COMP 214
Moses: Stranger in a Strange Land Spring 2015
Division I
Cross-listed COMP 214 / REL 202 / JWST 202
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3730
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, short written assignments, and two or three longer papers
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: students who have already taken a course in biblical literature
Distributions: Division I
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under REL or JWST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under COMP
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 214 Division II REL 202 Division II JWST 202 Division II
Attributes: ARAB Arabic Studies Electives
JWST Core Electives

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