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Graduate Program



Course Offerings


Graduate Spring 2000 Courses


JS 540H: Rabbinic Judaism: Midrash
JS 597R: Directed Study
JS 598R: Thesis/Exam Preparation
JS 599: Thesis
JS 730H: Issues in Jewish Linguistics
JS 730J: History of the Palestine Mandate 1920-1948
JS 730R: Comparing Judaism in Israel and the United States
JS 730S: The Exodus from Egypt and the Settlement & of the Land of Canaan


JS 540H-000: Rabbinic Judaism: Midrash
Blumenthal, Mon. 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m., MAX: 15

Content : Midrash is the key form of biblical interpretation in rabbinic Judaism. It is also one of the main genres of rabbinic literature. This course will study closely one text: Bereshit Rabba beginning with chapter 39, the Abraham cycle. We will use the Hebrew text.

Texts :

  • Bereshit Rabba, chapters 39-41, (Hebrew), A copy of the vocalized text is available from Professor Blumenthal
  • Tanakh
  • D. Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash.
  • Jacob Neusner, What is Midrash?

Reserve :

  • xerox copy of Jacob Neusner, Genesis Rabbah, vol. 2, ch. 39-41
  • D. Boyarin, Intertextuality and the Reading of Midrash
  • Jacob Neusner, What is Midrash?

Prerequisites :

  • Permission of the instructor.
  • Ability to read and understand Hebrew fluently.
  • You will need to read and translate.
  • You may use the English to prepare but you may NOT bring it to class.
  • Graduate students may meet the Hebrew requirement with this course.
  • Everyone needs to have a hevruta.
  • This is a course for graduate students and qualified undergraduates.

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JS 597R-000/CV1/CV2: Directed Study
Faculty, Time: TBA

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JS 598R-000: Thesis/Exam Preparation
Faculty, Time: TBA

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JS 599-000: Thesis
Faculty, Time: TBA

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JS 730H-000: Issues in Jewish Linguistics
Hary, Wed. 7:00-9:30p.m., MAX: 10
Content: A Jewish language is a linguistic variety that arises in a certain place and is used by Jewish speakers and writers to communicate to Jewish readers and speakers usually on Jewish topics. It is customary for these varieties to use the Hebrew script, to incorporate Hebrew and Aramaic elements in the language and more. These languages arose in central and eastern Europe (Yiddish), in the Arab world (Judeo-Arabic), in Spain (Judeo-Spanish or Ladino), in Iran (Judeo-Palestine), in Italy (Judeo-Italian), in North Africa (Judeo-Berber), in Kurdistan (Judeo-Neo-Aramaic) and in other places. The course explores the following issues: How have such languages arisen in different places in the world? How are they different from the related non-Jewish languages, and in what ways are they bearers of Jewish culture? Special emphasis will be placed on typological study of the various languages in the different places, i.e., comparative study of the phenomenon of a Jewish language in different places in the world. Furthermore, we will read, analyze and edit Medieval Hebrew manuscripts.
Texts: Course packet with various articles on reserve.

  • Harshav, Language in the Time of Revoluation, 1993
  • Hary, Multiglossia in Judeo-Arabic, 1992
  • Fishman, Readings in the Sociology of Jewish Languages, 1985
  • Paper, Jewish Languages: Theme and Variation, 1978
  • Stillman, The Language and Culture of the Jews of Sefrou, 1988

Particulars : Advanced knowledge of Hebrew in required. Requirements include:
a presentation in class, manuscript work and preparations, research paper in
consultation with the instructor. The course may be used to fulfill the
requirements for the MA in Jewish Studies (Hebrew section).

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JS 730J-00P: History of the Palestine Mandate 1920-1948 (Same as Hist 489S-00P)
, Thurs. 4:30-6:30p.m., MAX: 4
Content: This junior/senior colloquium will review the thirty-year history prior to the creation of Israel in 1948. Using primary and secondary sources will review the variety of social, economic, and political issues which influenced the development of Zionism, affected the creation of Israel, saw the emergence of Palestinian national identity, and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Students will concentrate on understanding the workings and interactions of the Arab, British, and Zionist communities in Palestine. Students will use a variety of historical sources, including primary archival material, relevant unpublished dissertations, period newspapers, memoirs, secondary sources, biographies, and novels of the era.

  • Silberstein, Laurence J. (ed.) New Perspectives on Israeli History - The Early Years of the State, New York University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-8147-7929-8 To be purchased.
  • Marlowe, John, The Seat of Pilate, Cresset, London, 1961. At Woodruff Reserve Desk.
  • Sykes, Christopher, Crossroads to Israel, Indiana University Press, 1973. At Woodruff Reserve Desk.
  • An extensive core of required articles and books will be put on reserve at Woodruff.

Particulars: Written permission of the instructor is required. Each student will write two papers and be responsible for three oral presentations. Students may attempt to satisfy all college and history writing requirements. The ten page short paper (20%) will be written about a personality or institution of the period. Secondary source materials will be used. The research paper (50%) will be 25 pages, or 35 for graduate students. Each student will use the Colonial Office 733 (Palestine Mandate) series which is on microfilm in Woodruff Library. Other primary sources will augment this basic source. Secondary source materials will also be used. Finally each student will make three oral presentations (10% each).

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JS 730R-000: Comparing Judaism in Israel & the United States
Liebman, MW 10:00-11:30, MAX: 20

Content: TBA

Particulars: TBA

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JS 730S-000: The Exodus from Egypt and the Settlement & of the Land of Canaan (Same as REL 373G-000 & MES 475J-000)
Borowski, Tues. 2:30-5:00pm, MAX: 5
Content: The Exodus from Egypt and the Settlement of the Land of Canaan are two highly important themes which are repeated in the Bible in many different ways (in the Prophets, Psalms) and later became the foundation of Jewish theology. The course will take a look at the primary description of these events in the Books of Exodus, Joshua and Judges and examine their impact on the Israelite through the continuous references in other books. Finally, the biblical and the archaeological records will be compared to determine the feasibility of these events. The main questions to be dealt with are: Did these events take place as described? When did they occur? What can be told about these events from the archaeological record? Can the true story be reconstructed? Who were the Israelites?
Texts: TBA

Particulars : Attendance and participation (20%), Midterm (25%), Final (25%), paper (30%)

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