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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Jonathan Schofer

Ph.D., University of Chicago

R S 313M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

44150 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 436A
(also listed as HIS 306N, J S 304M, MES 310 )
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This is the first half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization, from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E. All materials are in English translation. The course will begin with readings from the Bible and the Ancient Near East, and at that time we will focus on the development of the civilization of the region now known as Israel or Palestine, including the complex cultural interactions of the second millennium B.C.E. We will have extensive readings from the Second Temple Period as well as classical rabbinic literature and other writings from the period known as Late Antiquity. The course will also include studies of Geonic and Medieval Judaism, including philosophy, poetry, and mystical writings.

Grading:

  • First paper (5 pages): 25%
  • Second paper (5 pages): 25%
  • Final Exam: 50%

Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements of the course. 

Texts:

  • Robert Selzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought
  • Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha
  • Other primary sources

R S 353 • Mysticism In Rabbinic Judaism

44570 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm CBA 4.346
(also listed as J S 363 )
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This course examines topics that are arguably at the boundaries of the rational, the natural, and the conscious: Miracles, Magic, Mysticism, Myths, and Dreams.  We will focus on texts (in English translation) of Classical Late Ancient Rabbinic Judaism.  We will also study works of modern Europe and the United States, including writings by Michel de Certeau, Sigmund Freud, Andre Gorz, and Herman Melville.  We will be reading primary sources that reward close and detailed analyses.  I will give out handouts and short writing assignments on a regular basis.  The payoff for our work will be a glimpse into a radically foreign culture of religious elites – a culture whose thought and practice have shaped the religious life of Jews to the present.

 

Readings:

Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha

Primary sources and other readings

 

Grading:

First paper (5 pages): 25%

Second paper (5 pages): 25%

Take Home Final Paper, assigned at last lecture of course (10 pages): 50%

Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements the course

 

 

R S 385L • Early Jewish/Christn Lit II

44660 • Spring 2014
Meets TH 200pm-500pm BUR 436A
(also listed as J S 383 )
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This course offers a graduate introduction to reading classical texts of Rabbinic Judaism.  Students may study the sources in original languages or in English translation, or in other translations, as fits each person’s abilities.  The learning goals of the class are (1) basic familiarity with the central texts of late ancient rabbinic Judaism, (2) familiarity with classic twentieth century studies and research tools, (3) encounter with current debates in the field of rabbinics, and (4) ability to find rabbinic texts as well as secondary sources relevant to a given research topic.  The first part of the course will focus on goals (1) and (2), the second part of the course will focus on goal (3), and the final paper will draw together these elements with (4) as part of a graduate seminar paper project.

 

Readings:

Shmuel Safrai, The Literature of the Sages, Part One: Oral Torah, Halakha, Mishna, Tosefta, Talmud, External Tractates

Selections from Primary Sources

Readings in Current Debates including historical analysis, comparative study between rabbinic texts and other sources of the late ancient Mediterranean world, the nature of rabbinic biblical interpretation, and rabbinic law.

 

Grading:

Presentations (2): 50%

Final Paper (15 pages): 50%

Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be basic requirements the course

R S 313M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

44160 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm GDC 5.302
(also listed as HIS 306N, J S 304M )
show description

This is the first half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization, from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E. All materials are in English translation. The course will begin with readings from the Bible and the Ancient Near East, and at that time we will focus on the development of the civilization of the region now known as Israel or Palestine, including the complex cultural interactions of the second millennium B.C.E. We will have extensive readings from the Second Temple Period as well as classical rabbinic literature and other writings from the period known as Late Antiquity. The course will also include studies of Geonic and Medieval Judaism, including philosophy, poetry, and mystical writings.

Grading:

First paper (5 pages): 25%

Second paper (5 pages): 25%

Take Home Final Paper, assigned at last lecture of course (10 pages): 50%

Regular attendance, careful preparation of assigned texts, and participation in class discussions are considered to be

basic requirements the course

 

Texts:

Robert Selzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought

Jack Suggs, et al, eds., The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with Apocrypha

Other primary sources

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