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Undergraduate Program





Course Offerings


Undergraduate Fall 2006 Courses


JS 100: Survey of Jewish History
JS 125: Introduction to Jewish Literature
JS 169: The Arab-Israeli Conflict
JS 190: Freshman Seminar: Suffering, Healing and Redemption
JS 230: Yiddish Culture: From the Shtetl to the Lower East Side
JS 242: American Jewish History
JS 250S: Introduction to Biblical Archaeology
JS 300: Methods in Jewish Studies
JS 308: Judaism
JS 370: Visions and Divisions: An Introduction to Israeli Society
JS 370R: Readings in Judeo-Arabic Text

JS 371: The Ethnic Experience in America
JS 490SWR: Jews of the American South
JS 495: Honors Thesis
JS 497: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies
Hebrew and Yiddish


JS 100-000: Survey of Jewish History (same as HIST 270-000)
Davis, MWF 2:00-2:50, MAX: 40

Course description: This course offers an introduction to the history of the Jewish people, from Biblical to modern times. We will examine how Jews have defined themselves socially and politically in a number of historical and geographical settings, as well as how Jewish cultural and religious practices have been shaped and transformed over time. We will follow two central themes in Jewish history: 1) The ways in which Jewish social and religious practices have facilitated continuities from one historical period to the next and from place to place; and 2) how Jewish life has changed over time, and different types of Jewish societies have emerged in different eras and locations, often as a result of interacting with non-Jewish cultures. These two themes seem to be in direct contradiction to one another, but are both critical aspects of the Jewish historical experience. Exploring them in a variety of settings will help us to better understand how Judaism and Jewish culture, as we currently understand them, came to be.


  • Eli Barnavi, ed., A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People
  • Rose Cohen, Out of the Shadow
  • Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
  • Jacob R. Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World
  • Jehuda Reinharz and Paul Mendes-Flohr, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History
  • Raymond Scheindlin, A Short History of the Jewish People

Particulars: Students are not expected to have any religious background or religious training in order to take this course. First exam (20%), second exam (30%), final exam (40%), weekly quizzes (10%) of grade.


JS 125-000: Introduction to Jewish Literature (same as MESAS 125-000)
Yeglin, MW 3:00-4:15, MAX: 25 (20 MES, 5 JS)

Course description: This course is based on readings in major works of Jewish literature from Biblical narrative to Hebrew and Yiddish stories. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the breadth and depth of the Jewish literary traditions. After a grounding in Biblical history and narrative we will move to the Jewish experience in pre-modern Europe and the flowering of Yiddish and Hebrew literature. We will also investigate the relationship between literature and social issues, especially in the realm of family relations.


  • Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures
  • A Treasury of Yiddish Stories
  • The Penguin Book of Hebrew Verse
  • Modern Hebrew Literature
  • Legends of the Bible
  • The Oxford Book of Hebrew Short Stories

Particulars: Two-page response due each Tuesday, 3 quizzes, one research paper.

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JS 169-000/001/002: The Arab-Israeli Conflict (same as HIST 169-000/001/002, POLS 169-000/001/002)
Stein, MWF 9:35-10:25 & MWF 10:40-11:30, MAX: 135 (45 HIST, 45 JS, 45 POLS)

Course description: This is an introductory survey to the history, politics, and diplomacy of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The first half of the course will deal with the historical, ideological, and social origins of the conflict to 1948-49. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the composition of Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine, the respective political culture of both, and their interaction with the British Mandatory power. 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, and the 1956, 1967, and 1973 Middle Eastern wars. A significant portion of the course is spent in understanding the successes and constraints in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, especially those diplomatic efforts led by the United States. The relationship of European, Arab states, and diaspora supporters to the sides of the conflict are reviewed in detail. Finally, discussing, and analyzing documents related to the conflict's 100-year history is a central feature of the course.



  • Bickerton and Klausner, A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict
  • Quandt, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1967
  • Stein, Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace
  • Stein, Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis: Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience
  • A documents book must be purchased. It will be distributed by the professor at the beginning of the semester.

Particulars: Grading: midterm (30%), discussion (20%), and final (50%). Students will be expected to attend three lectures per week and participate actively in one discussion session. This course is intended as an introduction to the Arab-Israeli Conflict; freshmen and sophomores are especially encouraged to enroll in this course.

