J S 301 • Intro To Jewish Studies

39970 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 2.124 • Hybrid/Blended
EGC (also listed as MES 310, R S 313D)
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This survey course aims to expose students to major themes in Jewish Studies through guest lectures
by UT faculty who work in the field. It is recommended for motivated undergraduates in any discipline
with an intellectual curiosity about Jewish Studies, but requires no previous knowledge of Jewish
religion, ethnicity, or culture. The material in the course is not designed be comprehensive, but rather
provides a curated sample of lectures and core topics . This semester, the course is organized around
three thematic units: 1) Exile and Diaspora, 2) Jewish Identity, and 3) Jewish Ethics. Students are
encouraged to consider course materials comparatively, in view of both their distinct features and their
overarching threads, and defend positions through evidence based both on lectures and the course
reader. Student discussion leaders, designated in advance, will raise questions, stimulate debate, and
integrate ideas into our collective analysis.

J S 304M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

39975 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 304
GC (also listed as HIS 306N, MES 310, R S 313M)
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This course is a survey of Jewish civilization from the origins of Ancient Israel to 1500 C.E.  All materials are in English translation. The course will address both the history of Jews during this long period, and the most influential writings produced during that time.  There will be some focus on the persons and writings that have been most influential for Jewish Civilization over time, including influence in the modern world.  This course is the first half of a two-semester sequence, and another course taught regularly in Spring semester addresses Jewish Civilization from 1492 to the present.


The course will be organized according to an overarching thematic image of “Crisis and Response.”  Jewish Civilization over the time period we study, from origins in the later part of the second millennium B.C.E., to the end of the 15th century C.E., encountered key crises including a memory of enslavement in its sacred sources, the need for sovereignty, the loss of sovereignty and a state of exile, and then continued existence only within larger empires for over two millennia.  Responses to these crises were varied. 

In early legends, centuries of slavery were followed by liberation as The Exodus and the establishment of covenantal law (addressed in Unit 1). 

Later, the need for sovereignty brought the establishment of monarchy and centralized worship at a temple by the kings David and Solomon, and then a continuous period of sovereignty for over four centuries.  This sovereignty ended in 587 B.C.E. and this change initiated the need for continued existence in exile in Persian and Hellenistic polities (addressed in Unit 2). 

The first century C.E. brought a new crisis with the end of Temple worship due to Roman conquest, and then the most enduring and productive response for Jewish Civilization was the legal and other innovations of Classical Rabbinic Judaism (addressed in Unit 3). 

In the Middle Ages, the rise of Christian and Muslim empires brought new contexts for Jewish communities, but also new degrees of persecution, and these crises were intimately connected with responses in intellectual and religious life, including the development of philosophy and the mysticism of Kabbalah (addressed in Unit 4).  



  1. Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total)
  2. Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (20%)
  3. Final Exam, closed book, in-class; location, time, and date are set by the Registrar (20%)
  4. Class Participation (15%)


Required Books (available at the University Co-Op Bookstore):

Alexander, ed., Textual Sources for the Study of Judaism

Jewish Publication Society (JTS), TaNaKh: The Holy Scriptures

Robert Seltzer, Jewish People, Jewish Thought

J S 307 • Intro Holocaust/Genocd Studies

39977 • Markarian, Vasken
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GSB 2.126
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Genocidal events and violence belong to the catalogue of human behavior across time and space.
This course introduces students to the field of Holocaust and genocide studies. It aims to provide
students with interdisciplinary perspectives (including historical, political, socio-psychological
and cultural methods and insights) on genocide as a global phenomenon.

J S 311 • American Jewish History

39979 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CAL 100
CDGC HI (also listed as HIS 317L)
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Surveys the development of American Jewish life from 1492 to the present. Students will examine cultural, religious, and migratory trends that have shaped Jews in the western hemisphere and in the United States in particular. Focus will be on the emergence of Jewish life in America, its growth into the world’s leading Jewish community in the twentieth century, and its continual transformation both in the past as well as the present.

J S 311 • History Of Israel

39980 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GDC 4.302
(also listed as HIS 311J, MES 311)
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The modern state of Israel was founded in a land known in modern times as Palestine, and this course examines the origins and history of modern Israel and the Zionist project to create a state for the Jews within the context of the land and the people who have lived there, of diverse faiths and ethnic backgrounds. The class brings together the history of Palestine and the land of Israel, the Zionist movement, Palestinian and Arab nationalism, modern Jewish history, and the history of Israel’s state and cultures. Students will gain a historical context to understand the complex movement of ideas, peoples, and polities across a small stretch of land which since ancient times has been a site of political and religious conflict. The course proceeds chronologically from the nineteenth century to the present, focusing on political, intellectual, and cultural history so that we can consider how one land has had so many histories but all those who live there have an intertwined destiny.

