ANTH 334
Imagining Joseph Spring 2020
Division II
Cross-listed COMP 334 / REL 334 / ANTH 334 / JWST 334

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Beloved son, rival brother, faithful servant, dreamer, seer, object of desire, lover, husband, bureaucrat, Joseph is one of the most fully-limned and compelling figures in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptural traditions. The story of Joseph unfolds over fourteen chapters in the Hebrew Bible, and is the subject of the fourth longest sura in the Qur’an. Through millennia, the story of Joseph has inspired a wealth of interpretations, commentary, apocrypha, re-tellings, and back-story, including an apocryphal book of scripture about Joseph and his wife, Asenath, Sufi poetry about Joseph and Zuleikha (Potiphar’s wife), a trilogy by the 20th century German novelist Thomas Mann, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber, and many expressions in Western visual art. The course will explore these various expressions, looking to them for the ways in which Joseph has captured the imaginations of peoples and cultures across time and space. The course will be organized as a collaborative seminar in which the class will read the foundational scriptures together, followed by thematic discussions to which students will contribute insights from their own readings of particular peripheral texts. Students will learn the pleasures of close and intense exegetical reading in approaching the Hebrew Bible and Qur’an, as well as the more expansive pleasures of linking post-scriptural expressions together.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 10
Class#: 3097
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 3- to 5-page weekly response papers; 15-page final paper; class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: based on responses to a questionnaire
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 334 Division I REL 334 Division II ANTH 334 Division II JWST 334 Division II
Attributes: JWST Core Electives

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