REL 202 Spring 2015 Moses: Stranger in a Strange Land

Cross Listed as COMP214, JWST202
As chieftain, priest, prophet, and lawgiver all in one, Moses occupies the central place in the history of Israelite and Jewish leaders. However, he is a somewhat unlikely candidate for such an important role. He is God's chosen leader among the enslaved Israelites, but he is raised as an Egyptian prince. He is a spokesman for his people, but he is slow of speech. He is the lawgiver and first judge of his nation, yet he is quick-tempered and impatient. The story of the most revered figure in the Jewish tradition, who nevertheless remains an outsider to the very end, has fascinated commentators and inspired countless artistic and literary interpretations. This course will engage in a close study of the figure of Moses by examining the biblical narrative of his life and career from Exodus through Deuteronomy with an eye towards understanding the complex and often contradictory portrait of this self-described "stranger in a strange land." We will also examine some of the ancient legendary and folkloric accounts about Moses, as well as philosophical and allegorical treatments in Hellenistic Jewish, early Christian, and Muslim biographies. We will then proceed to investigate key modern reconfigurations and critiques of Moses in several genres, which may include renaissance visual depictions, literary works by Sigmund Freud, George Eliot, Thomas Mann, and Zora Neale Hurston, and even musical and cinematic renditions. All readings are in translation.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short written assignments, and two or three longer papers
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Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students who have already taken a course in biblical literature
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Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL or JWST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives, JWST Core Electives
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3728
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER ENRL CONSENT
REL 202 - 01 (S) SEM Moses Division 2: Social Studies Edan Dekel
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM 3728
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