate a few of the different scholarly reconstructions of the historical Jesus. Major emphases will include the historical, social, religious, political, and cultural contexts for situating the life and teachings of Jesus.

JST 113 / CAMS 113 / RLST 113

Myths and Legends of the Jews

Instructor: Aaron Rubin
TIME: TuTh 10:35AM - 11:50AM

This course will explore the boundaries between Scripture and tradition by means of a close examination of the myths and stories in the Hebrew Bible and their subsequent interpretation and re-tellings in Jewish and Christian traditions. We will compare these traditions with the biblical text, along with other interpretive traditions.


New Testament

Instructor: Kimberly Rubin
TIME: MoWeFr, 1:25PM – 2:15PM

Whether you are already familiar with the New Testament or simply curious about it, this course will provide you a thorough introduction to the books of the New Testament, central figures like Jesus and Paul, and the historical contexts that shed light on the early Christian movement.

JST / HIST 121

History of the Holocaust 1933-1945

Instructor: Yaakov Kabalek
TIME: TuTh, 9:05AM – 10:20AM

The course offers a historical examination of the Holocaust, the persecution, humiliation, expulsion, incarceration, and murder of European Jews. We will try to encompass as many perspectives and aspects of this event as possible and view it in relation to broad contexts and particular experiences and situations. We will start by reflecting on the possible causes of the Holocaust and explore the rise of Nazism. The course will then follow the pre-war antisemitic measures of the Nazi regime in Germany itself and the persecution of various social, political, and ethnic groups and then trace the wartime development of mass killing. We will also look at a variety of Jewish responses, as well as responses of local and distant bystanders and other victims.

JST 122 / CAMS 122 / RLST 122

Apocalypse and Beyond

Instructor: Tawny Holm
TIME: TuTh, 3:05PM - 4:20PM

This course surveys apocalyptic literature and apocalyptic imagination about the end of the world, from its beginnings in the ancient Near East and the Bible to some examples from the modern world. The course will cover three areas: 1) the ancient literary genre of apocalypse in the Near East; 2) apocalyptic writings in the Jewish and Christian traditions (especially the books of Daniel and Revelation in the Bible, and the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls), which generated Western apocalyptic thinking throughout the ages; and 3) some historical examples and discussion of the sociological underpinnings of apocalyptic groups in the medieval to modern periods.  Additional attention will be paid to the impact that apocalyptic worldviews have had on the secular world, especially in the fine arts and cinema.


Early and Medieval Christianity

Instructor: Kimberly Rubin
TIME: TuTh, 10:35AM – 11:50AM

This course provides an introduction to the early history of Christianity. It traces, specifically, the development of the Christian movement from its beginnings as a small Jewish sect in Jerusalem to its unlikely emergence as the religion of the Roman Empire and, finally, its subsequent spread and development in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In form and structure, the course is historical, following figures and events in a more or less chronological sequence and taking up questions of causality, influence, and social identity. Yet the course is also concerned with the ideas, concepts, and philosophical viewpoints that have shaped Christianity and given it a certain intellectual coherence over time.

JST / HIST 140

The History of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1917-Present)

Instructor: Tamir Sorek
TIME: MoWeFr, 1:25PM – 2:15PM

The course discusses the Israeli-Palestinian encounter focusing on the way collective identities are shaped by the conflict. It combines historical outlining of the conflict’s development from the beginning of Zionist immigration to Palestine until the current day, with thematic analysis of its dynamics. The course juxtaposes different subjective points of view and motivations of the various actors involved and analyzes the socio-political process as products of these interrelated positions. Special emphasis is given to the inter-dependency of culture and politics; national symbolism as both product of the conflict and an element that maintains it; and the significance of heroism, victimhood and martyrdom in shaping the conflict and the identities of the parties involved. Class meetings include lectures, movies, and discussions.

JST 195 / Hist 195 / German 123

Genocide in Global Perspectives: Twentieth Century and Beyond

Instructor: Yaakov Kabalek
TIME: TuTh, 12:05PM – 1:20PM

The history and memory of the Holocaust, the Armenian, Cambodian and other forms of genocide are often taught separately in different disciplines. This course will examine them together through the various ways different societies dealt with, experienced and understood these. Using the extensive literature on the history of genocide this course suggests reflections on how these tragic events emerged and how they affected and were entangled by each other. What constitutes a genocide and what distinguishes it from other cases of mass killing of civilians? What was and is their impact on memories and global politics? What can be done to prevent genocides from happening?


Books of the Bible: Readings and Interpretation

Instructor: Tawny Holm
TIME: TuTh, 4:35PM - 5:50PM

This course examines Job and Jonah, two biblical books that explore profound questions about fate, God, free will, and the Leviathans that haunt the human condition. The book of Job concerns the undeserved misery of a pious man, whose suffering is, unbeknownst to him, the result of a wager between God and Satan. By contrast, Jonah is a prophet, who is nonetheless swallowed up by anguish, just as much as by the big fish of his tale. We will explore the literary and cultural aspects of both books within their historical context, as well as their reception and interpretation in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions.

JST 426 / HIST 426


Instructor: Tobias Brinkmann
TIME: MoWeFr, 1:25PM - 2:15PM

This seminar will explore how the Holocaust has been studied and remembered. During the first half of the semester, we will focus on historical debates related to the Holocaust. The second half of the course will be devoted to issues of memory and memorialization. This is an upper level discussion course with rigorous reading and writing requirements. JST/HIST121 is highly recommended as a prerequisite.

