NEJS Fall 2022 Courses

NEJS 5A-1 - How Did Biblical Judaism Evolve into Modern Judaism?

Reuven Kimelman

T/R | 3:55 PM - 5:15 PM

A survey of the Jewish experience and thought, focusing on the varieties of historical Judaism, including its classical forms, its medieval patterns and transformations, and its modern options. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 10A-1 - Biblical Hebrew Grammar and Texts

Lynn Kaye

T/F | 9:35 AM - 10:55 AM

An accelerated grammar course in Biblical Hebrew. Students engage with biblical Hebrew texts from the first class. They build from words and phrases to a literary translation and grammatical analysis of a student’s choice of biblical Hebrew narrative. Topics include: phonology and the Tiberian pronunciation tradition, syllables and stress patterns, nouns, articles, conjunctions, pronouns, adjectives, possession, prepositions, the prefix and suffix conjugations, derived stems, tense and aspect, volitives, infinitives, and irregular roots. The class uses music and digital tools to aid memorization. It builds students’ vocabularies and understanding of the unusual features of biblical grammar and syntax compared with other semitic languages and modern Hebrew. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 12A-1 - Who Wrote the Bible?

Madadh Richey

T/F | 11:10 AM -12:30 PM

The Hebrew Bible (Christian “Old Testament”) is a collection of diverse and powerful books that is central to worldwide social, political, and religious experience. Despite this centrality, there are innumerable misconceptions about how the Bible came into being and what it really says. In this class, we will ask and answer questions about the Bible’s historical context and ancient meaning, with a focus on matters of composition and early reception. Who wrote the Bible? When was it written? To what circumstances were its authors responding? Moving beyond the often impossible project of identifying complex texts with individual authors, we will use both biblical and ancient non-biblical sources to situate biblical authors with respect to chronology, geography, institutions, class, gender, and more.

NEJS 18A01 - Understanding Evil and Human Destiny

Reuven Kimelman

T/R | 2:20 PM - 3:30 PM

Designed to introduce students to some of the Western classics that deal with the impact of evil on human destiny. Suffering, justice, and death are studied in their relationship with God, the world, and history. Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 25A-1 - Introduction to Talmud

Lynn Kaye

T/F | 11:10 AM - 12:30 PM

An introduction to Treatise Bava Metzia, on the subject of labor law. Topics include: payment for commuting time, eating on the job, benefits a worker can expect from their employer. The course introduces the Babylonian Talmud. Attention is paid to modes of argument, literary form, and development of the Talmudic text. No previous study of Talmud is presupposed

NEJS 30A-1 - Reading the New Testament: Origins and Communities of Faith

Darlene Brooks-Hedstrom

M/W/R | 9:05 AM - 9:55 AM

Introduces the New Testament and related early Christian literature as sources for the history and theology of the early church. Focus on exegetical methods, literary genres, and relationship to Judaism and the Roman world. Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 37A-1 - The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry

Laura Jockusch

T/F | 9:35 AM - 10:55 AM

Why and how did European Jews become victims of genocide? A systematic examination of the planning and implementation of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” and the Jewish and general responses to it. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 119A-1 - The Torah: Composition and Interpretation

Madadh Richey

T/F | 9:35 AM - 10:55 AM

Biblical Hebrew reading course. Explores Hebrew texts in the Torah or Pentateuch, examining their nature as collections of distinct documents or sources, many of which have a long prehistory, as well as the implications of this compositional model for their interpretation. Usually offered every third year.

NEJS 123A-1 - Maps, Graphs and Timelines: Technology and Design in Historical Research

Alexander Kaye

T/R | 2:20 PM - 3:40 PM

Learn the practical skills to represent data digitally as graphs, maps, timelines and other models. Students will develop their own research projects in topics of their interest and learn to think critically about the opportunities and pitfalls that digital methods pose, for scholarship, inclusion and for social justice. The course will include extensive practical instruction. Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 127B-1 - How Is the Jewish Liturgy Different from Muslim and Christian Liturgies?

Reuven Kimelman

T/R | 7:05 PM - 8:25 PM

A study of the literature, theology, and history of the daily and Sabbath liturgy. Emphasis will be placed on the interplay between literary structure and ideational content, along with discussion of the philosophical issues involved in prayer. Usually offered every third year.

NEJS 134A-1 - Debating Religion: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Dialogue and Dispute

Jonathan Decter

M/W | 2:30 PM - 3:50 PM

A history of interreligious polemic, disputation, and dialogue among Jews, Christians, and Muslims from antiquity to modernity. The course highlights points of difference and contention among the traditions as well as the ways in which the practice of disputation played a formative role in the coevolution of those traditions. Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 145A-1 - History of the State of Israel

Alexander Kaye

T/R | 3:55 PM - 5:15 PM

Examines the development of the State of Israel from its foundation to the present time. Israel's politics, society, and culture will be thematically analyzed. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 159A-1 - Modern Jewish Philosophy

Eugene Sheppard

W | 2:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Surveys the contours of modern Jewish philosophy by engaging some of its most important themes and voices, competing Jewish inflections of and responses to rationalism, romanticism, idealism, existentialism, and nihilism. This provides the conceptual road signs of the course as we traverse the winding byways of Jewish philosophy from Baruch Spinoza to Emanuel Levinas. Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 160A-1 - Jewish Feminisms

Lisa Joffe

T | 2:20 PM - 5:10 PM

Examines the role of Jewish women in the broader feminist movement and the impact and the impact of feminist theory and activism on Jewish thought, law, ritual practice and communal norms in the 20th and 21st century. We will explore classic feminist critiques and transformations of traditional Judaism and examine contemporary controversies involving issues such as equality under Jewish ritual and family law, sex segregation in public life, inclusion of Jewish People of Color and of LGBTQ Jews and antisemitism in the women's movement. Usually offered every year.

NEJS 162B-1 - It Couldn't Happen Here: American Antisemitism in Historical Perspective

Jonathan D. Sarna

M/W | 4:05 PM - 5:25 PM

A close examination of three American anti-Semitic episodes: U.S. Grant's expulsion of the Jews during the Civil War, the Leo Frank case, and the publication of Henry Ford's The International Jew. What do these episodes teach us about anti-semitic prejudice, about Jews, and about America as a whole? Usually offered every second year.

NEJS 169B-1 - From Sunday Schools to Birthright: History of American Jewish Education

Jonathan Krasner

M | 2:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Empowers students to articulate a reality-based, transformative vision of Jewish education that is grounded in an appreciation for the history and sociology of American Jewish education. It will familiarize students with and contextualize the present Jewish educational landscape, through the use of historical case studies and current research, encouraging students to view the field from an evolutionary perspective. The seminar will address Jewish education in all its forms, including formal and informal settings (e.g., schools, camps, youth groups, educational tourism). Usually offered every third year

NEJS 174B-1 - Israeli Women Writers on War and Peace

Ilana Szobel

T/R | 3:55 PM - 5:15 PM

An exploration of nationalism and gender in Modern Hebrew literature. By discussing various Hebrew texts and Israeli works of art and film, this course explores women's relationship to Zionism, war, peace, the state, politics, and processes of cultural production. Usually offered every second year

NEJS 184B-1 - Disability Cultures: Art, Film and Literature of People with Disabilities

Ilana Szobel

T/R | 2:20 PM - 3:40 PM

Explores cultural representations of disability in Israel, Europe, and the US. By focusing on literature, film, dance, and visual art, it explores physical, mental, and emotional disability experiences, and their relations to gender, sexuality, nationalism, and identity politics. Usually offered every second year.