MES 310 • Introduction to Jewish Studies
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Jewish Studies is a data field, not a discipline. Hence, Jewish Studies can be, and is, studied in many disciplines according to a variety of metholodologies- historiographic, sociological, philological, to name a few. This version of J S 301 will focus on Jewish literature and Jewish thought, comprising a general introduction to Biblical, rabbinic, philosophic and literary Jewish texts from the 6th Century B.C.E. to the 21st Century C.E, with emphasis on hermeneutics (interpretation). Is there a specifically Jewish (and/or Judaic) approach to textuality, a specifically Jewish (and/or Judaic) philosophy of reading? These are some of the questions we will pose and attempt to answer.
Note: this course is not intended as an introduction to Judaism, i.e., the basic religious doctrines, ritual practices, and philosophical schools of the Jewish religion, nor is it a history of the Jewish people. It will, however, explore a wide range of Jewish expression across cultural, historical, and linguistic boundaries.
Texts include The Book of Esther, Pirk Avot (Sayings of the Fathers), selected midrash and aggadah, Maimonides and other medieval figures, 19th to 20th c. Yiddish, Hebrew, European, and American fiction and poetry, Rosenzweig and Levinas.