Jewish Tradition, Its Texts and Contexts
Spring 2012 not offered
|Certificates: Jewish and Israel Studies
This course will explore the historical development of Jewish tradition through its texts and contexts, theory and practice. What is this tradition based on? How has it been shaped? We will examine the values it represents and the mechanisms of transmitting these values from generation to generation. Is it permissible to touch a menstruating woman? Or eat with gentiles? Who is allowed to study the Torah? Why does the prayer Jewish men say in the morning include negative definition of their identity when they thank God for not making them a woman, or a gentile, or a slave? What is the attitude toward war? The above questions are hotly debated by rabbinic authorities. Reading major primary sources on which the Jewish tradition is based--the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, Rabbinic responsa, Jewish chronicles--will help us to explore questions of identity, religion, and gender; questions of boundaries; and questions of the role of history and memory in fashioning collective identities. Reading these texts, we will also explore the historical context in which they emerged, and how this historical context shaped them, and how the subsequent generations had to wrestle with these established traditions to understand them in their own contexts.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar
|Grading Mode: Credit/Unsatisfactory
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None