Near Eastern Studies


Spring 1997

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

291. Topics in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 The Age of Moses and Ramesses.
We shall discover and explore the beginnings of our own Western culture (the invention of the alphabet and spread of literacy, the idea of "progress", etc.) and religion (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), including the Bible, in the period ca. 1300-1200 BC, when the powerful Ramesses II reigned over Egypt and Moses the Egyptian was leader and teacher of a group of Egyptian slaves. We shall examine topics such as, Is the Biblical Moses a historical person?, Did Moses and Joshua really lead slaves out from Egypt?, Was there a Joshua and did he fight the Battle of Jericho? There will be a midterm and a final examination. A primary textbook will be Hershel Shanks, The Rise of Ancient Israel (Biblical Archaeology Society: Washington, DC 1992). Other readings in photocopy will be assigned. (Krahmalkov)

Section 102 Sexuality, the Body, and Christian Thought. Why can't women be priests? Why is sex education objected to the grounds that it will corrupt your youth? Why is virginity in women esteemed, while sexual prowess 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)

Section 103 Before Genesis: Civilization in the Ancient Near East. An exploration of the roots of Western culture. Civilization, characterized by cities, writing, and law, was first developed in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean from 3200 to 1200 BC by Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Minoans. Readings, lectures, and slides present archaeological materials that reveal how these people organized and expressed themselves. Historical readings are augmented by ancient letters, myths, decrees, treaties, and contracts to de-mystify the past and provide a sociological and economic understanding of the world of Gilgamesh, Nefertiti, Tutankhamun, and Odysseus. By comparing ancient civilizations students unravel enigmas such as pyramids, mummies, flood stories, and ziggurats while gaining insight into the nature of states. Classes meet for three hours, twice a week. Students prepare for discussions by reading from two required texts and handouts. Grades are determined by three quizzes worth 60% and a final exam worth 40%. No prior knowledge of antiquity or languages is required. (Monroe)


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

291. Topics in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 101 Baghdad: A Medieval Society.
Approach history in a new way! The goal of this course is for students to study Islamic history in a unique fashion. This course will cover the often ignored aspects of medieval Islamic society. Focusing on the city of Baghdad, students will learn about such topics as medieval city-building, everyday religious practices, Islamic coinage, education, the caliphate, and the arts. In addition to each week being devoted to each of the above topics, subjects such as minorities and women will be addressed. The final session of each week will be devoted to student presentations dealing with an aspect of the topic. Grading will be based on participation (10%), 3 presentations (45%), short book review (25%), and final exam (20%). No prior knowledge of Islamic history/religion is required. Course materials included one course pack and two paperbacks texts. (Hanne)

Section 102 Egyptian Film: Melodrama, Realism, and the Novel. This class introduces students to the Golden Age of Egyptian film, many of which were based on now classic Arabic novels that engaged central social and political issues. The course is interested in the development of literary and film genres that reflect crucial national and social transformations. Moreover, the development and shifts in genre inform us of changing conceptions of nation, society, gender, and class. The class is interested in the various differences in the generic and political effects when a novel is made into a film. Among the texts to be read and viewed are Sharqawi's The Egyptian Earth and Mahfouz's Between Two Palaces. Class requirements are a final exam and a two-page response paper for every text. Novels are read in English and films have subtitles. (Sheehi)


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 survey the historical context: the European Jewish community on the eve of the destruction, and the events leading up to the 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 mediation 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; 6-10 page paper; and a journal. (Nysenholc)




Summer 1997

 

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

121(ABS 120)/Rel. 121. Introduction to the Tanakh/Old Testament. (3). (HU).

This course will survey the content and critical study of the Hebrew Bible. Emphasis will be placed on the historical books, pre-exilic prophecy, and philosophical writings such as Job and Ecclesiastes. Students will be introduced to issues of dating and authorship, textual transmission, historiography, and topics in Ancient Israelite Religion as well as traditional source, form and tradition-historical criticism. Attention will also be paid to modern critical approaches including feminist, Marxist, reader response, and deconstructionist criticisms. Grading will be based upon daily assignments and attendance (30%), a midterm (20%), final (30%) and 6-8 page essay (20%). Papers will cover topics in Ancient Israelite Religion or Literary criticism and will be chosen in conjunction with the instructor. No prerequisites. One textbook and a course pack are required. (Goldstein)

221(ABS 280)/Rel. 280. Jesus and the Gospels. (3). (HU).

Have you ever wondered what we really know about the historical Jesus? To answer this question, we must understand that our knowledge of him comes almost exclusively from one literary source the Gospels. Therefore, much of our search for Jesus must center upon the question of the historical reliability of these gospel portraits. In this course, we will set the career of Jesus into its historical context, and then probe the gospels, including some extra-Biblical sources (e.g., the Gospel of Thomas), as sources for the life and teachings of Jesus, the first century Jew. Thus, the only prerequisite for this course is a genuine curiosity about this prolific figure. The course will be in lecture format, though, questions will be accepted and encouraged throughout. There will be two short (1 hour) unit exams, a final examination, and two short (2-3 page) exegesis papers on individual gospel passages. Cost:1 WL:1 (Sullivan)


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

291. Topics in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Islamic Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 201 Muslim Politics: Islam, Fundamentalism and the Media.
Using a variety of films, and readings this seminar style course shall seek to raise and answer a broad range of questions relating contemporary political Islam. What is the Political Islam? Why has "Islamic fundamentalism" come to dominate the American imaginary of the "enemy"? How has the media effected this representation of the Muslim world? This course will attempt to demystify Muslim fundamentalism and challenge the notion that Muslim politics is a unified, homogenous phenomenon. We will thus move away from the sensationalist and essentialist depictions of a global monolithic and militant Islam on the move, an image created in part as a result of simplistic, often context-free and a historical media representations. We will also discuss why it has become necessary to talk about a variety of Islams, if we are to fully and critically appreciate the political dynamics of a diverse Muslim world. (Jan)

409(Arabic 409). Business Arabic, I. APTIS 102 or 104. (4). (LR).
Section 201 Integrating Language, Culture, and Communications.
This sequence is offered for students and other members of the community who have completed two years of Arabic and wish to continue Arabic study for career and professional purposes. 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 contracts and agreements, commercial 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)

415(Arabic 413). Colloquial Egyptian Arabic, I. APTIS 202 or 405; or permission of instructor. (3). (LR).

This sequence provides extensive oral and communicative practice based on situational dialogues as used by native Egyptian speakers. The basic principles of pronunciation, grammar and functional vocabulary are emphasized through oral and pattern practice drills. The goal is to develop the ability to communicate with native speakers of Egyptian Arabic with some ease. (Farghaly)

416(Arabic 414). Colloquial Egyptian Arabic, II. APTIS 415. (3). (LR).

See APTIS 415. (Farghaly)


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

291. Topics in Hebrew and Judaic Cultural Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 201 A New Approach to Children's Literature.
Children's literature is generally categorized as "books written for children and read by children: Is that true? Are children the ultimate addresses of children's literature? What is the role of the adult reader in the literary discourse? The lecture/discussion course will begin by presenting existing theoretical conceptions of children's literature. The course will then introduce an alternative approach while focusing on satires and exploring the works of two prominent Israeli authors: Efraim Sidon & Meir Shalev and illustrations by Yossi Abolafia. These works will be compare to works by Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. Readings will include a wide selection of recent scholarly works on children's literature and translated Israeli children's books. Appropriate for all class levels interested in children literature (Israeli and American), contemporary and comparative literature. The course requirements include three essays (3-5pp) and a final paper. (Sacerdoti)


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