MASTERS - Spring 2011 Course Descriptions
REL 3690. Master’s Thesis Research. 
Religion 2501. Elementary Biblical Hebrew. A two-semester course of study leading to a reading knowledge of the Hebrew Bible. Open for credit to Undergraduate and M.A. students only.  Staff.
Religion 2515. Elementary Modern Hebrew. Continuation of 2514. Greater stress upon conversation and grammar. Classes meet three times a week with an additional two hours a week required in the language laboratory. SPRING.  Halachmi.
Religion 3103. Intermediate Modern Hebrew. Continuation of 3102. Greater emphasis on reading and writing. Classes meet three times a week with an additional three hours a week spent in independent work in the language laboratory. SPRING.  Halachmi.
Religion 3803. Ben Sira with Introduction to Mishnaic Hebrew (Rabbinic Hebrew). Introduction to grammar and vocabulary of Mishnaic Hebrew, with practice in reading and guidance for further study. Reading of selected portions of the Hebrew text of Ben Sira. Emphasis on experience in reading unpointed Hebrew text of this period, relevance for textual criticism, use of the Greek version, and the place of the book and its theology in the development of Israelite wisdom in general.  Azzoni.
Religion 3816. Advanced Biblical Hebrew. Reading of selections from the Hebrew Bible, with emphasis on syntax and text criticism. Prerequisite: Elementary Biblical Hebrew.  Knight.
Religion 3818. Aramaic. Vocabulary, forms, and syntax of Aramaic through reading of the Aramaic sections of Daniel and Ezra and of specimens of material from the Elephantine papyri, the Targums, etc. Prerequisite: 3816.  Azzoni.
Yiddish (by examination)
Ladino (by examination)
Judaeo-Arabic (by examination)
AREA 1: BIBLICAL STUDIES
English 282. The Bible in Literature. An examination of ways in which the Bible and biblical imagery have functioned in literature and fine arts, in both "high culture" and popular culture, from Old English poems to modern poetry, drama, fiction, cartoons, and political rhetoric. Readings include influential biblical texts and a broad selection of literary texts drawn from all genres and periods of English literature. 
AREA 2: ANTIQUITY AND THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
Classics 209. Greece and the Near East from Alexander to Theodosius. From Alexander’s conquest of the Persian Empire to the ascendancy of Christianity in the late fourth century. Emphasis on social, cultural, and religious transformations, within the framework of political history.  Rife.
History 219. Last Empire of Islam. The Ottoman “long nineteenth century,” 1789 to 1923. The Reforms (Tanzimat), state patriotism, intercommunal relations, national “awakenings,” and the emergence of a public sphere. Historiographical issues, such as perceptions of the empire as the “Sick Man of Europe” and debates over its decline. FALL.  Cohen.
Jewish Studies 222. Jews in Egypt from the Biblical Joseph to the Suez Crisis. Jewish life and experience under Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Muslim rule in Egypt from the Ptolemies to 1956. Jewish self-government, economic life, and culture over twenty-two centuries, through letters, documents, and imaginative literature.  Wasserstein.
Philosophy 211. Medieval Philosophy. Comparative study of key figures in Islamic, Jewish, and Christian philosophy as they struggle with the philosophy of logic, metaphysics, language, culture, politics, ethics, and nature.  Goodman.
Religion 3808. Ancient Goddesses. Ancient concepts of the feminine divine in literature and iconographic evidence. Specific goddesses, their spheres of influence, and their place in the various pantheons. Cultic practices and religious syncretism across cultures, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Ancient Israel.  Azzoni.
Religion 3518. The Qur'an and the Tradition of Interpretation. The Qur'an and the Islamic tradition of interpretation. The treatment of Biblical prophets, Jesus and Satan. Interpretations will be drawn from all time periods including rationalist, dogmatic, Shi'i and mystical schools of interpretation. Prerequisite: one course in Religious Studies.  McGregor.
AREA 3: MODERN & CONTEMPORARY EXPERIENCE
Spring 2011: English 280 / History 291. Workshop in English and History: Jews and the Modern City. If the city is often portrayed as the laboratory of modernity, what does it mean that the Jews are often seen as the ultimate urbanites? By the nineteenth century, cities and Jews alike filled people‘s imaginations with visions of the dark and seductive sides of modernity in turn. This course seeks to analyze these connections. When, where and why were the terms ‗Jew,‘ ‗city,‘ and ‗modern‘ conflated? Examining different urban contexts, we will explore a wide variety of modern Jewish experiences of ‗the city‘ through an examination of historical writing, literature, and visual culture produced by and about urban Jews. Central problems of the course include how history and literary texts both represent and reproduce narratives of modernity, minority experiences, and city life. Covering a diverse array of cities ranging from New York to Tel Aviv, and Istanbul to Odessa, our sources will consist of scholarly essays, films, photographs, paintings, poems, novels, and short stories in English and English translation. Topics will include Jack the Ripper, New York‘s Lower East Side, the rise of the department store, revolutionary movements, antisemitism and suburbanization.  Julia Phillips Cohen (History) and Allison Schachter (English)
Spring 2011: European Studies 240.02. Topics in European Studies: Religion and Politics in Modern Europe. European religious politics since the 18th century; secularization and the critique of religion; religious revivals and religious political parties; antisemitism and anti-Catholicism; religion and colonialism; the Nazis and the churches; Islam and Islamophobia in Europe.  Joskowicz.
