Upcoming Jewish Studies Courses: Winter/Spring 2015

Winter 2015

REL 239: Judaism and the Environment
This course analyzes historical and contemporary teachings of the Jewish tradition regarding animals and the natural world.  We will study the stories of creation in the Bible and in the Jewish imagination; the treatment of nature in Jewish law, philosophy and mysticism; traditional prohibitions on causing suffering to animals, wasting natural resources, and various forms of pollution; and responses to current environmental crises among contemporary American and Israeli Jews.

PHL 361: Themes in the Films of Woody Allen
This course examines the works of Woody Allen as a paradigm case of the artistic nature of films and as a source for profound philosophical issues. Students are introduced to the general framework of the philosophy of art and look critically at issues concerning the medium of film as an art form as well as the problem of relativism across the many realms of value.

HST 373: The Holocaust in Film and Historical Literature
This course will discuss the evolution and history of the Holocaust through the prisms of film and memoirs. It will begin with a look at the various racial, biological, and other prejudices that were the cauldron for the Holocaust from 1933-1945. It will then explore the three phases of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, followed by a discussion of the search for justice for its perpetrators after World War II.

GST 240-IS/ENG 240-IS: Holocaust Journey (Winter-Term Study Abroad)
This course will allow participants to learn about the Holocaust through tours of concentration/extermination camps, ghettos and discussions with Holocaust scholars and survivors. The course originates in Amsterdam, continues to Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow and Prague, and concludes in Nuremberg, Germany — all significant locations for Jews during the Holocaust.  Students will also have the opportunity to visit Jewish museums and archives, synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, as well as more traditional tourist attractions such as cathedrals, castles and art museums. Preparation for the course will include reading the novel Treblinka (Jean-Francoise Steiner) and Night (Elie Wiesel). Students will also keep a journal and conduct research throughout the journey and will prepare their final project after they return to the States. Class discussions will occur throughout the term. Free time will be available in every city for individual research and exploration.

Spring 2015

ENG 255: Literature of the Holocaust
This course will explore a variety of literature with the Holocaust as its central theme. Genres of literature will include short and long fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama and film.  The Holocaust will be explored through the historical, spiritual, cultural and literary viewpoint s of first and second generation survivors, witnesses, deniers and perpetrators. Guest speakers and field trips to local museums and synagogues will be considered as well as an overnight visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

GST 359: The Media and the Middle East
This course examines the ways in which the Middle East is covered and portrayed in both Western and non-Western media. It aims to broaden students’ perspectives on a critical part of the world and to deepen their understanding of complex problems they read and hear about daily. By drawing on both contemporaneous and historical accounts, the course will encourage students to examine the diversity of views, each of them rooted in a different history and a different culture. The course will be taught in a seminar fashion and will require substantial reading, not only in contemporary journalism but also history, religion, cultural studies and international relations. This course is writing intensive. Open to students in the third or fourth year of study.  Eligible for Jewish Studies credit with an appropriately focused research paper.

HEB 170: Elementary Modern Hebrew I
This course is designed for students with no prior experience in the language.  Special emphasis is placed on active communication to develop oral and comprehension skills..

HEB 270: Intermediate Modern Hebrew I
This course provides intensive development of all language skills, focused emphasis on reading and composition. Students will learn to describe, analyze, and express opinions on cultural topics. Prerequisite: HEB 171 or permission by chair of the department.

PHL 339: Martin Buber and the Eclipse of God
This course explores Martin Buber’s dialogical philosophy as a response to the modern condition that is both uniquely Jewish and at the same time universal, and as a philosophy of healing in both the individual and the collective sense.  This is a two-credit, half-semester course.

PHL 350: The Spirit of Israel
The 20th century proved to be one of the most challenging and defining periods in Jewish history; from the emergence of political Zionism and the tragedy of the Holocaust to the creation of the State of Israel. It is from this national entity that future Judaism will have to speak and serve its historical purpose, that is, “the great upbuilding of peace.” This course will examine the philosophical writings of thinkers associated with the spirit of Israel and the latter’s manifestation in Jewish history. Special attention will be given to the expression of such a spirit in the contemporary relationship between Israel and the world.

REL 211: The Hebrew Bible
This course introduces students to the critical study of the Hebrew scriptures.  We will explore the ideas and practices of ancient Israel in light of the Near Eastern context in which the Bible developed, while also studying the traditions of ancient biblical interpretation that especially shaped Judaism and Christianity.  We will carefully and critically read the Bible's narratives, poems, proverbs, and law codes, giving particular attention to its diverse conceptions of justice, love, holiness, gender, nature, power, and God.

REL 212: An Introduction to the New Testament and Early Christian Literature
In this course students approach the writings of early Christianity as literary and rhetorical responses to ancient social, political, and religious concerns. Students are introduced to the multi-faceted worlds surrounding the emerging Christian communities, as well as some of the realities created by these writings. In so doing, this course equips students with the tools for reading complex and ancient texts from a critical perspective.

REL 326: Sex Lives of Saints
Early Christian writings and traditions have exercised enormous influence upon modern views of gender (masculinity and femininity), sex and family. In this course we explore how these ideas are shaped in relation to the Jewish and Roman contexts of early Christianity. Students will engage a variety of ancient primary sources, including select New Testament writings (e.g. the letters of Paul, Revelation) and early Christian saints’ lives.