This is a complete list of courses in Jewish Studies.
This course explores the thick and intertwined threads of identity, history, collective memory, culture, trauma and loss - themes that bind Palestinians and Israelis together and often threaten to tear them apart.
The main goal of this course, using the lens of anthropological inquiry, is to explore, discover and analyze the World of the Crypto (Secret) Jews. Students will analyze customs, religious practices, languages, ethnic and regional subdivisions, occupations, social composition, and folklore, taking into account the construction of a new identity of the distinct groups during different periods of time. The course asks fundamental questions about the definition of Jewish identity, practices and community.
This course focuses on the Holocaust during the Third Reich, which involved the murder of millions of people, including six million Jews. Course material reviews the Holocaust’s history, dynamics, and consequences as well as other genocides of the 20th century, using an anthropological approach. Restricted to juniors/seniors.
Magic is perennially popular across cultures and remains so today, from Harry Potter to Penn and Teller. For the ancients, however, magic represented a very real and powerful access to a spirit world that most believed in strongly and that all feared, even to the point of passing death sentences against its practitioners. What distinguished magic from the “mainstream” religion was its lack of connection with officially sponsored religious institutions. This course provides an introduction and in-depth survey of ancient magic. Students will explore the theories of ancient magic and work with reproductions of actual magic texts.
Surveys literary achievements of the Judeo-Christian tradition as represented by the Bible. Restricted to sophomores/juniors/seniors. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.
Explores the Jewish-American experience from the 19th century to the present through writers such as Sholom Aleichem, Peretz, Babel, Singer, Malamud, Miller, Ginsberg, and Ozick. The Jewish experience ranges from the travails of immigration to the loss of identity through assimilation. Restricted to sophomores/ juniors/seniors. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.
(First year Hebrew does not count toward the completion of a certificate in Jewish Studies)
This is an introductory course designed for students who have little or no knowledge of Hebrew. No prior knowledge of the language is presumed, and we start by learning the Hebrew alphabet, and basic vocabulary items. Students start talking from day one. By the end of the semester students attain a basic proficiency in Hebrew reading, writing and speaking.
This course is intended for students who have completed the first semester of Hebrew at the University of Colorado. Students develop the skills acquired in the first section of the introductory course. By the end of this semester, students will attain a basic proficiency in Hebrew reading, writing and speaking.
This course is designed to enable students to read the Hebrew Bible in the original language. The focus will be the ability to read the various genres of the text, utilizing both the tools of modern language acquisition and the study of classical grammar methods.
Building on HEBR/JWST 1030, this course continues to build expertise in reading the Hebrew Bible. Modern language acquisition and classical grammar study methods equip students with the tools to translate and read the various genres of the Biblical material. Prereq., HEBR/JWST 1030 or instructor consent.
This course builds on the skills acquired in the first two semesters. Students begin with three weeks of review of vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and speaking.
This course is a continuation of Intermediate Hebrew. Students will read longer passages, write at greater length and extend comprehension and speaking abilities.
The fifth semester Hebrew course builds on the skills acquired in the first four semesters. Students begin with a review of vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and speaking.
The sixth semester Hebrew course builds on the skills acquired in the first five semesters. Students read a variety of Hebrew texts written in different linguistic registers that range from the literary to the colloquial; look at Israeli newspapers and read Hebrew poetry, ancient and contemporary. The class also reviews and refines understanding of Hebrew grammar, and focuses on Hebrew language production, both oral and written.
Surveys the major historical developments encountered by Jewish communities beginning with the Spanish Expulsion in 1492 up until the present day. We will study the various ways in which Jews across the world engaged with emerging notions of nationality, equality, and citizenship, as well as with new ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, nationalism, imperialism, and antisemitism. We will examine differing patterns of acculturation and assimilation, as Jews adopted numerous ways to negotiate the tension between the "particular" and the "universal." By focusing both on European Jewry as well as the Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa, we will chart not one all-encompassing model of Jewish modernity, but a more variegated and complex story that unfolded. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.
Why do people think that Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union have so much in comparable “totalitarian” regimes. This course will do an indepth examination of Nazism and Stalinism and their respective legacies to test the totalitarian thesis.
This course explores the history of modern Israel, a crossroad of Europe and Asia from the late Ottoman Empire to the present. Main topics will include nationalism and colonialism, development of Zionist ideology, development of Palestinian nationalism, establishment of the Jewish settlement (Yishuv) under British rule, the founding of the Jewish nation-state, relations with neighbors, and the aftermath of the 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982 wars. Recommended prereqs., HIST 1818 or 1828 or 1308 or JWST 2350.
This course seeks to examine the Jewish experience in the lands of Islam in modern times. The course begins its inquiry in the early 19th century, when these communities, dispersed across the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeastern Europe, encountered a “modernity” largely shaped by an ascendant West in the political, cultural and economic arenas. The course also examines how the changes of the modern period impacted relations between the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities of these regions.
