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Graduate Program


Graduate Program

Course Offerings


Graduate Spring 2013 Courses

JS 597R: Directed Study
JS 598R: Thesis/Exam Preparation
JS 730: Rabbinic Liturgy and Prayer

JS 730: From Kinship to Cultural Poetics: Anthropology and the Hebrew Bible

JS 730: Sephardic Studies



JS 597R-00P: Directed Study
Faculty, Time: TBA



JS 598R-00P: Thesis/Exam Preparation
Faculty, Time: TBA


JS 730-000: Rabbinic Liturgy and Prayer
Blumenthal, Time: Wed 8:30-11:30, MAX: 15, Candler Library 212

Course description: Prayer is one of the main forms of Jewish spiritual and religious identity. Liturgy is the textual form that prayer takes. This course will begin by studying prayer and liturgy in the Bible. Then, substantial time will be devoted to the traditional prayerbook. This will be followed by some time in medieval Hebrew religious liturgical poetry. Finally, we will look closely at modern forms of Jewish prayer and liturgy.


  • Bible
  • Siddur
  • Mahzor
  • Blumenthal, God at the Center


  • David R. Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest
  • David R. Blumenthal, Understanding Jewish Mysticism, 2 vols.
  • Wings of Awe
  • The Book of Blessings
  • Otsar ha-Tefillot
  • Siddur Nashim
  • The Authorized Daily and Sabbath Prayerbook
  • Seder Rav Amram
  • Seder Avodat Yisrael
  • Kol Haneshama


Prerequisites: Ability to read and understand Hebrew. This is a course for graduate students and qualified undergraduates.

Requirements: Active class participation. Quizzes and final exam. Possible paper.


JS 730-001: From Kinship to Cultural Poetics: Anthropology and the Hebrew Bible (same as RLHB 790R-000)
Seeman, Time: Mon 10:00-1:00, MAX: 4

Course description: This course approaches the Hebrew Bible from an anthropological point of view and also investigates the historical connections between biblical studies and anthropology as disciplines. We will consider a variety of topics including the role of kinship studies and recent trends in the study of gender as well as a comparison of anthropological with historical and literary approaches.  We will consider whether the reading of contemporary ethnographies can contribute to understanding of the Hebrew Bible and we will also read at least one ethnography of contemporary Bible reading and practice. Throughout the class I will develop (and also interrogate) the idea that anthropology can contribute to a cultural poetics of biblical narrative that builds on the best of both anthropological and literary approaches and which challenges some current approaches to the study of gender. This course is open to all GDR students and beyond, the only prerequisite being an open mind and willingness to read and discuss.

Possible Texts:

  • Freud, Moses and Monotheism
  • Smith, Religion of the Semites
  • Levi-Strauss, The Structural Study of Myth
  • Julian Pitt-Rivers, The Fate of Shechem
  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift and Sacrifice
  • Eilburg Schwartz, The Savage in Judaism
  • Mieke Bal, Love and Dyssimetry
  • Adele Berlin, Poetics of Biblical Interpretation
  • Schwartz, Were the Jews a Mediterranean People?
  • Engelike, A Problem of Presence: Beyond Scripture in an African Church

Prerequisites: None.

Requirements: Active class participation and final paper.


JS 730-00P: Sephardic Studies
Hary, Time: TBA, MAX: 2

Course description: This course investigates the medieval interaction and communication between Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. It then follows the historical footsteps of the Jews that had been expelled from Spain in 1492. The course uses historical and linguistic methods of analysis.


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Last updated: November 26, 2012



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