Contacts | Program of Study | Jewish Civilization Sequence | Program Requirements | Major in Jewish Studies | Summary of Requirements for the Major | Honors | Grading | Minor in Jewish Studies | Jewish Studies Courses

Department Website: http://ccjs.uchicago.edu

Program of Study

The BA program in Jewish Studies provides a context in which College students may examine the texts, cultures, languages, and histories of Jews and Judaism over three millennia. The perspective is contextual, comparative, and interdisciplinary. The long and diverse history of Jews and Judaism affords unique opportunities to study modes of continuity and change, interpretation and innovation, and isolation and integration of a world historical civilization. Students are encouraged to develop appropriate skills (in texts, languages, history, and culture) for independent work.

Students in other fields of study may also complete a minor in Jewish Studies. Information follows the description of the major.

Jewish Civilization Sequence

A three-course Jewish Civilization sequence is offered in the Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters. The first course begins in antiquity and extends through the medieval period (JWSC 12000 Jewish Civilization I: Ancient Beginnings to Medieval Period). The second course begins in the early modern period and extends to the present (JWSC 12001 Jewish Civilization II: Early Modern Period to 21st Century). In the Spring Quarter, students have the option of taking a third unit of Jewish Civilization, a course whose topics will vary (JWSC 1200X). Jewish Civilization courses may be used to fulfill the College’s general education requirement in civilization studies. It is recommended, though not required, that students take these courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be preregistered for the Winter Quarter segment. In order for the Spring Quarter course to qualify for the general education requirement in civilization studies, the student must have completed Jewish Civilization I and II. The Spring Quarter course, however, may also be taken as an independent elective.

Students may also fulfill the Jewish civilization requirement by participating in one of two Study Abroad programs. In the “Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations” Study Abroad program, students can earn credit for three courses in Jewish Civilization and one credit in modern Hebrew. In the "Vienna: Jewish Civilization" Study Abroad program (offered bienially), students can earn credit for three courses in Jewish Civilization and one credit in German. For more information about these programs, please see the Study Abroad page of this catalog.

Program Requirements

Advising

Students who have not completed the College’s general education requirements before starting the major should do so during their first year as Jewish Studies majors. Students are required to meet with the director of undergraduate studies before declaring a major in Jewish Studies. Each student in the major will have as an adviser a faculty member who is affiliated with the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies.

Major in Jewish Studies

The major requires twelve courses distributed according to the guidelines that follow. A full, constantly updated list of courses approved for the major and minor is available on the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies website.

Language

Students must take three quarters of Hebrew (classical or modern) or Yiddish. If the student's research project requires knowledge of a different language, the student may petition the committee to substitute that language in the place of Hebrew or Yiddish.

Jewish Civilization and Electives

Students in the major must take nine additional courses in Jewish Studies, for a total of twelve courses. 

Jewish Civilization: Students in the major must complete either the first two quarters of the Jewish Civilization sequence, or the "Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations" or "Vienna: Jewish Civilization" Study Abroad program.

If students take one of these sequences to satisfy the general education requirement in civilization studies, one elective in the major must come from another civilization studies sequence pertinent to the area and period of the student’s primary interest in Jewish Studies.

For students who take a sequence outside Jewish Studies to satisfy the general education requirement in civilization studies, the two- or three-course Jewish Civilization sequence (or three-course sequences offered in Jerusalem and Vienna) will count among the JWSC electives required for the major.

Other Electives: The remaining courses must come from JWSC course offerings. These elective courses should normally focus in a specific area of concentration within Jewish Studies and should be chosen in consultation with the student's Jewish Studies advisor. Students who complete the optional BA thesis (as described under Optional BA Paper) may count JWSC 29900 BA Preparation Course among these courses.

Beyond the requirements for the major, students are encouraged to take at least one course in method or theory pertaining to their area of concentration in Jewish Studies, whether it is a JWSC course that can count in the major or simply a general elective credit.

Summary of Requirements for the Major

Three courses in Hebrew (or other language, with approval)300
Nine total JWSC courses900
Note: Must include 2–3 Jewish Civilization courses, as described under the Program Requirements
Total Units1200

Optional BA Paper

Students who choose this option are to meet with their advisers by May 15 of their third year to determine the focus of the research project, and they are expected to begin reading and research for the BA paper during the summer before their fourth year. After further consultation, students are to continue guided readings and participate in a (formal or informal) tutorial during Autumn Quarter of their fourth year. Credit toward the major is received only for the Winter Quarter tutorial (JWSC 29900 BA Preparation Course), during which the BA paper is finally written and revised. The BA tutorial may count toward one of the courses related to Jewish Studies. The BA paper must be received by the primary reader by the end of fifth week of Spring Quarter. A BA paper is a requirement for consideration for honors.

This program may accept a BA paper or project used to satisfy the same requirement in another major if certain conditions are met and with the consent of the other program chair. Approval from both program chairs is required. Students should consult with the chairs by the earliest BA proposal deadline (or by the end of their third year, if neither program publishes a deadline). A consent form, to be signed by both chairs, is available online or from the College adviser. It must be completed and returned to the College adviser by the end of Autumn Quarter of the student's year of graduation.