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JS 190-000: Freshman Seminar: Suffering, Healing and Redemption: A Cross-Cultural and Interdisciplinary View (same as REL 190-001)
Seeman, TTh 1:00-2:15, MAX: 18 (13 REL, 5 JS)

Course description: This Freshman Seminar explores the nature of suffering that underlies the human condition and the different responses to suffering or evil that religious and cultural traditions have tried to offer. We will start by comparing classical Greek, Jewish and Buddhist texts that outline radically different approaches to a problem they all recognize, and then move on to consider literature from the Holocaust, ethnographic accounts of illness, suffering and healing in different cultures, and first hand accounts of contemporary man-made and natural disasters, like the genocide in Rwanda, or the AIDS pandemic. How do human beings find healing or transcendence in the face of implacable fate, and how does our response to suffering stand at the very heart of different choices in contemporary politics, morality and religion? Should suffering be described as sickness or as evil, especially when it is man-made? We will be asking these and other “big questions” while also gaining familiarity with different research disciplines as well as different religious and cultural traditions. Students are requested to bring minds and hearts.



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JS 230-000: Yiddish Culture: From the Shtetl to the Lower East Side (same as GER 230-000)
Miller, TTh 11:30-12:45, MAX 50 (35 JS, 15 GER)

Course description: This course will offer a broad introduction to the subject of Yiddish culture. Utilizing both primary and secondary sources, we will examine the scope and depth of this subject from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will examine texts from a host of fields including sociology, anthropology, literature, history, folklore, theater and film. Yiddish has a rich and diverse history, dating back to its inception in the eleventh century. We will analyze the development of this culture and trace its path from its origins in Europe to its various manifestations in countries where Eastern European immigrants settled. All course materials are in English. No knowledge of Yiddish is required. This course satisfies G.E.R. VC.

Texts: Reading material will be available on reserve.

Particulars: Students are expected to attend class on a regular basis. There will be two five-page papers (50%) and a final essay (50%).

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JS 242-000: American Jewish History (same as HIST 242-000)
Goldstein, MWF 10:40-11:30, MAX 50 (25 JS, 25 HIST)

Course description: This course is a survey of the Jewish experience in America, examining the religious, cultural, political and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore how Jewish tradition has adapted to and been challenged by the American setting, how patterns of communal life have been reshaped, what the relationship of Jews has been to other Americans and to the international Jewish community, and how American Jewish identities have been created from Jews' dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness.


  • Sarna, Jonathan D. [ed.], The American Jewish Experience
  • Cohen, Rose, Out of the Shadow: A Russian Jewish Girlhood on the Lower East Side
  • Heilman, Samuel, Portrait of American Jews: Last Half of the Twentieth Century
  • Schiffman, Lisa, Generation J
  • A number of articles on reserve

Particulars: Class sections will combine lecture and discussions that emphasize the close reading of primary sources. There will be a mid-term, a final, regular short homework assignments and one longer writing assignment (5-7 pages) in which students will analyze a primary source of their choice. This course satisfies area V.A of the General Education Requirements (United States History).

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JS 250S-000: Introduction to Biblical Archaeology (same as MES 250S-000)
Borowski, TTh 10:00-11:30, MAX 18 (8 JS, 10 MES)

Course description: An introduction to the field of Biblical Archaeology with careful examination of theory and methodology. The famous discoveries (inscriptions,architecture) and important sites (Megiddo, Hazor, Gezer, Dan) which form the historical background to some of the biblical stories will be examined as wellas issues and topics such as the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob), Exodus (Moses,) and settlement of Canaan (Joshua), the kings of Israel and Judah, and more. Other topics that will be studied include daily life, religion and ancient art. There will be a few early evening video screenings on related topics. This course is a survey of the Jewish experience in America, examining the religious, cultural, political and economic activities of American Jews from the colonial period to the present. Students will explore how Jewish tradition has adapted to and been challenged by the American setting, how patterns of communal life have been reshaped, what the relationship of Jews has been to other Americans and to the international Jewish community, and how American Jewish identities have been created from Jews' dual impulses for integration and distinctiveness.