Students registered for JST/HIST426 are also eligible to participate in JST197, an embedded travel course to Poland and Lithuania over spring break.

JST 427

Topics in American Jewish Literature

Instructor: Lisa Sternlieb
TIME: TuTh, 1:35PM - 2:50PM
JST 443 / HIST 443

Jewish Histories of the Middle East

Instructor: Lior Sternfeld
TIME: TuTh, 10:35AM - 11:50AM

Jews have been part of Middle Eastern societies for thousands of years. They flourished at times and endured hardships at others, but they have been part of every significant social and cultural transformation of the Middle East.  In this class, students will discuss the significant contribution of the Jewish community to the development of various Middle Eastern societies throughout the centuries.  Students will critically read and analyze primary sources and secondary literature. We will delve into national historiographies of places such as Morocco, Egypt, and Iran—to name a few—and seek to discover a nuanced narrative of Jewish histories of the region. We will also analyze popular culture products, such as documentaries, television, and literature. The course will follow a chronological and thematic order, and will examine Jewish history in conjunction with global and interregional processes in the Middle East and beyond, such as colonialism, imperialism, nationalism, relations with the West, the formation of the modern nation states of the Middle East, and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

JST 450H

Genocide and Tyranny

Instructor: Zaryab Iqbal
TIME: TuTh, 10:35AM – 11:50AM

This course explores the concept of genocide from political, historical, and philosophical perspectives, focusing on the Holocaust as a critical case study. Explanations for the Holocaust are examined through an emphasis on epistemological issues — with discussions of specific topics such as the history of antisemitism, the typologies of genocide, and the uniqueness of the Holocaust.

JST 457 / SOC 457 / ANTH 457

Jewish Communities: Identity, Survival, and Transformation in Unexpected Places

Instructor: Eric Fleisch
TIME: MoWe, 4:00PM - 5:15PM

Jews have existed as a unique religious/ ethnic/ national community for at least 3,000 years. They have lived in practically every corner of the globe. Rarely have they had what we would consider ‘political power’. They were almost always a minority (and often a tiny one) surrounded by more powerful civilizations and communities. Yet, they survived and flourished in many different ways in many different times and places. This course explores some of those discrete times and places. It focuses on how have Jewish leaders, communities, and individuals reconciled their interests/agendas both as Jews and as members of a larger society with changing circumstances within and without their communities.

JST 478 / PHIL 478

Ethics After the Holocaust

Instructor: Nicholas De Warren
TIME: TuTh, 12:05PM – 1:20PM

The aim of this course is to explore various ways in which philosophers have responded to Auschwitz (a signifier, or name, which is in turn not without controversy and complexity). Course readings address the relation between testimony and trauma, rethinking evil and gratuitous suffering in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the reaffirmation of Judaism as a living philosophical and religious worldview, narrativity and historical forgetting, aesthetic representation and the unspeakable, and the question of God. Readings include Primo Levi, Giorgi Agamben, George Didi-Huberman, TW Adorno, Hans Jonas, Emmanuel Levinas, and Hannah Arendt. The course will also include viewing films (ShoahCome and SeeNight and Fog).

HEBR 401

Advanced Hebrew–Conversation Emphasis

Instructor: Ruth Edelstein
TIME: TuTh, 10:35AM – 11:50AM

This Advance level of Hebrew provides students whom have already acquired fundamental Hebrew language skills an opportunity to strengthen and exercise the language through a variety of activities. In order to strengthen the students Hebrew language skills, emphasis is giving to speaking, reading comprehension and writing. The materials include cultural aspects of the Israeli life, poems, Israeli songs, and current events are discuss ones a week.

This course can also be used for completion of the Hebrew Minor.

Spring 2023 Hebrew Courses


Basic Modern Hebrew II

Instructor: Ruth Edelstein
TIME: MoTuWeTh, 12:20PM – 1:10PM

The course is designed to develop all four language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Grammar and comprehension are exercised with the aid of textbooks, along with cultural information (holidays, music). Communicative competence is exercised by means of class conversation, games, and oral presentations. Writing skills will be developed through homework and written assignments

HEBR 152

Intermediate Biblical Hebrew

Instructor: Aaron Rubin
TIME: TuTh, 9:05AM – 10:20AM

In this course we will continue learn the fundamentals of Biblical Hebrew, i.e., the language of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The course will emphasize grammar and focus on the ability to read—and, to a lesser degree, write—the language. This continues HEBR/JST/CAMS 151.

HEBR 401

Advanced Hebrew–Conversation Emphasis

Instructor: Ruth Edelstein
TIME: TuTh, 10:35AM – 11:50AM

This Advance level of Hebrew provides students whom have already acquired fundamental Hebrew language skills an opportunity to strengthen and exercise the language through a variety of activities. In order to strengthen the students Hebrew language skills, emphasis is giving to speaking, reading comprehension and writing. The materials include cultural aspects of the Israeli life, poems, Israeli songs, and current events are discuss ones a week.

This course can also be used for completion of the Hebrew Minor.

Spring 2023 Holocaust and Genocide Studies Courses

No classes listed at this time

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