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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Fall 2002 Courses


JS 169: The Arab-Israeli Conflict
JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Jews of the Americas: Comparative Perspectives
JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society
JS 205: Biblical Literature
JS 205: Biblical Literature
JS 352S: Religion and Gender: Gender and Judaism
JS 354SWR: The Ethics of Judaism
JS 370: Topics in Jewish Religion and Culture: The Works of Maimonides
JS 495RWR: Honors Thesis
JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies


JS 169: The Arab-Israeli Conflict (same as POLS 169 & HIST 169)
MWF 9:35-10:25, MAX: 30/45/45

Content: This is an introductory survey course to the history, politics, and diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The first half of the course will deal with the historical, ideological, and soical origins of the conflict to 1948-49. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the composition of Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine and their interaction with the British. The second half of the course focuses on political, social, economic, and diplomatic aspects of the conflict, including the evolution and development of Palestinian national identity, the 1956, 1967, and 1973 Middle Eastern wars, and various diplomatic efforts, especially those of the United States, aimed at resolving the conflict. Reading, discussing, and analyzing documents related to the conflict's 100-year history is a central feature of the course.


  • Bickerton, Ian, and Carla Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, New York: Prentice Hall, 4th Edition, 2002.
  • Quandt, William B, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967, Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution, 2001.
  • Segev, Tom, One Palestine: Complete Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000.
  • Stein, Kenneth W., Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, New York: Routledge, 1999.
  • Stein, Kenneth W. and Samuel W. Lewis, Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis: Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience, Washington, DC: U.S. Institute of Peace, 1991. (To be distributed by the professor)
  • A documents book must be also purchased. It will be distributed by the professor at the beginning of the semester.


Grading - Midterm (30%), discussion (20%), and final (50%). Students will be expected to attend three lectures and one discussion session per week.

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JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Jews of the Americas: Comparative Perspectives (same as HIST 190, LACS 190)
Wed 2:00-4:00 , MAX: 3/6/3

Content:   This course examines the immigration and settlement of Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews throughout the Americas through a number of different lenses. We will begin by taking a broad view of the Jewish historical experience, with discussions and assignments designed to foster historical thinking, familiarize students with the background to Jewish life in the Americas, and introduce them to the basic methodological concerns of studying immigrant communities. We will then focus in more specifically on Jewish life in North and South America, paying close attention to variations within and between countries as well as to relations between Jews and other ethnic groups. Jewish experiences in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, and the United States will be examined through studies of gender, economics, religion, and culture. In each of these areas, we will use comparison to reveal the breadth and diversity of the immigrant experience.

Texts: Most of the readings will be made available on e-reserve via EUCLID, although there will be three texts which should be purchased at the Emory bookstore: Raymond Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People; Alfred Uhry, The Last Night of Ballyhoo; and Jacob Timerman, Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.

Course Requirements: Class participation is essential to your grade and consists of regular attendance, timely completion of all coursework, willingness to volunteer and respond when called on, and reading response papers aloud in class. Students will be asked to complete weekly short essays that respond to the questions assigned for each meeting. You will also be responsible for working in groups to complete a final project that will entail interviewing individuals from both the United States and Latin American and presenting the results on a specially-designed website. This course fulfills General Education requirement I.C. (Freshman Seminar).

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JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Current Issues in Israeli Politics and Society (Same as CPLT 190 and MES 190)
TTh, 2:30-3:45, MAX: 9/9

Content: Israel has been facing continuous turmoil in the last year. This situation has caused rapid changes in Israeli politics and society. This course examines in depth current issues facing Israeli society from the center to the margin. Topics range from divisions in Israeli society, consensus in the society, Arabs in Israel, Mizrahim in Israeli society, the Arab/Israeli conflict, foreign workers in Tel Aviv, women in Israel, current state and local politics and more. Students will read scholarly materials but will also regularly read printed Israeli press in English and will keep a journal. Classes will be devoted to specific topics, however, current issues will be dealt with regularly. Class discussions are the main mode of instruction.

Texts: TBA

Particulars: TBA

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JS 205: Biblical Literature
Buss, TTh 10-11:15 (same as REL 205), MAX: 15/15

Content: In this course, we will seek to understand the dynamics of various parts of the Jewish Bible, called "Old Testament" by Christians. This will involve questions such as the following: What is said? How is it said? What appears to be the aim? Insofar as there can be disagreement in regard to these questions, we will look at different answers, both as they have been given by others and as they are presented by members of the class.

Texts: The New Oxford Annotated Bible (The New Revised Version with the Apocrypha & a course pack).

Particulars: The course fulfills General Education Requirement IV.A (Humanities). Students will bring to each class an analysis of the text studied and will be ready to discuss their analysis orally in class. Two of the analyses are to be written up formally in about five pages. Students who have to miss class can turn their analysis into a short paper and discuss it at an individual conference (which will normally cover two to three such papers covering the topics of two or three missed classes). There will be a midterm and a final.


JS 205: Biblical Literature (same as REL 205)
MWF 10:40-11:30, MAX: 15/15

Content: This course provides an introduction to the anthology of Hebrew texts that have the status of sacred scripture in Judaism and constitute the "Old Testament" of Christian Bibles. Students will learn how the texts were composed, collected together, and read in their earliest historical settings. They will also study reflections and interpretations of the texts in ancient Jewish writings and the Christian New Testament, and will explore ways of reading the texts in modern contexts. Priority will be given to understanding how the Bible has been read and understood in different times and places. Students will be expected to engage in close and careful reading of the texts and to reflect actively on their reading activity. Prior study of the Bible is not a requirement for taking this course, and no particular religious commitments or beliefs about the Bible as assumed or required What is required is openness to new and different ideas, and a willingness to engage in disciplined reading of the biblical texts.