Focuses on the political, social, cultural and psychological roots of national socialism, with the nature of the national socialist regime, and those politics and actions that came directly out of its challenge to values central to Western civilization. Studies how Nazism came out of this civilization. Restricted to seniors.
This course will take students on a journey from Medieval Spain to contemporary United States and explore the ways in which Jews living in these different societies have attempted to reshape and interpret central Jewish values and beliefs in accordance with the prevailing ideas of their host societies. Focuses on the historical context of each Jewish society that produces the thinkers and ideas considered in this course. Recommended prereqs., HIST 1010 or 1020, or HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828, or HEBR/JWST 2350.
Focus on the last 500 years of European Jewish history, from 1492 until the present, to examine Jews' place in European history and how Europe has functioned in Jewish history. The course will not end with the Holocaust, since, although Hitler and the Nazis attempted to destroy European Jewish civilization, they did not succeed. Rather, this course will spend several weeks looking at European Jewish life in the past sixty years. Recommended prereqs., HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828 or HIST 1020.
Jews have produced culture in Yiddish, the vernacular language of eastern European Jewry, for 1,000 years and the language continues to shape Jewish culture today. In this course we will look at the literature, film, theater, music, art, sound, and laughter that defined the culture of eastern European Jewry and, in the 20th century, Jews around the world. Recommended prereqs.,HIST 1818 or 1828 or HEBR 2350.
For about 1,000 years, Europe was the cradle of global Jewish civilization. This course focuses on the last 500 years of that history, from 1492 until the present, to examine Jews’ place in European history and how Europe has functioned in Jewish history.
For centuries Jews have endeavored to define their religious beliefs and values in a way that resonated with the values and beliefs of the contemporary societies in which they lived. This course takes students on a journey from Medieval Spain to 18th century Germany and explores the ways in which Jews, living in these different societies, have attempted to reshape and interpret central Jewish values and beliefs in accordance with the prevailing ideas of their host societies. As a course in Jewish intellectual history, it focuses on the historical context of each Jewish society with respect to two connected central questions: What was the nature of then Jewish (and non-Jewish society) that produced these thinkers and ideas and in what ways did these philosophical ideas in turn impact and shape the lives of Jews living in that particular society.
This course explores the experience of Jews in the United States from the 1880's when the great migration of Jews from Eastern Europe began, through the twentieth century. Students will explore the changing ways in which Jews adapted to life in the U.S., constructed American Jewish identities, and helped to participate in the construction of the United States as a nation. Recommended prereqs., HIST 1025 or HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828 or HEBR/JWST 2350.
This course offers an innovative approach to the multifaceted history of Christian-Muslim-Jewish interaction in the Mediterranean. It eschews established paradigms (e.g., Europe, Islamic world) that distort our understanding of these and pushes students to reconsider the accepted paradigms of Western history. Students will reappraise assumptions regarding the nature of ethnic, religious, national and cultural identity, and their role in human history.
This course deals with the central issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict in both historical and contemporary terms. The first part of the course deals with the growing clash between the Zionist Yishuv and Arabs of Palestine, examining the transformation of this discord into a long-term confrontation between Israel and the Arab states. The second and main part of this course covers the years 1947-1987, analyzing the causes and effects of six wars between Israel and the Arab states; those of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1969-70, 1973, and 1982. The third part of the course begins with the Palestinian intifada of 1987-1993 and the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles of September 1993 (Oslo Accords). The course concludes with an examination of the conflict since the mid-1990s; topics to be included in the last meetings are the involvement of Hizballah and 2006 war and the rise of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
This course uses a transnational lens to explore contemporary debates about Jewish people, places, and practices of identity and community. Drawing on history, sociology, international studies, and anthropology, students will think about the places that Jewish people have called ‘home,’ and what has made, or continues to make those places ‘Jewish.’ The course will also explore diverse practices that express the extraordinary varieties of Jewishness (such as building synagogues, food markets, and coffeehouses, creating film festivals, going on heritage travel, Israeli-Jewish backpacking, the creation of online websites and blogs, and new urban kibbutzim). Restricted to juniors and seniors. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.
Explores topics in international affairs as it relates to Jewish culture and society. Subjects addressed under this heading vary according to student interest and faculty availability. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours. Restricted to Juniors or Seniors.
This course explores the origins and development of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Beginning with Arab-Jewish relations in the late-nineteenth century, it examines the development of conflict between the two groups during the period of the Palestine Mandate, the evolution of Arab and Jewish nationalisms, the creation of Israel, subsequent international conflicts, and present-day relations. Themes include conflicting narratives; borders, boundaries, and cartography; the role of images such as maps and photographs in the formation of public opinion; and the international context. Students will acquire critical thinking and writing skills and develop a better understanding of the roots of contemporary conflict. Prior knowledge of Jewish, Muslim, or Middle Eastern history or international affairs will be helpful but is not required.
