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Course Descriptions

This is a complete list of courses in Jewish Studies.

Jewish Studies

JWST 3930 Internship in Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Internship program connects students with community service organizations, incorporating concepts of Jewish learning and tikkun olam (“repairing the world”). Learn beyond the classroom by interning in a local non-profit or community organization that connects with the Program in Jewish Studies through its mission and/or program. Interns will be supervised by a faculty member as well as the employer housing the intern. Recommended prereqs., HEBR/JWST 2350 or HIST/JWST 1818 or 1828. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.

JWST 4000 Capstone in Jewish Studies

Serves as the final product for students completing the major in Jewish Studies.  The capstone asks students to design a project under the supervision of a mentor that serves as the summation of their past work in Jewish Studies.  Capstone projects can take the form of a thesis, film, or other medium and must engage the student's second language. Restricted to senior Jewish Studies (JWST) majors only.

JWST 4302/IAFS 3520 Global Seminar: Justice, Human Rights and Democracy in Israel and the West Bank

Explore the challenges and complexities of justice, democracy and human rights in Israel and the West Bank through field trips, course work and service learning projects with Jerusalem based non-profit organizations. Acquire new knowledge and lived experience on critical issues facing Israelis and Palestinians with the wider scope of Middle East politics. Recommended prereqs., ANTH/JWST 4050 and IAFS/JWST 3600. For International Affairs majors, credits can be applied to Africa/Middle East Geographic Concentration (3 credits) and Functional Area IV, Institutions, Rights and Norms (3 credits). Credits can also be applied to the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Certificate. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: contemporary societies. Visit the Study Abroad website or contact for more information.

JWST 4900 Independent Study in Jewish Studies

Taught by assorted Jewish Studies faculty. Please contact Professor Zilla Goodman, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Program in Jewish Studies, for more information.


ANTH/JWST 4050 Topics: Cultures of Israel & Palestine

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. 

ANTH/JWST 4050 Topics: World of Hidden Jews

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.

ANTH/JWST 4580 The Holocaust: An Anthropological Perspective

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.


CLAS 4040 Seminar in Classical Antiquity: Pagan, Jewish and Christian Magic in Antiquity

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.


ENGL/JWST 3310 Bible as Literature

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.

ENGL/JWST 3677 Jewish-American Literature

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)

HEBR 1010 Beginning Modern Hebrew 1

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.

HEBR 1020 Beginning Modern Hebrew 2

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.

HEBR/JWST 1030 Biblical Hebrew

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.

HEBR/JWST 1040 Biblical Hebrew 2

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.

HEBR 2110 Intermediate Modern Hebrew 1

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.

HEBR 2120 Intermediate Modern Hebrew 2

This course is a continuation of Intermediate Hebrew. Students will read longer passages, write at greater length and extend comprehension and speaking abilities.

HEBR 3010 Advanced Modern Hebrew 3

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.

HEBR 3020 Advanced Modern Hebrew 3

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.


HIST/JWST 1818 Introduction to Jewish History: Bible to 1492

This course will focus on Jewish history from the Biblical period to the Spanish Expulsion in 1492. We will study the origins of a group of people who call themselves, and whom others call, Jews. We will focus on place, movement, power/powerlessness, gender, and the question of how to define Jews over time and place. This course introduces Jews as a group of people bound together by a particular set of laws. It will look at their dispersion and diversity, explore Jews' interactions with surrounding cultures and societies, introduce the basic library of Jews, and analyze how Jews relate to political power. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.

HIST/JWST 1828 Introduction to Jewish History: Since 1492

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.

HIST 4020 Topics: World War II

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.

HIST/JWST 4338 History of Modern Israel/Palestine

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.