Honors

Honors are awarded to students who demonstrate excellence in their course work, as well as on the BA paper. Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.25 or higher and a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the major, and the BA paper must be judged to be at least of A- quality.

Grading

Students take all courses required for the major for quality grades.

Minor in Jewish Studies

The minor in Jewish Studies provides a basic introduction to the texts, cultures, languages, and history of the Jews and Judaism. Six courses are required for the minor, two of which are JWSC 12000 Jewish Civilization I: Ancient Beginnings to Medieval Period and JWSC 12001 Jewish Civilization II: Early Modern Period to 21st Century. The other courses may be in any area of Jewish Studies, including languages such as Hebrew and Yiddish; such courses can be identified by their JWSC prefix. Students can earn credit for three courses in Jewish Civilization and one credit in modern Hebrew by participating in the “Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Civilizations” Study Abroad program; they can earn credit for three courses in Jewish Civilization and one credit in German by participating in the "Vienna: Jewish Civilization" Study Abroad program. For more information about these programs, please see the Study Abroad page of this catalog.

Students who wish to do a minor in Jewish Studies must meet with the director of undergraduate studies before the end of the Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. The director’s approval for the minor program must then be communicated to the student’s College adviser on the Consent to Complete a Minor Program form.

Courses taken to fulfill the requirements for the minor in Jewish Studies may not be double-counted with courses taken for the student’s major(s) or courses taken for other minors. Courses taken for the minor in Jewish Studies must be taken for quality grades.

Jewish Studies Courses

JWSC 11000-11100-11200. Biblical Aramaic; Old Aramaic Inscriptions; Imperial Aramaic.

Three quarter sequence in Aramaic spanning Biblical Aramaic (Autumn), Old Aramaic (Winter), and Imperial Aramaic (Spring).

JWSC 11000. Biblical Aramaic. 100 Units.

This course provides a thorough introduction to the grammar of the Aramaic portions of the Hebrew Bible during the first few weeks. The remainder of the course is spent reading texts from the books of Daniel and Ezra.

Instructor(s): S. Creason     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10103 or equivalent.
Note(s): Instructor Consent Required
Equivalent Course(s): ARAM 10101

JWSC 11100. Old Aramaic Inscriptions. 100 Units.

Selected monumental inscriptions from the Old Aramaic period (c. 1000-600 BCE) are read with special attention to the dialectal differences among various subgroups of texts.

Instructor(s): S. Creason     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): ARAM 10101 or equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): ARAM 10102

JWSC 11200. Imperial Aramaic. 100 Units.

Selected letters and contracts from the Imperial Aramaic period (c. 600-200 BCE) are read with special attention to the historical development of the grammar of Aramaic during this time period.

Instructor(s): S. Creason     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): ARAM 10102 or equivalent.
Equivalent Course(s): ARAM 10103

JWSC 12000. Jewish Civilization I: Ancient Beginnings to Medieval Period. 100 Units.

Jewish Civilization is a three-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The autumn course will deal with antiquity through the Middle Ages. Its readings will include material from the Bible and writings from the second temple, Hellenistic, rabbinic, and medieval periods. All sections of this course will share a common core of readings; individual instructors will supplement with other materials. It is recommended, though not required, that students take the three Jewish Civilization courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be pre-registered for the winter segment. In the Spring Quarter students have the option of taking a third unit of Jewish Civilization, a course whose topics will vary (JWSC 1200X).

Instructor(s): Larisa Reznik     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MDVL 12000, NEHC 22010, RLST 22010, HIST 11701

JWSC 12001. Jewish Civilization II: Early Modern Period to 21st Century. 100 Units.

Jewish Civilization is a three-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The Winter course will begin with the early modern period and continue to the present. It will include discussions of mysticism, the works of Spinoza and Mendelssohn, the nineteenth-century reform, the Holocaust and its reflection in writers such as Primo Levi and Paul Celan, and literary pieces from postwar American Jewish and Israeli authors. All sections of this course will share a common core of readings; individual instructors will supplement with other materials. It is recommended, though not required, that students take the three Jewish Civilization courses in sequence. Students who register for the Autumn Quarter course will automatically be pre-registered for the winter segment. In the Spring Quarter students have the option of taking a third unit of Jewish Civilization, a course whose topics will vary (JWSC 1200X).

Instructor(s): Kenneth Moss Larisa Reznik     Terms Offered: Spring Winter
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 22011, RLST 22011, HIST 11702

JWSC 12004. Jewish Civilization III - Mothers and Motherhood in Modern Jewish Culture. 100 Units.

Jewish Civilization is a three-quarter sequence that explores the development of Jewish culture and tradition from its ancient beginnings through its rabbinic and medieval transformations to its modern manifestations. Through investigation of primary texts-biblical, Talmudic, philosophical, mystical, historical, documentary, and literary-students will acquire a broad overview of Jews, Judaism, and Jewishness while reflecting in greater depth on major themes, ideas, and events in Jewish history. The Spring course in 2022 will focus on mothers and motherhood in modern Jewish culture. From sentimentalized keepers of Jewish tradition to objects of ridicule burdened by stereotypes of overbearing, guilt-inducing behavior, Jewish mothers hold a prominent role in Jewish self-representations. Writing alongside or against these stereotypes, Jewish mothers themselves have struggled with the obligations and expectations of Jewish motherhood. Engaging with a variety of literary, theological, historical, and pop culture texts, this class explores Jewish feminisms in relation to motherhood, Jewish fictions of motherhood, and the role of motherhood in Jewish religious life and thought. This course includes material from a variety of different contexts for modern Jewish life, but places particular emphasis on American Jewish history and culture.

