J S 304N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present

40165 • Bodian, Marion
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N)
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This is the second half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization, and deals with the period from the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 to the present. It will cover major demographic shifts, the impact of the Reformation, the emergence of new attitudes to Jews, the breakdown of traditional authority and the trend toward secularization. It will deal with the following transformative events: the rise of eastern European Jewry, the spread of kabbalah (a form of mysticism), the entry of Jews into a modern economy, Hassidism, Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah), emancipation, modern antisemitism, Zionism, Jews in the Muslim world, the rise American Jewry, the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The thematic core of the course will be the concepts of exile and return – their various meanings and interpretations as new historical contexts took shape.

Eli Barnavi, A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People: From the Time of the Patriarchs to the Present.

Paul Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History.

First mid-term (20%), second mid-term (20%), two quizzes (10% each), final exam (40%)

J S 311 • Comparative Religious Ethics

40170 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CLA 1.102
(also listed as R S 306C)
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The aim of this course is to examine and contemplate ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, excellent and corrupt as they are expressed in different religious traditions and across cultures. We will examine three different approaches to ethics and religion in a globalized world of competing stances: a foundational set of methods in religious ethics, a more specific approach to comparative religious ethics centered on stories, and an account of justice for international and cross-cultural contexts addressing disparities in wealth and power.  Students will learn to adjudicate and assess religions claims regarding what is good and right, differences across religious traditions, foundational narratives of religions, and the grounds for justice.  Topics include war and peace, inequalities in wealth and income, leadership, and more.


Texts: (available at the University Co-Op Bookstore):

  • Fasching and DeChant, Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics (2nd edition)
  • Markham, Do Morals Matter? A Guide to Contemporary Religious Ethics (Wiley Publishing)
  • Sen, The Idea of Justice



  • Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
  • Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (25%)
  • Final Exam, closed book, in-class (15%)
  • Class Participation (15%)



J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

40175 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 1
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, R S 304)
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This course explores the principal beliefs and practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims and the historical development of the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  At the same time, the course will provide an introduction to the field of religious studies by exposing students to some of the interdisciplinary methods used to understand religion as a central component of human culture, including historical methods, the study of ritual, and the analysis of ideas.


J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

40180 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GEA 105
(also listed as C C 318, CTI 310, R S 318)
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Start with questions and then look for answers.

1.   What is the earliest writing in the New Testament? What was the latest?

2.   What does it mean to call Jesus of Nazareth an apocalyptic Jewish prophet?

3.   When did the followers of Jesus begin to call themselves “Christians”?

4.   What were they called before that time?  And why does it matter?

Whether or not you think you know the answers to all or some of these questions, you may still want to follow the basic path of historical discovery they hint at.    This course brings together two main lines of history:  first that of Jesus and the early Christian movement itself, and second, that of the “book” (more precisely the “books,” meaning the New Testament), that tell that story.   How did it happen?  Where did they come from?  When did they begin to call themselves “Christians,” and why did they do so?  And finally, what changed along the way?  All of these are part of the story, and it is, without doubt, a story that has had a major impact on all later western history. 

            This course is designed to acquaint students with the sources, issues, and methods in studying the development of the earliest Christian movement, primarily in  the New Testament period.  It will survey the development of the Christian movement, from its beginnings as a reforming sect within first century Judaism until it became a major cult in the Roman world, by looking at two intersecting sets of factors:  the world situation during the period of its origins and the forces which gave it its peculiar social and theological shape.  In particular, attention will be given to critical examination of the New Testament writings themselves, in order to "place" them in their proper historical context and to reconstruct some of the major phases and factors in the development of the movement.   In the light of this critical reconstruction, sociological and anthropological methods will be introduced into the historical discussion; topics will include: sociological formation and development of sectarian groups; gender, status, group dynamics, and boundary maintenance in diaspora communities; and the evolution of organizational structures in cultural contexts.   

            For the most part the primary sources for the course will be the New Testament writings themselves.  It will be necessary, therefore, for each student to have access to a good, modern version of the New Testament (and preferably the whole Bible, including the Apocrypha). For study purposes, comparison of different translations is encouraged.  The other course books (listed below) provide a guide to the early Christian writings and the early history of the movement.   



  • A BIBLE (at least the NEW TESTAMENT, preferably in a good modern translation) [Recommended:Harper-Collins Study Bible, 2nd ed.;New Revised Standard Version]
  • L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity  (Harper, 2004) pb. [Optional:  L. Michael White, De Jesús al christianismo  (EVD, 2007; Spanish language edition of above)]
  • Alan F. Segal, Rebecca’s Children:  Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard UP, 1986) pb.
  • A Xerox packet of additional readings to accompany the syllabus                                           



Final course grade will be based on the average of three in-class Exams (worth 20% each) and a cumulative Final Exam (worth 40%).

J S 362 • Indep Rsch In Jewish Studies

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May be repeated for credit. Tutorially directed research in Jewish Studies. Prereq: Upper-division standing and consent of instructor.