[This introductory course is intended primarily for freshmen and sophomores, who have pre-registration priority; junior and senior students may register for any available spaces following "froshmore" pre-registration during the Drop/Add periods Apr.17-Aug. 23 and Aug. 30-Sept. 3.]

Texts: The New Oxford Annotated Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha (Third Edition)

Particulars: This course fulfills General Education Requirement IV.A (Humanities). Students will make regular entries to an on-line Learning Journal; there will be tow short (5 pages) writing assignments, a mid-term, and a final examination. Careful preparation and active participation in class discussions (including on-line discussions in the course Learnlink site) are required.

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JS 352S: Religion and Gender: Gender and Judaism (same as REL 352RS, WS 352RS)
, M 2:00-3:40, W 2:00-2:50 MAX: 10/10/5

Content: In this course we will examine a variety of Jewish answers to questions about what it means to be male and female, and the roles, statuses, and religious and social obligations and privileges that are based on these gender identities. The course is historical in orientation. We will trace the development and consolidation of what are commonly termed "traditional" conceptions of male and female identity and status, and will also consider how these conceptions have been challenged and reconstructed, with special attention to modern Jewish feminism(s) and the perspectives of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender ("queer") Jews.

The primary goal of the course is to provide access to a variety of perspectives on the issues, and some of the resources for critically evaluating and understanding these perspectives. More generally, the course provides an opportunity to think through questions about gender identities and roles, and their relationships to religious thought and practice. The course should be of interest to Jews and non-Jews, women and men. Some previous study/knowledge of Judaism will be helpful, but is not a prerequisite.

Texts: Readings will be drawn from the following works:

  • Carol Meyers, Discovering Eve: Ancient Israelite Women in Context (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988)
  • Judith Hauptman, Rereading the Rabbis: A Woman's Voice (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1998)
  • Miriam Peskowitz, Spinning Fantasies: Rabbis, Gender, and History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
  • Daniel Boyarin, Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993)
  • Daniel Boyarin, Unheroic Conduct: The Rise of Heterosexuality and the Invention of the Jewish Man (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997)
  • Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1990)
  • Miriam Peskowitz and Laura Levitt, eds., Judaism Since Gender (New York: Routledge, 1997)
  • Blu Greenberg, On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1981)
  • Lynn Davidman, Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991)
  • Pamela S. Nadell and Jonathan D. Sarna, eds., Women and American Judaism: Historical Perspectives (Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 2001)

Particulars: This course combines lectures with seminar discussion. Regular attendance, careful preparation, and active participation will be expected of all students. Written work: book review; research report; regular on-line journal entries. The course will have a Learnlink site and students will be expected to contribute regularly to on-line discussions.

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JS 354SWR: The Ethics of Judaism (same as REL 354SWR)
, MWF 12:50-1:40, MAX: 8/10

Content: As a discipline, ethics is the way one analyzes a situation and reaches a conclusion as to what one should do. As such, ethics must be done from within a particular tradition, maintaining certain assumptions and following unique patterns of thought. This course is meant to introduce the student to what ethical discourse is like in the Jewish tradition: what sources are used, how arguments are constructed, and how one weighs competing arguments. Through the analysis done largely in class, students will learn the skills involved in doing Jewish ethics, and actively participate in the process. Topics to be discussed are social ethics, such as lying and self-sacrifice, and sexual ethics. A final paper on medical ethics is the student's own attempt at writing Jewish.

Texts : Sourcebooks of primary texts (in translation), available at the department office.

Particulars : Two in-class exams and a final paper on a topic approved by the instructor. One special project done in groups. Active participation in class is crucial, and is part of the grade.

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JS 370: Topics in Jewish Religion and Culture: The Works of Maimonides (same as REL 210S)
TTh 2:30-3:45, MAX: 5/13

Content: Theologian, philosopher, and legal codifier Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), asked the question: Is traditional Judaism consistent with the dictates of reason and philosophy? His answer: Yes, and I can prove it! In this course, we will explore how Maimonides (also known as the Rambam) sought to answer this question, by examining exerpts from the vast corpus of his work, particularly his monumental legal code - Mishneh Torah - and his philosophical masterpiece The Guide of the Perplexed. We will also look at some of the influences that affected Maimonides' thinking - i.e. rabbinic Judaism, Greek philosophy, medieval Islamic philosophy - as well as the historical context, in order to better understand his work. Students will be expected to critically analyze Maimonides' thought, and evaluate its relevance to contemporary dilemmas of religious belief and faith.

Texts: may include selections from: Mishneh Torah, The Guide of the Perplexed (trans. Shlomo Pines, Univ of Chicago Press) A Maimonides Reader (Isadore Twersky), The Teachings of Maimonides (Jacob Minkin,) A History of Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Isaac Husik), Maimonides: A Guide for Today's Perplexed (Kenneth Seeskin), Jewish People, Jewish Thought (Robert Seltzer), Maimonides: Torah and Philosophical Quest (David Hartman), Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (Isadore Twersky)

Particulars: In addition to regular attendance, class participation, and regular reading assignments, this course requires short analytic essays and critical reflection papers, as well as a mid-term exam and a final exam.

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JS 495: Honors Thesis
Time: TBA

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JS 497R: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies
Time: TBA

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Undergraduates may also take graduate courses.

For information on the JEWISH STUDIES MAJOR, go to: Undergraduate Programs in JS

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