Summer 2023 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

JWST 205 Introduction to Jewish Literature

Instructor Dr. Shulamit Shinnar
Summer 2023
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Full course description

Description: This course explores Jewish literature, central texts, and other primary sources in order to examine key elements of Jewish religion, history, and identity from the Bible to the present day. Judaism, like other religions, offers a very particular worldview that focuses on a set of unique responsibilities. But Judaism is also a religion and culture that grapples with enduring human questions. In this course, we will focus on fundamental questions about individuals as members of larger communities as a lens for studying Jews, Judaism (the religion), and Judaism (the culture) including: 1) What stories do we tell? 2) What has power over us? And 3) For whom are we responsible? In addition to engaging with central Jewish texts, we will discuss the historical construction of Jewish practices and beliefs and recognize the diversity of Jewish practices over time. This is an introductory course, and no prior expertise is required.

Texts: Texts will range from the biblical literature, Talmudic literature, rabbinic and contemporary midrash, to modern literature and philosophic writing. All texts will be taught in translation.

Participation and Attendance (15%)
4 short response papers 500-750 words each (50%)
In class work and/or Presentation (15%) Final Exam (20%)

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