Near Eastern Studies


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

100(GNE 100/101)/APTIS 100/ACABS 100/Hist. 132. Peoples of the Middle East. (4). (HU).
See APTIS 100.
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102(Hebrew 202). Elementary Modern Hebrew, II. HJCS 101. (5). (LR).
Continuation of the development of basic communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking modern standard Hebrew. Class drills, class discussions in Hebrew, language laboratory drills.
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202(Hebrew 302). Intermediate Modern Hebrew, II. HJCS 201. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Hebrew 312. (5). (LR).
The focus of instruction will be on the four language skills with a continued emphasis on oral work and writing. In addition to continued study of morphology and syntax, some readings selections in fiction and non-fiction prose will be introduced. Cost:1 WL:3
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270/Judaic Studies 270. Introduction to Rabbinic Literature. (3). (HU).
For about 2,000 years, up to the eighteenth century in Europe and to the twentieth in Africa and Asia, the vast majority of Jews lived according to religious law (halacha). This is still the way of life of many Jews. It is based on the "oral law," which is an elaboration and interpretation of the Mosaic law. The course surveys the character and development of the oral law, beginning with the activities of Anshei Knesset Hagdolah (Men of the Great Assembly), the Sanhedrin and the Hillel Patriachate. We examine the literary forms, composition and redaction of the Mishna, Tosefta, Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, and the Midrashei Halacha and Aggada. The course will go beyond the "classical" rabbinic period and examine the rabbinic schools (yeshivot) and major rabbinic authorities in their geographical and historical settings. Cost:1 (Steinfeld)
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302(Hebrew 402). Advanced Hebrew, II. HJCS 301. (3). (Excl).
This course is a continuation of the Hebrew sequence comprising the second term of the third year Hebrew class. (Participation in Hebrew 301 offered in the previous term is not required if the student is at the advanced level.) The focus will be on developing proficiency in all five languages skills. Student participation is an essential part of the course. Readings will include short works of fiction as well as journalistic pieces. This will be supplemented by other media including music, video, recordings, readings, etc. Students' grades will be determined on the basic of assignments, participation (including in-class presentations), and a final exam. Cost:1 WL:3 (Bernstein)
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373(Hebrew 373)/Judaic Studies 373. Israeli Culture and Society. (3). (SS).
Israel as a newborn nation-state offers us the opportunity to study a culture in formation, a culture formed from both indigenous Middle Eastern elements and the contributions of immigrants from Jewish communities from all over the world. Attention will be focused on the different bases of Israeli identity which give rise to a society defined by its cleavages, and the resultant tensions arising within such a society. The analysis will include a consideration of the ways in which the particular and peculiar history of the state of Israel are reflected in the national culture. The course will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach encompassing historical, sociological, literary, and cultural studies. In addition to the reading of both primary and secondary sources, films (both documentary and belletristic) will be shown. Requirements for the course include compilation of dialectical journal and a paper. Cost:2 WL:3 (Bernstein)
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379(GNE 469)/Judaic Studies 379. Jewish Civilization. (4). (SS).
Lectures on topics in Jewish Intellectual History, with class discussion based on selected assignments. Some of the topics are: Monotheism, Law, Messianism, Mysticism, Language and Literature; Sabbath and the Festivals, Sacrifice and Prayer. Students are evaluated on the basis of two exams. Cost:2 WL:3 or 4 (Schramm)
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402(Hebrew 404). Hebrew of the Communications Media, II. HJCS 202. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 Advanced Modern Hebrew.
Emphasis is on reading and listening and viewing comprehension. There is a particular emphasis on the expansion of vocabulary in the domain of current events and the development of discussion skills. Course materials are based on the social genre of the communications media (newspapers and television). Unedited newspaper selections will be read, and news broadcasts and television programs will be used in the class in the language laboratory. Grades will be based on two exams and special projects. (Coffin)
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478(GNE 468)/Judaic Studies 468/Rel. 469. Jewish Mysticism. (3). (Excl).
A study of the historical development of Jewish mysticism, its symbolic universe, meditational practices, and social ramifications. While we will survey mystical traditions from the late second Temple period through modernity, the central focus will be on the rich medieval stream known as kabbalah. Among the issues to be explored are: the nature of mystical experience; images of God, world, and Person; sexual and gender symbolism (images of the male and female); the problem of evil; mysticism, language, and silence; mysticism and the law; mysticism and community; meditative and ecstatic practices (ranging from visualization to chant, letter combination, and modulated breathing); kabbalistic myth and ritual innovation; and kabbalistic interpretations of history. Modern interpretations of mysticism will also be considered. Readings for the course consist of secondary sources from the history of Judaism and comparative religion, and selected primary texts (in translation). Requirements include two exams and a research paper. Class lectures will be supplemented by discussion, and on occasion, music and other media. Cost:3 WL:1 (Ginsburg)
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545(Hebrew 543). Medieval Jewish Literature. HJCS 302. (3). (Excl).
Readings of medieval genres, including secular and liturgical poetry, the romance, and prose narratives. Discussions will center on literacy innovations and the role of medieval Hebrew literature within the context of the history of Western European literature. A term paper and a seminar report is a course requirement. Cost:1 (Schramm)
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572(Hebrew 552). Israeli Literature, II. HJCS 302. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of six credits.
This course is run on a seminar basis and is based on a selection of contemporary Israeli works of fiction, films, and plays. Emphasis is on readings, discussion, and analyses. Contemporary short stories, novels, poems, and plays serve as the basis for discussion. Grades will be based on written and oral assignments and two examinations. Advanced knowledge of Hebrew is required for the course. The theme for this term is: "Sefer va-seret: Book and Film." (Coffin)
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577(GNE 467)/Judaic Studies 467/Relig. 471. Seminar: Topics in the Study of Judaism. (3). (Excl). May be repeated for a total of 9 credits.
Section 001- Between Contemplation and Ecstasy: Hasidic Teachings on the Spiritual Path. Prerequisite: Reading knowledge of Hebrew or consent of instructor.
Of all movements in Jewish mysticism, perhaps none has a richer set of mystical practices and teachings than Eastern European Hasidism. The focus will be on the meditative and ecstatic elements in Hasidism. We will sample some classics of early Hasidic literature: ranging from the God-intoxicated teachings attributed to the Baal Shem Tov, to the complex theologies of the Maggid of Mezritch and Nahman of Bratslav, who held that the broken heart is also the open heart. In the closing weeks of the course, we will focus on the Sefat Emet, surely one of the most important works of Jewish spirituality in the last hundred years. Original Hebrew texts will be provided, although English will be the language of discussion. The reading load will not be extensive, but will aim at depth of understanding. Supplementary music. Cost:2 (Ginsburg)
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591. Topics in Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies. (3). (Excl).
Section 001 The Cycle of the Jewish Year.
The historic, ritual, and religious nature of the Jewish calendar is the focus of this course. It deals with selected subjects from the laws of the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Passover, Yom Haatzmaut, fasts, etc. Textual study is emphasized: Mishna, Talmud, Codes, commentaries, and rabbinic literature. Some knowledge of Jewish traditions is advisable, though not mandatory. (Steinfeld)
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