History 210. Russia: The U.S.S.R. and Afterward. Russian history since the 1917 Revolution. Overview of the old regime; revolution and civil war; the Soviet “Roaring ’20s”; Stalinism and the totalitarianized society; World War II. Postwar Soviet society and culture; de-Stalinization and the sixties generation; Gorbachev, perestroika, and disintegration; contemporary history. Serves as repeat credit for students who completed 239 prior to fall 2008.  Wcislo.
History 230. Twentieth-Century Germany. The turbulent history of Germany, as it went from authoritarian state to volatile democracy, to National Socialist dictatorship, to divided country, and to reunification. Special emphasis placed on the Nazi dictatorship, its origins and legacy. Serves as repeat credit for students who completed 231 prior to fall 2008.  Smith.
Spring 2011: History 291/English 280. Workshop in English and History: Jews and the Modern City. If the city is often portrayed as the laboratory of modernity, what does it mean that the Jews are often seen as the ultimate urbanites? By the nineteenth century, cities and Jews alike filled people‘s imaginations with visions of the dark and seductive sides of modernity in turn. This course seeks to analyze these connections. When, where and why were the terms ‗Jew,‘ ‗city,‘ and ‗modern‘ conflated? Examining different urban contexts, we will explore a wide variety of modern Jewish experiences of ‗the city‘ through an examination of historical writing, literature, and visual culture produced by and about urban Jews. Central problems of the course include how history and literary texts both represent and reproduce narratives of modernity, minority experiences, and city life. Covering a diverse array of cities ranging from New York to Tel Aviv, and Istanbul to Odessa, our sources will consist of scholarly essays, films, photographs, paintings, poems, novels, and short stories in English and English translation. Topics will include Jack the Ripper, New York‘s Lower East Side, the rise of the department store, revolutionary movements, antisemitism and suburbanization.  Julia Phillips Cohen (History) and Allison Schachter (English)
History 330. Studies in German History. Considers crucial developments from the founding of the Second German Empire in 1871 to the end of National Socialist rule in 1945. The class emphasizes recent developments in historiography, especially the attempt to set German history in a denser transnational frame, and brings cutting edge historiographical work together with a reading of primary sources in social theory (including Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, and Hannah Arendt), literature and film, and politics.  Smith, H.
Religion 2750. The History of Religion in America. The history of the religions in America beginning with colonial religious experiments in the New World. Examines American “church history” as well as the influence of non-Christian religions in American culture.  Flake.
AREA 4: CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY, AND LITERATURE
Jewish Studies 235W. Hebrew Literature in Translation. Origins and development in Eastern Europe from the nineteenth century to postmodern Israeli literature. The relationship between historical transformations and literary form. . Schachter.
Jewish Studies 245. Major Themes in Jewish Studies: Jewish Studies in the Academy. The study of Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture. History of Jewish Studies, core perspectives, key methodologies, critical debates. Classical literature, current trends.  Kelner.
Religion 3880.04. Is G-d Guilty? The Problem of Evil in Judaism. The course explores the discourse of evil and suffering in Judaism with an emphasis on modern Jewish Thought, before and after the Shoah, and the larger social and cultural implications. Through philosophical and theological perspectives we will address issues of human agency, free will, responsibility, identity, collective memory, and the meaning of moral rationalization in religion.  Urban.
Jewish Studies 253W. Witnesses Who Were Not There: Literature of the Children of Holocaust Survivors. Fiction and non-fiction produced by children of Holocaust survivors.  Meyer.
LAW 738-01. Jewish Law: From the Ancient Near East to the Israeli Supreme Court. This course will survey the primary genres and methods of Jewish legal writing and legal decision-making from the Bible through the rabbinic and medieval period to the modern period. In discussing Jewish legal history, the course will focus particularly on the relationship of Jewish law to non-Jewish legal systems, issues of legal competition when Jews had access to non-Jewish venues, and the role of legal pluralism and indeterminacy in Jewish legal decision-making. The course will also discuss the complicated role of Jewish law in the State of Israel with respect to Jewish-Arab relations as well as the role of religious pluralism among Jewish communities within Israel. The role of Jewish law in contemporary Diaspora Jewish communities will also be addressed, particularly as these communities address modern social issues such as abortion, women’s rights, and homosexuality.  Lieberman.
Philosophy 245. Humanity, Evolution, and God. The impact of the idea of evolution on our conception of personhood. Theistic and non-theistic approaches to Philosophical anthropology, ethics and society, the theory of knowledge, the mind-body problem, and relations with the environment and other species.  Goodman.
Philosophy 260. Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy. A study of selected twentieth-century philosophers such as Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan.  Wood.
Philosophy 261. Jewish Philosophy. Introduction to Jewish philosophy and the philosophical achievement of such major figures as Philo, Saadiah, Maimonides, Levinas, and selected contemporary thinkers.  Goodman.
Spring 2011: Philosophy 353.04. Figures: Averroes and Gersonides Dobbs-Weinstein.
Religion 3880.05. Jewish Theories of Religion. Critical analysis and discussion of modern Jewish constructions of religion: politically, symbolically, ethically, normatively, and aesthetic-mystically. Selected readings from Cohen, Buber, Rosenzweig, Kaplan, and social philosophers such as Simmel and Habermas on the function, nature, and meaning of religion in secular culture.  Urban.