Instructor(s): Jessica Kirzane     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Students who wish to take this course for Civilization Studies credit, must also take Jewish Civilization I and II. The course may also be taken as an independent elective.
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 16004, YDDH 21724, RLST 22013

JWSC 12009. Jewish Civilization III - Philosophical Responses to the Holocaust. 100 Units.

This course examines a range of philosophical responses to the problem of living and acting in the wake of the Holocaust, which called into question every philosophical, theological, and cultural piety of Western civilization: the existence and goodness of God; the actuality of historical progress; the ability of the modern nation-state and its laws to secure freedom and equality for individuals among religious and cultural differences; the capacity of art, culture, and education to make people good and ethical; the power of human reason to decipher good from evil and to guide human action accordingly. We will explore these questions together with a set of methodological concerns around how to study, represent, and memorialize the Holocaust and other historical atrocities, asking: is the Holocaust best approached as a unique historical event or should it be studied together with the histories of enslavement, imperialism, and colonialism? Is there something about the very nature of modernity that generates fascism? What stories can be told, how should they be told, and who has the right to tell them? What forms of knowledge, institution-building, and culture-making might be called upon to honor the victims of past atrocities and generate resources for resisting present and future ones? Course materials may include film, photography, and texts by Adorno, Levinas, Arendt, Levi, Césaire, Fanon, Kofman and others.

Instructor(s): Larisa Reznik     Terms Offered: Spring

JWSC 20120. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. 100 Units.

The course introduces the Jewish/Hebrew Bible as a literary treasury with a material history. We will survey the genres and the different works, review scholarly theories about the texts and about ideas in them, and situate them in the history of Israel and Judea and in the culture of ancient Southwest Asia. We will also engage theories of history, literature, and narrative. The course includes a weekly Discussion Section for mixed-modes activities and conceptual discussions.

Instructor(s): Simeon Chavel     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the HS or LMCS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students. This course counts as a Gateway course for RLST majors/minors.
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 30504, FNDL 11004, RLST 11004, BIBL 31000, NEHC 20504, HIJD 31004

JWSC 20300-20400-20500. Elementary Yiddish I-II-III.

The goal of this sequence is to develop proficiency in Yiddish reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Touchstones of global Yiddish culture are also introduced through song, film, and contemporary Yiddish websites.

JWSC 20300. Elementary Yiddish I. 100 Units.

The goal of this sequence is to develop proficiency in Yiddish reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Touchstones of global Yiddish culture are also introduced through song, film, and contemporary Yiddish websites.

Instructor(s): Jessica Kirzane     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): YDDH 10100

JWSC 20400. Elementary Yiddish for Beginners II. 100 Units.

In this course, students will extend basic Yiddish speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. By the end of the course, students should have a basic understanding of regional Yiddish variations in pronunciation and spelling, be able to understand and participate in a conversation in an increasingly comfortable and complex way, read simple texts with ease, have experience tackling more complex texts with the aid of a dictionary, and write short compositions with grammatical complexity. In the course of language study, students will also be exposed to key topics in the history of the Yiddish language and culture.

Instructor(s): Jessica Kirzane     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): YDDH 10100
Equivalent Course(s): YDDH 10200, YDDH 37400

JWSC 20500. Elementary Yiddish III. 100 Units.

In this course, students will acquire intermediate Yiddish speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. By the end of the course, students should be able to conduct a conversation on a wide range of topics, be comfortable tackling complex texts with the aid of a dictionary, and write short compositions with grammatical complexity. In the course of language study, students will also be exposed to key topics in the history of the Yiddish language and culture. Students will also be introduced to basic Yiddish research skills.

Equivalent Course(s): YDDH 37500, YDDH 10300

JWSC 20550. Slavery and Social Justice in the Hebrew Bible. 100 Units.

What is a "just" society? And how do we know if justice has been achieved? This course is both an overview of the concept of a "just society" and a thematic survey of the narratives of the Hebrew Bible (the Jewish Tanak, the Christian Old Testament) through the lens of social justice. In this course we will examine several perspectives within the Hebrew Bible on what makes a just society, with particular emphasis on the narratives and legal corpora of the Pentateuch, the historical narratives of the former prophets, and the sayings and exhortations of the "writing" prophets. We will aim to understand more clearly what the ancient Israelites would have likely understood by the notion of a "just society," and how those understandings may differ from our own. Through our discussions, students will develop their skills in close-reading of texts and literary analysis of biblical narratives. In this course we will study several social issues and their reflections in biblical texts. Among the possibilities are: slavery, the treatment of the poor, the rights of the community vs. the individual, the treatment of the disabled, homicide, war, revenge, animal rights and environmentalism, inheritance, and immigration.

Instructor(s): David Harris     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 23550, NEHC 20552

JWSC 20720. Graphic Novels: Modern Hebrew Reading course. 100 Units.

