E f379N • Concepts in Judaic Culture
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
This course is designed to fill the need for an authoritative culture-enriched course which will introduce the student to the basic concepts, ideas, trends, epochs, personalities, and outstanding works representing the various areas of Jewish life and letters. This will include such areas as religion and theology, philosophy, mysticism, literature and linguistics, history, customs and folklore, ancient and modern life, and Jewish languages (including Yiddish). The primary aim is to introduce students to the rich Judaic culture, from Biblical times to the present, including aspects of special relevance to Western Judeo-Christian civilization.
The format of this course will combine lecture, slide/film presentations, class discussion, and students' reports on topics/readings of their choice. Needless to say, students will be encouraged to present questions about concepts and topics they would like to clarify, in class or in individual sessions.
The size and structure of this inter-disciplinary (and multi-cultural) course are designed to offer individual attention to students who wish to work on specific topics of interest to them within the broad area of Judaic culture. Thus, English majors may concentrate on Jewish writers in the U.S. (including Nobel Prize Laureates Saul Bellow and Isaac Bashevis-Singer), or on the Hebraic and Judaic impact on English literature (e.g., on John Milton), or on the Bible as literature; Middle East Studies students may concentrate on aspects of Hebraic and Judaic cultures in Israel, relations with Arabic and Islamic cultures during the Golden Age in Spain and in the Middle East - past and present; Linguistics students may concentrate on topics relating to various Jewish languages (e.g., Hebrew through the ages-Biblical to Modern, the recent revival of Hebrew; Yiddish and its history; Judeo-Spanish/Ladino), and so on. For this reason, students will have the option of either taking the final set of essay questions or writing a paper within their special area of interest.
Regular assignments and class participation, an oral report on a reading of the student's choice, and written assignments (to fulfill the Substantial Writing Requirement).
1. One set of essay questions on material from the first half of the term (at mid-term) (6 pages).
2. One written report to supplement the student's oral report (2 pages).
3. One final set of essay questions or a term paper on a topic of the student's choice (8 pages).