REL 299
Shakespeare's Torah Spring 2024
Division II
Cross-listed JWST 299
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

For readers and speakers of the English language over the past five centuries, no literary body of work has been more central than the writings of William Shakespeare. His plays and poems have shaped the linguistic, philosophical, and artistic representation of human experience in ways that permeate every aspect of our lives. Shakespeare’s capacious work and its central preoccupation with the essential questions of humanity have also inspired an extensive tradition of commentary, interpretation, and performance. In this regard, his work occupies a position similar to the one held by the collection of writings known in the Jewish tradition as Torah. This term refers both to the set of books contained in the Hebrew Bible and to the rabbinic tradition that emerged from reading those books, which in turn has provided the core principles for over two millennia of Jewish interpretive practice. This course invites students to read Shakespeare as Torah by applying the essential features of that practice to his extraordinary work. Through a deep and sustained encounter with four plays in four different genres (Hamlet, Henry IV, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest), we will combine analytic, critical, and creative principles to make meaning in and out of these texts. The goal throughout is to explore how the Jewish art of interpretation can illuminate our experience of Shakespeare’s humanity.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 18
Expected: 18
Class#: 3723
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, regular short written and oral assignments, and a final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: If the class is overenrolled, preference will be given to Jewish Studies concentraotrs, Religion majors, and students who have taken REL/JWST 222.
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
JWST 299 Division II REL 299 Division II
Attributes: JWST Core Electives

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time