Examines how the memory of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany is increasingly determined by the means of its representation, e.g., film, autobiography, poetry, architecture. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.
One proof of a writer's acknowledged status as a classic is undoubtedly the currency of his or her name in ordinary parlance. Not only has "Kafka" become a household name, but even the adjective derived from his name, "Kafkaesque" is liberally applied to anything, from works of art to state bureaucracies, from types of shoes to architectural styles, by people who may have never read a word of Kafka's writing. The term is therefore often misused and misunderstood, in spite of being by now recorded and defined in every dictionary of the language. This course is meant to counteract such a trend and to expose the students to a wide selection of Kafka's literary output, with the aim of reaching our own tentative answer to the question: What is the Kafkaesque? We will then expand upon Jorge Luis Borges' suggestion, in a seminal essay he devoted to "Kafka and his Precursors," that extraordinary writers change our understanding and appreciation of the past, as much as they modify the future of literature, and upon Hilles Deleuze's contention, in his fundamental study of film aesthetics, The Movement-Image, that Orson Welles' cinematographic style is the visual equivalent of Kafka's literary style. We will do so by looking for traces of the Kafkaesque in the verbal as well as the visual arts, beyond the empirical existence of the writer called "Kafka."
Provides insight into the German-Jewish identity through essays, autobiographies, fiction, and journalism from the Enlightenment to the post-Holocaust period. Examines the religious and social conflicts that typify the history of Jewish existence in German-speaking lands during the modern epoch. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.
The course is centered around three major figures of German modernism: the literary critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin (1893-1940), the phographer August Sander (1876-1964), the art and cultural historian Aby Warburg (1866-1929). Their works share an encyclopaedic ambition: to provide both an archive and an atlas of human history, and, in so doing, to capture the "face of time" itself. Their last projects: Benjamin's Arcades Project, Sander's People of the 20th Century, and Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas, also share the status of torsos, having been, all of them, left unfinished at their authors' death. By looking at these monumental ruins, we will try to catch a glimpse of the ruins of modernity itself, as it is further reflected in the works of contemporary German artists, such as W.G. Sebald and Gehard Richter.
Freud, Schnitzler, Schoenberg, Mahler, Wittgenstein ... individuals of Jewish origin predominate in the history of Viennese culture. This course will examine such figures who made Vienna a major cultural center in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will read not only the classic German works that made Vienna the capital of modern (and modernist) Europe, but also work in a variety of languages spoken by Jews who flocked to the city from more distant provinces of the multilingual Habsburg Empire. This class will also look at a wide range of genres: novels, poetry, short fiction, psychoanalytic case studies, satirical essays, and journalistic prose in our attempt to understand the complex positioning of Jews in Viennese society. How did these writers, artists, and philosophers understand their place in Austrian culture as insiders and/or outsiders? What do we gain or lose by looking at culture through a lens determined by historical origins and national affiliations? The seminar is taught in English with all work (German, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish) available in the original and in translation.
The course is devoted to three major works of German modernism: Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, August Sander’s People of the 20th Century, and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. In spite of their status of torsos, having been, all of them, left unfinished at their authors’ death, these works still haunt us with their ambition of showing us the “face of time.” By looking at these monumental ruins, we will try to catch a glimpse of the ruins of modernity itself, as it is further reflected in the works of contemporary German artists, such as W. G. Sebald and Gerhard Richter.
Surveys the major works of 20th century central and eastern European film and literature. Examines cultural production in the non-imperial countries and non-national languages of the region including Yiddish, Belarusian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian, among others. Traces the rise of nationalism over the course of the century from the age of empires through the Cold War.
Explores the development and expressions of Jewish culture as it moves across the chronological and geographical map of the historic Jewish people, with an emphasis on the variety of Jewish ethnicities and their cultural productions, cultural syncretism, and changes. Sets the discussion in a historical context, and looks at cultural representations that include literary, religious, and visual texts. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.
This course explores major Jewish figures, and their cultural productions, who were radical in the challenges they posed and transformative in the effects they had on society. The figures the course examines range from the rabbis of the Talmud to modern American icons such as Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan.
Examines the creation and development of Israeli literature from its pre-State beginnings to the present day, from the writings of immigrants for whom Hebrew was not their mother tongue to a literature written by native Hebrew speakers. Considers texts written by Israeli Jewish and Arab writers and explores how ideas of exile, nation and home play into the Israeli experience. Prereq., Any 1000 or 2000 level literature Hebrew or Jewish Studies course or instructor's consent required. Recommended prereqs., ENGL/JWST 3677, GRMN/JWST 2502; GRMN/JWST 3503; HEBR/JWST 2551; WRTG/JWST 3020. Same as HEBR 4203. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.