  • Rast, Walter E., Through the Ages in Palestinian Archaeology (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1992)
  • May, H.G., Oxford Bible Atlas (New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 3rd edition)
  • The Bible (recommended Oxford Study Bible)
  • Course packet

Particulars: Weekly reports (35%), 2 papers (25% + 15%), oral reports (25%). This course fulfills Area V.C. of the G.E.R. Open only to freshmen.

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JS 300-000: Methods in Jewish Studies
Blumenthal, M 2:00-5:00, MAX: 15

Course description: Jewish Studies is a data field; it is not a discipline. Hence, Jewish Studies can be, and is, studied in many disciplines. This course is intended to display various methods for studying the data of Jewish studies: historical, philological, exegetical, literary, theological, feminist, artistic, legal, and social scientific. We will, therefore, begin by examining several texts through which to demonstrate these methods, with special attention to the Akeda (Genesis 22). This will be followed by an orientation in library sources. The main part of the course will be devoted to reading in each of the methods and applying the basic tools of that discipline to various texts. At the end, we will reconsider what we have done and, then, apply our learning to a topic for a final paper. Students completing this course will have a good idea of the range of methods in Jewish studies and those wishing to go on to doctoral work will be able to intelligently choose one of these disciplines.


  • The Tanakh and translation
  • Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest
  • Spiegel, The Last Trial
  • Peskowitz and Levitt, Judaism Since Gender
  • Trible, Texts of Terror
  • Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai
  • Woocher, Sacred Survival
  • Adler, Engendering Judaism

Particulars: Grading will be based on class participation and a final paper. We will have several guest discussants who will use part of the period.

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JS 308-000: Judaism (same as REL 308-000)
Gilders, TTh 10:00-11:15, MAX: 20 (15 REL, 5 JS)

Course description: In this course, Judaism—the religion of the Jews—will be studied from an historical perspective that emphasizes the growth and evolution of Judaism through time in various social, cultural, and political settings. We will analyze the history and development of the life and year cycles, ritual practice and liturgy, and major beliefs and theological concepts, including God, Israel, revelation, redemption, suffering, and reward and punishment. The course will focus on the development of ‘classical’ pre-Modern Judaism from its roots in ancient Israel to the late Middle Ages in the Christian and Islamic worlds. However, at the beginning and end of the course, some attention will be given to modern expressions of the Jewish tradition (especially those encountered in the United States and Israel). Students with a special interest in modern Judaism should take JS/REL309 (Modernization of Judaism) instead of or in addition to this course.


  • Jewish Publication Society Tanakh
  • The Complete ArtScroll Siddur (Weekday/ Sabbath/ Festival)
  • an historical survey of Judaism (to be announced)

Particulars: Regular and punctual attendance, careful preparation, and active participation in class discussion will be essential to success in this course. Graded work will consist of a short “mid-term” paper (1800 words, approx.) and an end-of-term research paper (3500 words, approx.). There will also be some homework exercises to hand in, some graded in-class writing, and a few quizzes (scheduled and “pop”), but no tests or examinations.

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JS 370-000: Visions and Divisions: An Introduction to Israeli Society (same as SOC 389-002)
Feige, TTH 2:30-3:45, MAX: 40 (JS 20, SOC 20)

Course description: Built on the premises of Zionist ideology, Israeli state and society has to encounter to this day issues of inner and outer conflicts, multiple identity options and social divisions, some focused on the right way to define the national collective. This course will explore processes of identity formation in Israel, concentrating of the ideology, characteristics and social position of major social groups, such as the early Israeli pioneers, the second generation “Sabre”, and various religious,national and ethnic groups. The effects of gender identity and of the protracted conflict on forming an Israeli sense of self shall also be discussed. The course portrays the historical development of “Israeliness” through the state years, and reaches issues concerning contemporary Israeli society.


  • TBA

Particulars: TBA.