The graphic novel is a relatively new genre in Hebrew literature. Books in the genre combine a story with the scope of a novel or a novella with comic strips or full illustrations. The evolution of the genre in the world, far beyond superhero comic books, and the openness of the Israeli audience, created a significant boom in the field in Israel since the early 2000s. This course is a guided reading of some of the most popular graphic novels in Modern Hebrew, which expose important aspects of contemporary Israel. Authors whose work we will read include: Rutu Modan, Ilana Zeffren, Asaf Hanukah, Etgar Keret, Michel Kichka, Yosi & Yarden Vasa and Yuval Noah Harai.

Instructor(s): Ehud Har-Even     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Intermediate Modern Hebrew (second year HEBR) or its equivalent (At least two years of official Modern Hebrew studies ) with a minimum grade of “C”.
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20100, HEBR 30100

JWSC 20923. Magic, Miracles, and Medicine: Healthcare in the Bible and the Ancient World. 100 Units.

This course examines the complex issues surrounding the body, disability, and medical care in antiquity. It will be guided by a variety of questions, such as what was the root cause of bodily infirmity and disease in antiquity? How did cultural views of sex, gender, and race influence perceptions of the body and what it meant to be able bodied? Such questions are significant when considering what kind of access to healthcare marginalized groups had. In order to explore these questions, we will examine ancient Mediterranean views of medical care through material remains (e.g., magical amulets and healing shrines) and textual evidence (e.g., Galen and Hippocrates). After considering this wider cultural context, we will examine treatments in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and early Christianity. We will also explore how Christian concepts of medical care evolved in light of accounts of Jesus as a divine healer. In addition to this ancient evidence, we will engage with modern disability studies and sociological analyses to better orient our readings. At the end of the course, students will be better acquainted with the complex relationship between religion and medicine and how that affects modern healthcare decisions.

Instructor(s): Richard Zaleski     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CCTS 21021, HLTH 20223, KNOW 20223, HIPS 20223, RLST 20223, HIST 25305

JWSC 20924. The Bible Throughout History: From the Dead Sea Scrolls to King James. 100 Units.

While the collection of ancient texts found in modern Bibles appears fixed and is read by many people as a source of edification or theological insight, it has not always been this way. Though absent from most Bibles, there is an entire body of literature commonly known as "rewritten bible": early translations, retellings, or entirely new stories with familiar names and faces that update, retcon, or subvert their "biblical" sources. How might we understand these ancient forms of fan fiction? The class will introduce this corpus (including some of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and its sources, production, and historical contexts. We will confront significant problems in understanding religious texts: how is it that some texts become authoritative while other very similar texts do not? Who gets to retell foundational religious narratives, and within what social or political constraints? What does it mean to relate to sacred texts as artistic prompts or imperfect points of departure? Can a biblical text be rewritten for an entirely different religious tradition? We will consider similar questions for contemporary religious practice, asking: how did rewriting the Bible get started, and has it stopped?

Instructor(s): Doren Snoek     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): MDVL 20124, FNDL 20124, HIST 29908, CMLT 20124, RLST 20124

JWSC 21215. Abraham's Sacrifice of Isaac in Multiple Perspectives. 100 Units.

The story of Abraham's (near) sacrifice of his son, Isaac, found in Genesis 22:1-19, is one of the most influential and enduring stories in Western literature and art. It is part of the living tradition of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and its meaning and implications have been repeatedly explored in the communities defined by these religions, and has, in turn, helped to shape the self-perception of those communities. This course will consider the multiple perspectives from which this story has been viewed and the multiple interpretations which this story has generated, starting with its earliest incorporation into the Hebrew Bible, moving to its role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and concluding with its influence on modern works. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.

Instructor(s): Stuart Creason     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 31215, HIJD 31215, RLST 21215, BIBL 31215, ISLM 31215, NEHC 21215

JWSC 22000-22100-22200. Elementary Classical Hebrew I-II-III.

The purpose of this three-quarter sequence is to enable the student to read biblical Hebrew prose with a high degree of comprehension. The sequence is divided into two segments: (1) the first two quarters are devoted to acquiring the essentials of descriptive and historical grammar (including translation to and from Hebrew, oral exercises, and grammatical analysis); and (2) the third quarter is spent examining prose passages from the Hebrew Bible and includes a review of grammar.

JWSC 22000. Elementary Classical Hebrew I. 100 Units.

The purpose of this three-quarter sequence is to enable the student to acquire a knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Hebrew sufficient to read prose texts with the occasional assistance of a dictionary. The first quarter focuses on the inflection of nouns and adjectives and begins the inflection of verbs. It includes written translation to and from Hebrew, oral exercises, and grammatical analysis of forms.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This class meets 5 times a week
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10101

JWSC 22100. Elementary Classical Hebrew II. 100 Units.

The purpose of this three-quarter sequence is to enable the student to acquire a knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Hebrew sufficient to read prose texts with the occasional assistance of a dictionary. The second quarter focuses on verb inflection and verbal sequences and includes written translation to and from Hebrew, oral exercises, and grammatical analysis of forms.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10101 or equivalent
Note(s): This class meets 5 times a week
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10102

JWSC 22200. Elementary Classical Hebrew III. 100 Units.

