Near Eastern Studies

Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies (ACABS) (Division 314)

281(GNE 260). Ancient Egypt and its World. (3). (HU).

The course is an undergraduate survey of the culture of ancient Egypt, focusing on Egyptian religion (the gods and their cults, life after death, mummification, etc.), ways of thinking (practical wisdom and elevated philosophy), basic institutions (the kingship, the priesthood, etc.), literature, and science. The student will be taught the elements of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, how it was deciphered and the derivation of our own alphabet from it. Throughout, special attention will be given to a comparison of Egyptian ideas, values and religious thought to our own with open-ended class discussion. There is a midterm (40% of grade) and final exam (60% of grade) and an optional 10-page paper at term's end. Three textbooks, all paperbacks, are compulsory. (Krahmalkov)

291. Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 The Origins of Writing in the Middle East.
Societies develop writing for many reasons, but writing fundamentally alters societies that use it. This course considers the development of writing in four Middle Eastern contexts (Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Aegean, and Syro-Palestine) as well as evaluating comparative cases among the Maya and in China. It begins with some general theories of the evolution of writing and its effects. In each case study including hieroglyphic, cuneiform, Linear B, and alphabetic writing we will discuss the political and social context within which writing developed, the writing system itself, and its uses in ideology, ritual, administration, control, and surveillance. We will also learn about the basic structure of these writing systems by reading sample texts. Finally, we will consider how the development of writing altered the societies that used it. Understanding the role of writing in ancient societies gives us perspective on its function in modern societies. (Emberling)

Section 102 Sexuality, the Body, and Christian Thought. Why can't women be priests? Why is sex education objected to on the grounds that it will corrupt our youth? Why is virginity in women esteemed, while sexual prowess is praised in men? Attitudes towards sexuality and the body today are largely the consequence of the first four hundred years of Christian Thought, the time period known as the Formative Period. We will study the development of these attitudes in many varieties of early Christianity, learning about Syrian movements which forbade marriage, Gnostic teachings, the emergence of martyrdom, and the beginnings of monasticism. We will end with Augustine's doctrine of Original Sin and his view of sexuality. Be prepared to read and analyze a wide array of early Christian literature including some New Testament texts, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, the Acts of Paul and Thecla, the Life of Saint Anthony, and parts of the City of God. We will also be reviewing two recent releases on the subject: Torjesen, When Women Were Priests, and Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Peter Brown's volume, The Body and Society, will be used as the basis for the course. Evaluation will be based on class participation, in-class projects, two short book reviews, and a final project. (DeConick)

Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Islamic Studies (APTIS) (Division 325)

291. Topics in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 Muhammad and the Islamic Conquests.
This course offers a comprehensive introduction to early Islamic history, from the birth of Muhammad (c. 570 AD) to the founding of Baghdad (763 AD). Lectures and readings will discuss the impact of Islam, the conflicts in the early community, and the difficulties encountered in studying this period. The course begins with an introduction to pre-Islamic Arabia and the Sassanian and Byzantine empires, followed by the life of Muhammad, the conquests of the early caliphs, the reign of the Umayyads, and the immediate impact of the 'Abbasid revolution. Topical discussions on Islamic religion and civilization will be inserted where appropriate. Topics will include: the problem of sources in Islamic history; Islamic religion, theology, and law; Islamic high culture and literature; and the status of women and minorities. Students will be evaluated on the basis of two exams and a short paper. No previous study of the Middle East is required. (Judd)

Section 102 Iran Beyond Controversy: What Are the Real Issues? The course will examine some of the fundamental values, structures, and social processes underlying the Iranian society to develop an awareness beyond the controversial issues that have surrounded this country in recent years. The emphasis will be on the cultural, socio-economical, and political issues that led to the 1979 revolution and the changes that this revolution brought to their society. (Talattof)

409(Arabic 409). Business Arabic, I. APTIS 102 or 104. (4). (LR).

This sequence is offered for students and other members of the community who have completed a beginning Arabic course and wish to continue Arabic study for career and professional purposes. The course focuses on language functions pertinent to travel and business transactions through authentic dialogues and texts supported by audio and video cassettes. Daily class activities involve extensive oral and written practice including group interactions and role playing. The first part of the course focuses on topics related to the basic communication needs of travelers and business people and general information on Arab countries. The second part includes topics such as business customs and practice, commercial advertisements, business correspondence, business negotiations, commercial and economic reports, etc. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to perform well in a variety of situations, both social and business. (Rammuny)

410(Arabic 509). Business Arabic, II. APTIS 409. (4). (LR).

See APTIS 409. (Rammuny)

417(Arabic 415). Colloquial Levantine Arabic, I. APTIS 202 or 403. (3). (LR).

This sequence provides extensive oral and communicative practice based on situational dialogues as used by native speakers in Jerusalem, Amman, Damascus, and Beirut. In the first part, the basic principles of pronunciation, grammar, and functional vocabulary are emphasized through oral and pattern practice drills. Then emphasis shifts to practical uses of the dialect through interactive communicative tasks involving teacher-student, student-student, and group exchanges. There is special focus on cultural and social conventions. The goal is to develop the ability to communicate with native speakers of Levantive Arabic with some ease. No prior knowledge of Arabic is required. (Rammuny)

418(Arabic 416). Colloquial Levantine Arabic, II. APTIS 417. (3). (LR).

See APTIS 417. (Rammuny)

Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies (HJCS) (Division 389)

296/Judaic Studies 296/Rel. 296. Perspectives on the Holocaust. (3). (HU).

A study of the Holocaust as a historical event and its impact on Jewish thought and culture. We will first focus on the historical context: the European Jewish community on the eve of the destruction, and the events leading up to and culminating in that destruction. We will then focus on inner Jewish reactions to the Holocaust, and broader philosophical and ethical implications. We ask: what are the problems (moral, emotional, conceptual) in reading and writing about the Holocaust for those of us who come "after"? The course is also a meditation on visions of the Other, on ethnic-religious hatred, tolerance, and healing. Memoirs, poetry, fiction, psychological literature, as well as theology, music, film, and architecture will be treated as sources for exploration. Lecture-discussion format. Take-home midterm; final exam; 6-10 page paper; and a journal. (Ginsburg)


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