HIST/JWST4348 Topics in Jewish History: Tel Aviv: Urban History and Culture

This seminar offers a multifaceted exploration of the city of Tel Aviv, founded in 1909 as a new Jewish garden suburb of the city of Jaffa, which it eventually annexed. Tel Aviv, planned from the ground up as a model Zionist city, was the site of Zionist political and cultural activity, a symbol for the movement's development, and a space in which the meanings of Zionism have been continually contested. Through inquiries into urban studies, city planning, architecture, identity, space, politics, language, culture, and conflict we will use the prism of one metropolitan area to explore themes in urban studies, the history of Palestine and Israel, the tensions of Zionist and Israeli state building, and Israeli-Palestinian relations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Recommended prereqs., HIST 1818 or 1828 or JWST 2350. Restricted to Sophomores, Juniors or Seniors.

HIST/JWST 4378 Jews Under Islam

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.

HIST 4433 Nazi Germany

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.

HIST/JWST 4454 Jewish Intellectual History

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.

HIST/JWST 4534 Modern European Jewish History

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.

HIST/JWST 4544 History of Yiddish Culture

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.

HIST 4803 Topics: Modern European Jewish History

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.

HIST 4803 Topics: Pre-Modern Jewish Intellectual 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.

HIST/JWST 4827-001 Modern U.S. Jewish History Since 1880

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.


HUMN 3850 Mediterranean Religion Before Modernity

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.

International Affairs

IAFS 3000 Topics: The Arab-Israeli Conflict

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.

IAFS/GSLL/JWST 3600 Contemporary Jewish Societies

This course uses a transnational lens to explore contemporary debates about Jewish people, places, and practices of identity and community; places that Jews have called "home," and what has made, or continues to make, those places "Jewish"; issues of Jewish homelands and diasporas; gender, sexuality, food, and the Jewish body; religious practices in contemporary contexts. Readings drawn primarily from contemporary journalism and scholarship. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.

IAFS/JWST 3610 Topics in International Affairs and Jewish Studies

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.

IAFS/JWST 3650 History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

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.

Literature & Culture

GRMN 2301 Inside Nazi Germany

Examines social culture and everyday life in Nazi Germany. Topics include the role of propaganda in the media and entertainment industries, anti-Semitism and suppression of ethnic, social and religious minorities, the role of education and youth organizations, as well as the role of women, the churches, and the effects of a controlled economy before and during World War II. Taught in English. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.

GRMN/JWST 2502 Representing the Holocaust

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.

GRMN/HUMN 2601 Kafkaesque

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."

GRMN/JWST 3501 German-Jewish Writers: From the Enlightenment to the Present

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.

GRMN 5410/COML 5830 Early 20th-Century German Soceity: The Ruins of Modernity

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.

GRMN 5410/COML 5660 Early 20th-Century German Society: Vienna and the Jews

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.

GRMN/COML 5803 Ruins of Modernity

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.

GSLL/JWST 3401 The Heart of Europe: Filmmakers & Writers in 20th Century Europe

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.

HEBR/JWST 2350 Introduction to Jewish Culture

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.

HEBR/JWST 2551 Jewish World Literature: Jews Coming of Age

In this course we study the work of Jewish writers in English and in English translation. We look at a broad spectrum of texts that show the ways in which Jewish authors and poets from different places and times speak about the world. We pay attention to questions of secularity and tradition, the experience of diasporic Jews, as exiles and as citizens, the move into modernity and questions of identity raised by the intellectual transitions brought about by political and social emancipation, as well as the enormous changes wrought by the ever-faster momentum of the modern world with its population redistribution, traumatic world-wide wars and rapid cultural transformations, and the creation and experience of living in a new homeland. The course is taught in English, and is approved for the arts and sciences core curriculum of literature and the arts.   

HEBR/JWST 3202 Women, Gender & Sexuality in Judaism

Examines some of the ways Jewish texts and traditions look at women, gender and sexuality from biblical times to the present. Starts with an analysis of the positioning of the body, matter and gender in creation stories, moves on to the gendered aspects of tales of rescue and sacrifice, biblical tales of sexual subversion and power, taboo-breaking and ethnos building, to rabbinic attitudes towards women, sexuality and gender and contemporary renderings and re-readings of the earlier texts and traditions. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: human diversity.