The purpose of this three-quarter sequence is to enable the student to acquire a knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Hebrew sufficient to read prose texts with the occasional assistance of a dictionary. The first half of the third quarter concludes the study of verb inflection and the second half is spent reading prose narrative texts with specific attention to the grammatical analysis of those texts.

Instructor(s): staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10102
Note(s): This class meets 5 times a week
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10103

JWSC 22300-22400-22500. Intermediate Classical Hebrew I-II-III.

A continuation of Elementary Classical Hebrew. The first quarter consists of reviewing grammar, and of reading and analyzing further prose texts. The last two quarters are devoted to an introduction to Hebrew poetry with readings from Psalms, Proverbs, and the prophets.

JWSC 22300. Intermediate Classical Hebrew I. 100 Units.

Review basic Hebrew grammar, emphasis on morphology and basic syntax - Review/acquire historical morphology - Acquire facility in reading Biblical Hebrew prose

Instructor(s): D. Pardee     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10103 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20104

JWSC 22400. Intermediate Classical Hebrew II. 100 Units.

Continue acquisition of basic Biblical Hebrew; Continue acquisition of basic notions of historical grammar; Acquire the rudiments of analysis of Biblical Hebrew poetry.

Instructor(s): D. Pardee     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 20104 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20105

JWSC 22500. Intermediate Classical Hebrew III. 100 Units.

Continue acquisition of basic Biblical Hebrew, emphasis on syntax; Increase familiarity with Biblical Hebrew poetry, emphasis on prophets; Continue acquisition of basic historical morphology; Reading ancient manuscripts.

Instructor(s): D. Pardee     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 20105 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20106

JWSC 22906. The Book of Ezekiel. 100 Units.

A seminar for reading the Book of Ezekiel (in English; optional reading group for those who read biblical Hebrew), the Bible's most bizarre and challenging Prophetic work. It features Ezekiel's close encounters with a brutal divine, instantaneous transportation to future spaces and faraway places, dream-scenes that become real, mortifying dramatizations, and surreal sensory overload. Ezekiel says he played the role of a crude mime, a confounding cryptic, and an erotic singer. This charged and disturbing work generated a variety of literary and speculative Jewish and Christian traditions, like the Apocalyptic and the Mystical. Modern Bible critics discount its retrospective frame, consider it a repository of historical materials, and probe Ezekiel for personality disorders. We will engage it the way it presents itself to us, as literature, in a which a character tells his glorious and troubled story, and explore its frame, content, poetics, Judean literary traditions, contemporary Babylonian scene, and historical message.

Instructor(s): Simeon Chavel     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): This course meets the HS or LMCS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 22906, HIJD 32906, NEHC 22906, NEHC 32906, BIBL 32906

JWSC 23521. The Future of Israel. 100 Units.

This class considers key aspects of contemporary Israeli society, culture and politics, and examines their potential future trajectories. Within this framework, we will discuss the historical background of various developments in contemporary Israeli ideologies, experiences, fears and ambitions. In analyzing the evolution and impacts of the tensions that characterize Israeli society and culture today, we will examine various potential resolutions for these tensions. The sources we will discuss in class include official policy statements, speeches, and public opinion polls, alongside visual arts, films, science fiction literature and popular music. The diversity of sources reflects the diversity of voices-of beliefs, aspirations and self-perceptions-within the Israeli society. The acknowledgement of this diversity would not allow us to predict the future, but it would grant us with solid foundations for the understanding of the current challenges, of possible future trajectories, and their long-term implications.

Instructor(s): O. Ashkenazi     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 33521, HIST 23521

JWSC 23522. German-Jewish Visual Culture. 100 Units.

Ever since Jewish emancipation in the second half of the nineteenth century, German-Jewish culture evolved through the experience of intercultural encounters, acculturation, dissimilation, migration, and persecution. After 1933 this endeavor has been transplanted and fostered outside of Germany as well. The course focuses on the ways German-Jewish visual culture negotiated the varying experiences of Jews in Germany and in migration, contemplated Jews' agency in the face of uncertainty and crisis, and assigned meaning to views, beliefs and fears. In considering sources such as films, photographs, and comic books that were produced by Jews in Germany and German-Jews abroad, we will explore some often-overlooked yet fundamental aspects of German Jewish history and its perception by various contemporaries. Contrary to traditional scholarship on German-Jewish culture, this course will go beyond the paradigm of the nation-state to highlight the transnational encounters, interrelations and influences that shaped the German-Jewish experience and its negotiation in visual imagery.

Instructor(s): O. Ashkenazi     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 23522, HIST 33522

JWSC 23600. Evil: Myth, Symbol and Reality. 100 Units.

From the horrors of the Shoah to violence suffered by individuals, the question of the origin, meaning, and reality of evil done by humans has vexed thinkers throughout the ages. This seminar is an inquiry into the problem of evil on three registers of reflection: myth, symbol, and reality. We will be exploring important philosophical, Jewish, and Christian texts. These include Martin Buber, Good and Evil, Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, Immanuel Kant, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, Paul Ricoeur, The Symbolism of Evil, Edward Farley, Good and Evil, Hans Jonas, Mortality and Morality and Claudia Card, The Atrocity Paradigm. There will also be a viewing of the movie Seven (1995) directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Accordingly, the seminar probes the reality of evil and the symbolic and mythic resources of religious traditions to articulate the meaning and origin of human evil. The question of "theodicy" is then not the primary focus given the seminar's inquiry into the fact and reality of human evil. Each student will submit a 5-7 page critical review of either Jonathan Glover's Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century or Susan Neiman's, Evil in Modern Thought. Each Student also will write a 15 page (double spaced;12pt font) paper on one or more of the texts read in the course with respect to her or his own research interests.