J S 363 • Gendering The Old Testament

40205 • Hackett, Jo
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CAL 422
(also listed as MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353, WGS 340)
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What happens if you jettison the sweetly smiling, long-suffering, or dastardly evil biblical women we know from our youth and instead look at their stories through the modern lenses of feminism, sociology, anthropology, and women’s history? You will get a 21st-century picture of women’s motivations, women’s sources of power, women’s relationships with their men and their societies. Rather than exploring conventional religious/spiritual interpretations, we will nurture instead critical thinking and close readings of the stories of Ruth, Jezebel, Deborah, and many more.


An English Bible (the Harper-Collins Study Bible, Student Edition, and the New Jewish Publication Society Tanakh have been ordered by the Co-op)


Attendance and Participation 25%

Discussions 20%

Final Presentation 20%

Early Draft of Presentation 10%

Final Write-up of Final Project 25%

J S 364 • Germany Since Hitler

40220 • Crew, David
Meets MW 4:30PM-6:00PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as HIS 350L)
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This seminar will analyze the effects of Hitler’s dictatorship upon German society, politics, economy and culture. It will explore the consequences of defeat, occupation, the Cold War and the political division of Germany after 1945. It will also compare and contrast the history and development of East and West Germany in the years between 1949 and 1989. Finally, the course will examine some of the consequences and prospects created by the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the unification of East and West Germany in 1990.

(Books marked with * are available as electronic resources from the UT-Library system at no charge with your UT-EID. Please feel free to read these materials on-line if you prefer.)

*David F. Crew, editor, Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945(London and New York,1995)

Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz

*Edit Scheffer, Burned Bridge.How East and West Germany Made the Iron Curtain(Oxford, 2012)

Hanna Schissler,editor, The Miracle Years. A Cultural History of West Germany 1949-1968(Princeton,2001)

Katherine Pence and Paul Betts, editors, Socialist Modern.East German Everyday Culture and Politics(Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008).

*David F. Crew, editor, Consuming Germany in the Cold War(Oxford and New York: Berg, 2003)

Peter  Schneider, The Wall Jumper. A Berlin Story (Chicago,1983)

We will also be working intensively with documents and images on this Website


This is a substantial writing component course. You will be required to write three critical essays (6-8 pages each) which analyze the problems posed by selected readings from the above assigned reading list (each of these three essays is worth  20% of your final grade). In addition, you are each required to give in-class reports on two different images from the Website, “German History in Documents and Images” http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/home.cfm . Each of these assignments counts for 10% of your final grade. Class attendance and participation count for 20 per cent of your final grade. I will be using the full range of +/- grades.

J S 364 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

40230 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PAR 201
(also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353D)
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Course Description

For almost seventy years, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has influenced significantly our understanding of Second Temple Judaism, the formation of the Bible, and the origins of the religious movements of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. This course presents an in-depth study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to understand better the development of law, interpretation, ritual, messianism, apocalypticism, and prayer in the late Second Temple period. This course will include discussion of the archaeology of the Qumran community, textual production and transmission in antiquity, scribal practices in antiquity, and pseudonymous authorship.


• Davies, Philip R., George J. Brooke, and Phillip R. Callaway. The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Revised Edition. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2002. ABBREVIATED AS DBC IN COURSE SCHEDULE

• Vermes, Geza, trans.. The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, Revised Edition. London: Penguin, 2011. ABBREVIATED AS VERMES IN COURSE SCHEDULE

• Bible (any modern – not King James – translation is ok). Students are welcome to purchase Coogan, Michael D. et al., eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, Augmented Fourth Edition, New Revised Standard Version, College Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. This edition is available for purchase at the Co-°©‐Op.

• Selected readings available through Blackboard. Students are required to bring a print copy of Vermes and/or the Bible to class on days on which we will be discussing selections from these works. Reading texts on a smartphone or other such small-°©‐screen device is not an acceptable way to engage ancient texts for the purposes of this class. DBC and Vermes are on reserve at the Perry-°©‐Castañeda Library.


Class attendance and participation 10%

Quality of mid‐term test 20%

Quality of two 3–4 page papers 40%

Quality of final examination 30%



J S 365 • Jewish Cuba

40234 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SAC 4.174
(also listed as ANT 325L, LAS 324L, R S 366)
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Cuba has a small Jewish community (between 1,000-1,500) whose origins are presumed to date back to 1492. By some accounts, the contemporary community is dying, and by others, it is vibrant. No matter the assessment, it is a community that has been written about and analyzed disproportionately for its size. As noted Cuban-American Jewish anthropologist Ruth Behar has proposed, Jewish Cuba presents the challenge of focusing on a small community to understand large philosophical and cultural issues: Diaspora, preserving identity in hybridized social worlds, and the concept of home. In learning about Jewish Cuba, students of are not only exposed to a nationally-specific case study in Jewish Latin America, but have the opportunity to study the relationship between state politics and Jewish life, Judaism under communist regimes, religious and linguistic revitalization movements, migration, and cultural survival. To explore these themes and concepts, this course uses scholarly texts and ethnographic accounts, but also personal memoirs, films, photographs, and documentaries about Jewish Cuba.

Core questions we address in the course are: What is Home? What is Diaspora? What is Revolution?  How do we write about it?