A three-week adventure in Venice, Italy. Jewish life has been documented in Venice as early as the 10th century and a vibrant Jewish culture began to flourish there in the early years of the Renaissance. After the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, the massive influx of refugees and concomitant economic development made Venice one of the oldest and most important cities in European Jewish cultural life. Most of the trip will be spent in and around Venice with several overnight excursions to Padua, Mantua, Trieste and Ferrara.
This course examines the experience of Russian Jews from the late 19th century to the present through fiction and films dealing with challenges of co-existence of Jews and their neighbors. We will explore the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalinism, the Holocaust, and the post-Stalin period. We will also look at the place of Jews as individuals and as a minority within Russian and Soviet society, as well as Jewish-Russian emigration to America and elsewhere at the turn of the 21st century. Taught in English. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: literature and the arts.
Introduces literature, beliefs, practices, and institutions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in historical perspective. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.
Explores Jewish religious experience and its expression in thought, ritual, ethics, and social institutions. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.
This course covers the Hellenistic and Roman period of Jewish history up to about 200 C.E., a period widely considered to be formative for Judaism. Key historical events include the coming of Alexander the Great and impact of Hellenization, the rise of the Maccabees, the Roman domination of Judea, the Jewish war with Rome and the destruction of the Jerusalem temple, the formation of competing sects, the Jesus movement and beginnings of Christianity, the expansion of diaspora communities, and the emergence of rabbinic Judaism. Students will be exposed to a variety of Jewish literature from this period, including Wisdom literature, Apocalyptic literature, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish novels, historical writings, biblical commentary, and rabbinic texts. Three central themes will pervade the work of this course: how the religion of Ancient Israel transformed into what we know today as Judaism, how Jewish religious identity was formed in relationship to Greco-Roman culture and how ancient Judaism has been "constructed " by historians and scholars of religion. Recommended prereqs., 6 hours of RLST courses at any level including RLST/JWST 3100, RLST/JWST 2600, HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828, HEBR/JWST 2350 or instructor consent.
This course will explore accounts of love and desire in pre-modern and modern sources. We will consider diverse understandings of divine and human passion, as well as the implications of these understandings for a variety of questions - such as the status of sexuality, the nature of politics, and the signficance of religious practice. We will focus on primarily Jewish sources, while also placing this material in conversation with works drawn from other traditions. After examining treatments of love and desire in ancient sources, we will turn our attention to medieval and modern texts that wrestle with questions such as: What and whom should human beings love, and what behavior should love involve? Does God love all humanity equally, or does God enter into special relationships with particular groups and individuals? What types of sexual desire are proper, and does even God experience sexual yearning? What is the relationship between love and law, and what role should love play in ethics and politics? Recommended prereqs., 6 hours of RLST courses at any level including RLST/JWST 3100, RLST/JWST 2600, HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828, HEBR/JWST 2350 or instructor consent.
This course will trace the development of the role of women in Jewish society beginning in biblical times and continuing to the present day. We will explore the ways that women have negotiated the boundaries imposed by the Jewish legal system and Jewish society, with particular focus on the realms of family life, ritual, prayer, and study. Recommended prereqs., 6 hours of RLST courses at any level including RLST/JWST 3100, RLST/JWST 2600, HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828, HEBR/JWST 2350 or instructor consent.
Does God have anything to do with politics, and does political life have anything to do with God? This course will explore diverse answers to these questions, examining accounts of the relationship between religion and politics in ancient, medieval, and modern sources. We will devote special attention to the implications of these accounts for a variety of contested issues, such as the status of religious minorities, the nature and purpose of the state, and the role of religion in the contemporary debates surrounding topics such as abortion and marriage. We will focus primarily on Jewish and Christian sources, while also placing this material in conversation with works drawn from other traditions. Recommended prereqs., 6 hours of RLST courses at any level including RLST/JWST 3100, RLST/JWST 2600, HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828, HEBR/JWST 2350 or instructor consent.
What is the Bible, and how has this text been interpreted and used? Should the Bible be seen as a record of God's words or as the product of human beings, and should the Bible be reinterpreted in light of changing historical circumstances? What roles should biblical texts play in shaping the ethical and political commitments of individuals, and what status should these texts possess in a pluralistic society such as the United States? This course will explore the diverse answers to these questions in Jewish and Christian sources. We will devote special attention to the changing ways in which the Bible has been read in ancient, medieval, and modern contexts, exploring issues such as the authority and authorship of biblical texts, the relationship between the Bible and fields such as science, and the role of the Bible in contemporary political debates surrounding issues such as sexuality and poverty. While we will focus primarily on Jewish and Christian sources, we will also place this material in conversation with works drawn from other traditions.