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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Summer 2005

MES F321K • Concepts in Judaic Culture- W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
86790 MTWThF
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
CAL 200

Course Description

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, in both ancient and modern Israel, and the cultural centers they created in the Diaspora in the last two millennia, and the languages they used. This discussion will cover areas such as religion & theology, philosophy & mysticism, literature and linguistics, history, customs and folklore, ancient and modern life, and Jewish languages. 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 and the influence of translations of the Hebrew Bible on English literature. Indeed, by better understanding the Biblical genius and post-Biblical Judaic culture, one will find a key to various literary and artistic traditions of the Western world. The format of this course will combine lectures, slide/film presentations, class discussions, 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, majors in English 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 or 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 or 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.

Grading Policy

See requirements.


Leo Tzepp. History of the Jewish Experience. J. Telushkin. Jewish Literacy. Abba Ebam. Heritage: Civilization and the Jews. (If available).


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