Instructor(s): William Schweiker     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the HS or CS Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): RETH 33600, GRMN 33623, RLST 23600, FNDL 23600, GRMN 23623, THEO 33600

JWSC 25000-25100-25200. Introductory Modern Hebrew I-II-III.

This three-quarter sequence introduces students to reading, writing, and speaking modern Hebrew. All four language skills are emphasized: comprehension of written and oral materials; reading of nondiacritical text; writing of directed sentences, paragraphs, and compositions; and speaking. Students learn the Hebrew root pattern system and the seven basic verb conjugations in both the past and present tenses, as well as simple future. At the end of the year, students can conduct short conversations in Hebrew, read materials designed to their level, and write a short essay.

JWSC 25000. Introductory Modern Hebrew I. 100 Units.

The beginner's course is the first of three sequential courses offered to students at the university. The course aims to introduce students to reading, writing and speaking Modern Hebrew. Toward that end all four-language skills are emphasized: comprehension of written and oral materials; reading of non-diacritical text; writing of directed sentences, paragraphs, and compositions; speaking. You will learn the Hebrew root pattern system, and by the end of the year you will have mastered the five (active) basic verb conjugations in both the past and present tenses (as well as simple future). This grammatical knowledge is complemented by an 800+ word vocabulary, which is presented with an eye toward the major syntactic structures, including the proper use of prepositions. At the end of the year, you will conduct short conversations in Hebrew; read materials designed to this level and write short compositions. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ari Almog     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10501

JWSC 25100. Introductory Modern Hebrew II. 100 Units.

The beginner's course is the first of three sequential courses offered to students at the university. The course aims to introduce students to reading, writing and speaking Modern Hebrew. Toward that end all four-language skills are emphasized: comprehension of written and oral materials; reading of non-diacritical text; writing of directed sentences, paragraphs, and compositions; speaking. You will learn the Hebrew root pattern system, and by the end of the year you will have mastered the five (active) basic verb conjugations in both the past and present tenses (as well as simple future). This grammatical knowledge is complemented by an 800+ word vocabulary, which is presented with an eye toward the major syntactic structures, including the proper use of prepositions. At the end of the year, you will conduct short conversations in Hebrew; read materials designed to this level and write short compositions. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ehud HarEven     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10501 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10502

JWSC 25200. Introductory Modern Hebrew III. 100 Units.

The beginner's course is the first of three sequential courses offered to students at the university. The course aims to introduce students to reading, writing and speaking Modern Hebrew. Toward that end all four-language skills are emphasized: comprehension of written and oral materials; reading of non-diacritical text; writing of directed sentences, paragraphs, and compositions; speaking. You will learn the Hebrew root pattern system, and by the end of the year you will have mastered the five (active) basic verb conjugations in both the past and present tenses (as well as simple future). This grammatical knowledge is complemented by an 800+ word vocabulary, which is presented with an eye toward the major syntactic structures, including the proper use of prepositions. At the end of the year, you will conduct short conversations in Hebrew; read materials designed to this level and write short compositions. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ari Almog     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10502 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 10503

JWSC 25300-25400-25500. Intermediate Modern Hebrew I-II-III.

The main objective of this sequence is to provide students with the skills necessary to approach modern Hebrew prose, both fiction and nonfiction. In order to achieve this task, students are provided with a systematic examination of the complete verb structure. Many syntactic structures are introduced (e.g., simple clauses, coordinate and compound sentences). At this level, students not only write and speak extensively but are also required to analyze grammatically and contextually all of material assigned.

JWSC 25300. Intermediate Modern Hebrew I. 100 Units.

The course, which builds upon Introductory Modern Hebrew (first year HEB) focuses on the acquisition of proficiency and communicative skills in Modern Hebrew. The purpose of this class is to expand and strengthen beginners' Hebrew skills so that they become more self-assured, communicative, and versatile when they listen to, read, speak, and write Hebrew. It emphasizes both communicative and cultural themes and focuses on developing a rich and active vocabulary in several language domains.

Instructor(s): Ehud Har-Even     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 10503 or equivalent
Note(s): The course is devised for students who have previously taken either modern or biblical Hebrew courses.
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20501

JWSC 25400. Intermediate Modern Hebrew II. 100 Units.

This course is designed for students who possess a basic knowledge of modern‭ ‬and/or Biblical Hebrew‭ (‬either the first year course or the placement exam‭ ‬are prerequisites‭). ‬The main objective is to provide students with the‭ ‬skills necessary to approach Modern Hebrew prose‭, ‬both fiction and‭ ‬non-fiction‭. Students learn to use the dictionary‭, ‬and approach unfamiliar‭ ‬texts and vocabulary‭. Many syntactic structures are introduced‭, ‬including‭ ‬simple clauses‭, ‬coordinate and compound sentences‭. ‬Throughout the year‭, ‬students read‭, ‬write‭, ‬and speak extensively and are required to analyze the‭ ‬grammatical structures of assigned materials‭.

