JWST 101 Fall 2012 Judaism: Innovation and Tradition (D)

Cross Listed as REL203
What is the relationship between modern notions of Jewish identity, thought and practice and the Hebrew Bible? How does the modern Reform movement link itself to the laws of the rabbinic sages? Are there consistent values and ideals that mark Jewish moral thought throughout its history? What elements of the Jewish tradition have enabled its elasticity and historic persistence? By providing an introduction to the traditions of Jewish thought and practice through the ages, this course will take up these questions. Though the course's method of progression will be primarily chronological, commencing with myths of Israel's beginnings and culminating with contemporary debates over Jewish identity, we will additionally emphasize the strong ties between methods of Jewish thought and practices and the surrounding cultural environments in which they developed. We will approach the tradition not only with historical concerns, but with literary and philosophical aims as well. We will analyze the interpretive strategies, theological presuppositions, and political aims that accompany the tradition both in its continuities and its ruptures. Finally, we will consider the extent to which we can speak of Judaism under the category of religion, considering as well the other categories that have been proposed for Judaism, Jews and Jewishness, such as nation, people, race and ethnicity, and the motivations behind such designations. Texts will include the Hebrew Bible, Holz (ed), Back to the Sources; Halbertal, People of the Book; Mendelssohn, Jerusalem; Hertzberg (ed), The Zionist Idea; Levi, Survival in Auschwitz as well as excerpts and articles available in a course packet.
Class Format: lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: participation in class discussion, three short papers (5-7 pages) and a take-home final exam
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Religion majors and Jewish Studies concentrators
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: JLST Enactment/Applications in Institutions,JWST Gateway Courses,REL Jewish Tradition Courses
Enrollment Limit: 30
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1674
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
JWST101-01(F) LEC Judaism:Innovation & Tradition (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Sarah E. Hammerschlag
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Schapiro Hall 141 1674
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