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JS 370R-00P: Readings in Judeo-Arabic Text (same as MES 370R-00P)
Hary, Tu 4:00-7:00, MAX: 10 (JS 5, MES 5)

Course description: This course is designed to introduce students to Judeo-Arabic, which has been written and spoken in various forms by Jews throughout the Arabic-speaking world. We will examine sociolinguistic issues of Judeo-Arabic, including terminology, periodization, orthographic issues and the sociolinguistic setting of the ‘religiolect’ within Arabic in general. One of the most important genres of the language is the sharh – literal translation of sacred texts from Hebrew into Judeo-Arabic. We will mostly read shrah texts and typically from Egypt. These texts are a rare window on the history of Arabic and its spoken dialects, since they preserve distinctive dialectal features of usage and pronunciation not found in classical Arabic texts. They are also a major source for understanding translation issues and issues of religious identity among Egyptian Jews.


  • Students will read the texts in the original language, from the original manuscripts (reproduced digitally or on microfilm). We will also read short selections of secondary works on Judeo-Arabic language and linguistics and translation issues.

Particulars: Requirements include weekly preparation of texts and one research paper consisting of a scholarly edition of an unpublished manuscript. This course is recommended for anyone with a strong interest in Arabic and its historical development. Undergraduates and graduate students interested in sacred texts (Bible, liturgical texts such as Passover Haggadah, etc.) are also welcome. Five semesters of Arabic is a prerequisite. (Familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet is not a prerequisite).

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JS 371-000: The Ethnic Experience in America (same as HIST 348-000 and AMST 348-000)
Davis, Time: MWF 11:45 a.m.-12:35 p.m., MAX: 30 (JS 5, AMST 5, HIST 20)

Course description: This course will explore the experiences of ethnic groups and the overall historical meaning of ethnicity in America from colonia times to the present. Moving between particular case studies (including consideration of Jews, African Americans, Irish, Italians, Hispanics and Asians and broad themes (including immigration, assimilation, prejudice and racism), the course aims to provide a context for understanding both the variety and unfolding structures of ethnicity in American society.


  • Out of the Shadow
  • Coming of Age in Mississippi
  • The Strange Career of Jim Crow
  • The Wages of Whiteness
  • Boston's Immigrants
  • excerpts from various secondary texts

Particulars: Assigments include (but are not limited to) a short essay, a longer book review, a midterm, and a final exam, plus an in-class presentation.

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JS 490SWR-000: Jews of the American South (same as HIST 488SWR-000)
Goldstein, Time: W 4:00-6:00, MAX 12 (JS 6, HIST 6)

Course description: This course will explore the history and culture of Jews in the American South from the colonial period to the present. It will track Jewish settlement in the region from its beginnings in the eighteenth century, examine the distinctive Southern Jewish subculture that emerged during the antebellum peiod, examine how Jewish communities were sustained by the distinctive regional economy, and how the decline of small town Jewish life and the arrival of Jews from other parts of the country during the twentieth century contributed to the breakdown of regional distinctiveness. While studying all of these phases of Southern Jewish life, we will try to understand how Jewishness was shaped by the region's approach to social relations and "respectability," its emphasis on evangelical religion, and its struggle with the issue of race.

Texts: May include:

  • Eli Evans, The Provincials: A Personal History of Southern Jews Leonard Dinnerstein, The Leo Frank Case Melissa Faye Green, The Temple Bombing Alfred Uhry, The Last Night of Ballyhoo
  • Stella Suberman, The Jew Store: A Family Memoir

Particulars: Students will be asked to complete a few short response papers on the assigned readings. In addition, they will complete an original research paper (15-20 pages) using relevant primary sources available in local libraries and archives. Students will also be asked to make an oral presentation of their findings toward the end of the term. Regular attendance and participation are vital to success in this course. This course fulfills General Education Requirement IC (Advanced Seminar). It also fulfills the Emory College Post-Freshman Writing Requirement.

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JS 495RWR-00P: Honors Thesis
Faculty, Time TBA

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JS 497R-00P: Directed Reading in Jewish Studies
Faculty, Time TBA

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Hebrew and Yiddish

The following courses are not cross-listed with Jewish Studies, but can count toward the major in Jewish Studies:

Hebrew: HEBR 101, 201, 301 (See Middle Eastern Studies course atlas)Yiddish: YDD 101: Elementary Yiddish I (See German Studies course atlas)


Undergraduates may also take graduate courses.

For information on the Jewish Studies Major & Minor, go to: Undergraduate Programs in JS









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