Instructor(s): Ehud Har-Even     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 20501 or equivalent
Note(s): The course is devised for students who have previously taken either modern or biblical Hebrew courses.
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20502

JWSC 25500. Intermediate Modern Hebrew III. 100 Units.

The course, which builds upon Introductory Modern Hebrew (first year HEB) focuses on the acquisition of proficiency and communicative skills in Modern Hebrew. The purpose of this class is to expand and strengthen beginners' Hebrew skills so that they become more self-assured, communicative, and versatile when they listen to, read, speak, and write Hebrew. It emphasizes both communicative and cultural themes and focuses on developing a rich and active vocabulary in several language domains.

Instructor(s): Ehud Har-Even     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 20502 or equivalent
Note(s): The course is devised for students who have previously taken either modern or biblical Hebrew courses.
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 20503

JWSC 25600-25700-25800. Advanced Modern Hebrew I-II-III.

This sequence assumes that students have full mastery of the grammatical and lexical content of the intermediate level. The main objective is literary fluency. The texts used in this sequence include both academic prose and literature. Students are exposed to semantics and morphology in addition to advanced grammar.

JWSC 25600. Advanced Modern Hebrew I. 100 Units.

This course, which builds upon Intermediate Modern Hebrew (second year HEB) assumes that students have full mastery of the grammatical and lexical content of the intermediate level. The focus of instruction is on further development of intermediate language skills in Modern Israeli Hebrew with special emphasis on oral and written communication. At the end of the course, all students are expected to reach the Advanced level of proficiency, as defined by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in speaking, reading, and listening comprehension. The acquisition of cultural literacy will be an integral part of the curriculum throughout the semester. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ari Almog     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 20503 or equivalent
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 30501

JWSC 25700. Advanced Modern Hebrew-II. 100 Units.

This course assumes that students have full mastery of the grammatical and lexical content of the intermediate level (second year Hebrew or the placement exam are prerequisites). The main objective is literary fluency. The texts used in this course include both academic prose, as well as literature. Students are exposed to semantics and morphology in addition to advanced grammar. Requirements include a weekly class presentation, regular essay writing, two take-home exams, and several quizzes per quarter. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ari Almog     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): HEBR 30501 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 30502

JWSC 25800. Advanced Modern Hebrew-III. 100 Units.

This course assumes that students have full mastery of the grammatical and lexical content of the intermediate level (second year Hebrew or the placement exam are prerequisites). The main objective is literary fluency. The texts used in this course include both academic prose, as well as literature. Students are exposed to semantics and morphology in addition to advanced grammar. Requirements include a weekly class presentation, regular essay writing, two take-home exams, and several quizzes per quarter. The in-class quotient of the course will be heavily based on active listening and speaking practice, with much use of various print, video, and web-based media. This course will require students to commit to undertaking intensive methods of instruction, which require their active participation in class and considerable attention to the language outside of class.

Instructor(s): Ari Almog     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Two years of Modern Hebrew studies
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 30503

JWSC 26313. Judaism, Medicine, and the Body. 100 Units.

For centuries the "Jewish doctor" has existed as an archetype, but is there such a thing as Jewish medicine? Does Judaism teach a distinct approach to the body, illness, and healing? And more significantly, why should religion have anything to do with one's health today? In this course we will grapple with our assumptions regarding modern Western medicine by discussing topics in Jewish medical thought and ethics. We will study how Judaism - its texts, history, laws, and traditions - intersect with issues of science, medicine, and the body. In particular we will think about how a Jewish approach to medicine, and more broadly a religious approach, might complicate contemporary assumptions about the body and healing. We will also consider how Jewish bodies have been imagined and stereotyped, and think about how that might affect Jewish approaches to disease and medical ethics. This course will thus offer students a way to think about alternatives to assumptions about medicine, the body, and ethics in the secular West, which will be explored both in class materials and in personal projects. No prior work in Jewish studies, medical ethics, or religious studies necessary.

Instructor(s): Ranana Dine     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 26313, HLTH 26313, GNSE 26313, KNOW 26313, HIPS 26313, CCTS 21022

JWSC 26615. Violence and Religion. 100 Units.

Why do disputes about religion so often break out into violent conflict? How does violence in literature relate to real world violence? Would a more secular world be more peaceful? This course will examine the role of violence in ancient and modern societies. We will focus on the recurring connection between violence and the divine. The first part of the course will explore how human communities depict violence in sacred texts, works of literature, and political rhetoric. Why do myths frequently portray the relationship between gods and humans as a violent one? What role does violence play in religious rituals? What is it that makes violence destructive under certain conditions and unifying under others? The second part of the course will examine classic theories of sacred violence to examine how theorists have explained the centrality of violence within religious narratives and the ways religion both facilitates and opposes violence No previous coursework is required to enroll.

Instructor(s): Joseph Haydt     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 26600, RLST 26600

JWSC 27652. Advanced Yiddish: Shikage literarisher khoydesh zshurnal. 100 Units.

In this course we will make our way through issues of Shikage literarisher khoydesh zshurnal, the monthly organ of Yiddish Chicago of the 1930s. Each class we will examine a different piece - poetry, prose, essay, etc. as well as exploring its historical context and drawing out linguistic nuances from the literature we read. Students will be expected to compose weekly response papers in Yiddish discussing the items they read in the journal.