HEBR/JWST 4101 Topics in Hebrew Studies: Radical Jews

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.

HEBR/JWST 4203 Israeli Literature: Exile, Nation, Home

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.

HEBR/JWST 4301 Venice: The Cradle of European Jewish Culture

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.

RUSS/JWST 4401 Russian Jewish Experience

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.

Religious Studies

RLST/JWST 2600 Judaism, Christianity, Islam

Introduces literature, beliefs, practices, and institutions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, in historical perspective. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values.

RLST/JWST 3100 Judaism

Explores Jewish religious experience and its expression in thought, ritual, ethics, and social institutions. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: historical context.

RLST/JWST 4260 Topics in Judaism: Judaism in the Time of Jesus

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.

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST 4260 Topics in Judaism: Love and Desire

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.

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST 4260 Seminar: Women & Jewish Law

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.

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST 4260 Topics in Judaism: God and Politics in Jewish and Christian Thought

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.

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST 4260 Topics in Judaism: The Bible in Judaism and Christianity

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.

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST4260 Topics in Judaism: Taboos and Tribulations: The Ins and Outs of Orthodox Judaism

This course will begin with providing a general understanding of the relatively recent development of Orthodox Judaism. It will provide an historical background for how and why it was formed. The main part of the semester will focus on various "camps" within the Orthodox community. We will explore the areas of collaboration as well as the many different factions under the Orthodox umbrella. We will explore the boundaries and limitations of the community and the various tendencies to either interact or completely cease communication with the global secular community. This will be explored in terms of ideology but also through the lens of hot topics that are currently being debated including biblical criticism, the role of women, and a general struggle over determining who is "in" and who is "out."

RLST 4260/5260 /JWST4260 Topics in Judaism: Is God Dead?

Does it make sense to believe in God, and should believing or not believing in God make a difference for how individuals lead their lives? This course will explore diverse answers to these questions, examining debates surrounding the existence and nature of a higher power in ancient, medieval, and modern sources. We will devote special attention to topics such as the problem of evil, the nature of revelation, and the ethical and political significance of religious belief, considering issues including the status of belief in God in the wake of events such as the Holocaust, the relationship between religious commitments and scientific knowledge, and the implications of belief in God for debates surrounding topics such as violence and sexuality. We will focus primarily on Jewish, Christian, and philosophical sources, while also placing this material in conversation with works drawn from other traditions.

Women's Studies

WMST/JWST 3200 Religion and Feminist Thought

This course examines the origin of patriarchal culture in the theology and practices of Judaism and Christianity. Explores attitudes and beliefs concerning women as Judeo-Christian culture impacts gender roles and gender stratification through reading and discussion. Women's religious experience is studied from the perspective of feminist interpretations of religiosity. Recommended prereq., WMST 2000 or WMST/RLST 2800.

SOCY4000/WMST4010 Gender, Genocide, and Trauma

This course studies the persistence of genocide and the effects of mass trauma on women and girls. Within the framework of political and social catastrophe, the course examines cataclysmic world events and the traumatic consequences for women of religious persecution, colonialism, slavery, and the genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Prereq., SOCY 1016 or WMST 2000 or SOCY 3314.


WRTG 3020 After the Holocaust

“After the Holocaust” serves two masters: as a 3000-level “Topics in Writing” seminar, it fulfills the Arts & Sciences upper division writing requirement; for students in Jewish Studies, “After the Holocaust” contributes to the upper division credits required for the program certificate. “After the Holocaust” is a writers’ workshop, centered on academic analysis and argument, students’ own works in progress become a major text for the course. Workshop presentation, class review and revision allow writers to become aware of—and competent at using—strategies available to writers who enter the ongoing discussion about our complex topic issues using the Holocaust as a starting point.