Instructor(s): Jessica Kirzane     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): YDDH 32323, YDDH 22323

JWSC 27653. Advanced Yiddish: Miriam Karpilove. 100 Units.

In this course, we will examine the Yiddish reportage, humor writing, short stories, and novels of pioneering popular Yiddish writer Miriam Karpilove in the context of labor politics, gender politics, literary realism, and the middlebrow. We will consider Karpilove's narrative strategies, ask questions about narratorial perspective, use of irony and pedagogical sense of judgement in Karpilove's work - published fiction and nonfiction as well as personal correspondence. Students will read Karpilove's published writing in newspapers and books and also be challenged to read some of Karpilove's work in handwritten manuscript form. The course will be conducted as a literature seminar, and students will be asked to produce three short analytical papers in Yiddish over the course of the quarter.

Instructor(s): Jessica Kirzane     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): YDDH 35524, YDDH 25524

JWSC 28449. The End is Near: The Bible and Apocalypse. 100 Units.

The rise of nuclear weapons, the global warming crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic have reignited debates about the fate and meaning of human history. If it is the end of the world as we know it, how should we act, and what-if anything-comes next? For centuries, the Bible has been a source for people thinking about end of time. In this course, we examine how the Bible and other ancient texts portray human catastrophe and the possibility of new beginnings. From national upheavals and the dawn of a final political order, down to the fate of the individual and the destiny of the cosmos at large, this course exposes students to the multiplicity of ways that the End is envisioned throughout the Bible and later interpretation. How do biblical authors interpret the meaning of existence in light of the End? What stands out about ancient literature when we understand it as anticipating the End, and how can these texts help us understand contemporary fears about the End? No background knowledge about the Bible or the ancient world is required for the course.

Instructor(s): Jonathan Wegner     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 28449

JWSC 28872. Jews in Nazi Germany: Lion Feuchtwanger's novel The Oppermanns in historical context. 100 Units.

Recently republished in 2022, Lion Feuchtwanger's 1933 best-seller The Oppermanns depicts a Jewish family who grapple with the Nazi seizure of power in Germany. Like many at the time, the Oppemanns think that the regime will be short-lived, but Feuchtwanger's prescient novel anticipates the entrenchment of Nazi power and the creeping curtailment of Jewish life in Germany with uncanny accuracy-from the thugs attacking individuals to the Ministry of Propaganda's demonization of Jewish Germans in mass media, via the enforced "Aryanization" of businesses required to employ non-Jewish managers. Discussion will focus on Feuchtwanger's nuanced portrayal of the distinct ways in which family members react to these assaults, supplemented by historical texts, including the analysis of Nazi language (1946) by Victor Klemperer, a Jewish-German survivor, and documents in the Weimar Republic Sourcebook.

Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 28872, ENGL 28872, CMLT 28872, FNDL 28872

JWSC 29406. Seminar: Formal Diachronic Semantics (in Hebrew and other languages) 100 Units.

The course seeks to bring together two sub-disciplines within linguistics: historical linguistics and formal semantics. Both of these sub-disciplines have evolved from distant intellectual fields: the first comes from the philological world, while the second has its origins in the world of mathematical logic. Recently, there has been a rapprochement between these fields dealing mostly with the study of changes of meaning, grammaticalization and reanalysis. This course aimes to examine the research paradigms that attempt to integrate them and explore new methodologies for building bridges between them. The course will focus on examples from Hebrew, but there is no requirment of Hebrew, and studies and examples from many other languages will be provided as well.

Instructor(s): Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): LING 29406, LING 39406

JWSC 29700. Reading and Research Course. 100 Units.

TBD

Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and Undergraduate Program Adviser
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form.

JWSC 29900. BA Preparation Course. 100 Units.

Preparation of BA thesis under direction of advisor.

Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent of instructor and Undergraduate Program Adviser
Note(s): Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Required of honors candidates.

JWSC 29920. Reading Course: Modern Hebrew. 100 Units.

This course assumes that students have full mastery of the grammatical and lexical content of the advanced level. The main objective is literary fluency. By the end of the course, students should have an excellent command of Hebrew. The course concentrates on the written language, especially scientific writing, as well as elements of Biblical Hebrew, literature from earlier periods and sophisticated journalistic writing. Students read the various Israeli daily newspapers as well as Israeli literature, scientific articles and legal documents (with the help of a dictionary) of varying lengths. They have a good command of synonyms and idiomatic Hebrew, and also understand the subtle differences between words. Their already substantial vocabularies now include many words from a wide variety of genres. Students considerably improve their ability to write long essays in Hebrew on a wide range of topics, incorporating idiomatic language.

Instructor(s): Ehud Har-Even     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Students should have at least four years of Modern Hebrew studies and/or passing grade of a reading exam and/or graduated the Reading Hebrew for Research Purposes.
Equivalent Course(s): HEBR 49900, HEBR 29900, BIBL 48900


Contacts

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Administrator of Undergraduate Studies
Nancy Pardee
1155 E. 58th St., Room 302A
773.702.7108
Email

Director

Director
Kenneth Moss


Email