J S 311 • Intro To The Old Testament

39978 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 203
GC (also listed as CTI 305G, MES 310C, R S 313C)
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This course will examine the biblical traditions and texts of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as products of particular historical and cultural communitiesnamely, ancient Israel and Judahand as literary and religious documents. It will look at what we know about where the texts of the Hebrew Bible came from, who wrote them, why they were written, and what changes were made to them over time. The course will treat the texts as both pre-Jewish and pre-Christian, since the vast majority of them were written before Judaism and Christianity came into existence. The course will also consider how an understanding of ancient Near Eastern history and culture can illumine biblical texts, and it will ask to what degree these texts and their authors were influenced by historical and cultural factors.

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 • Divn Persasn Bibl Time/Plce

39990 • Charney, Davida
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM FAC 9
GCWr (also listed as MES 342, RHE 330E)
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Strategies for persuading audiences were distilled into the art of rhetoric in ancient Athens, where critical thinking and civic oratory became key parts of democratic governance.  This course employs the concepts of rhetorical theory to examine the distinctive persuasive strategies used around the same time in the cultures of the ancient Near East and in the Hebrew Bible in particular.


Like other ancient Near Eastern texts, the Hebrew Bible contains many examples of human speakers trying to persuade God or trying to persuade other people on God's behalf.  What seems distinctive about the Hebrew Bible is the willingness of Israelites to argue with and challenge God. The assumption that God is open to argument raises fascinating questions: how can one pull off rhetorical tactics with a divine being who is all-powerful and all-knowing? Why should God engage in arguments with humans? How did Israelites discern God's response?


The course is structured around three types of discourses: face-to-face interaction, prayer, and prophecy.  Students will analyze the rhetorical strategies of Biblical passages of each type, consider how these discourses differed across cultures in the ancient Near East, and relate them to versions of these discourses in the U.S. today.



JS 363 Topics in Arts and Humanities, new topic: Divine Persuasion in Biblical Times and Places

MES 342 Topics in the Middle East: Arts and Humanities, new topic: Divine Persuasion in Biblical Times and Places



15% Participation (posting on discussion boards and peer reviews)

25% Quizzes

15% Rhetorical Analysis Project: 2-3 page rhetorical analysis of each type of text (5% each)

25% Cultural Comparison Paper: 6-8 page comparative analysis across ancient discourses/cultures

25% Rhetorical Implications Paper: 6-8 page paper developing an argument about implicatons of these early texts to religious rhetoric today.


Global Cultures Flag:

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase

your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a

substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and

histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.


Required Texts:

George Kennedy, Comparative Rhetoric: An Historical and Cross-Cultural Introduction, Oxford University Press, 1998.

John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018.

Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, Michael Fishbane, The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society Tanakh Translation College Edition, 2003

J S 364 • Austin Jews Cvl Rights Era

40005 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.102
CDII (also listed as AMS 324J, ANT 325U)
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AustinJews in the Civil Rights Era asks the question: What role did Longhorn and Austin Jews play in the social changes of the 1960s and early 70sboth on campus and beyond?

Revolution was in the air on college campuses in the 1960s and early 70s UT included. De-­‐segregation sit-­‐ins, free love, anti-­‐war protests, feminism, flower power, counter-­‐culture were the (dis)order of the day. Were UT Jews allies or activists? Greeks or geeks? Feminists or Princesses?And what was the relationship between the campus and the wider Austin community? What about Austin’s Jewish merchants, bankers, lawyers, businessmen, synagogue leaders, and artist/entertainers? How were they involved in the movements for equity, justice and peace?Students will learn the art of oral history and digital storytelling to uncover the untold tales of Austin’s Jewish community in the Age of Aquarius.

In this course, we will examine a small piece of Austin’s historical development, thinking critically about how history is researched, written and presented to public audiences. With a focus on civil rights activism in the Austin Jewish community of the 1960s and ‘70s, we will document stories of inclusion in a multi-­‐media digital storytelling map that we hope will become a foundation for UT’s interdisciplinary and cross-­‐racial research on this era in Austin’s civil right’s history.

J S 365 • Spatializing Culture: Hon

40019 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.124 • Hybrid/Blended
GCWr (also listed as LAH 350)
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This course focuses on Jewish communities throughout the globe and over time, including, but not limited to: Jewish life in Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe. The conceptual frame for understanding the multiple migrations and settlement of Jewish populations is the “Spatial Turn” emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century which has transformed the understanding of the way space, place and landscape is produced, perceived, and experienced. In order to illuminate each of these conceptually, in the first unit of the course, we will consider global Jewish culture is spatialized. In the process of learning about spatializing culture, students will also see how it may be applied to Jewish spatial experiences at diverse geographic scales. These are included, but not limited to: spatial components of assimilation, exclusion, and antisemitism resulting in ghettoization, expulsion, migration, exile, “wandering,” and genocide; Enduring ideas of Israel as Holy Land, homeland, and realized in the construction of nationhood, territory and return, and the State of Israel; Global support and global critiques of Zionism, and the spatial components of settlement, dispute and occupation the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

J S 679HA • Honors Tutorial Course

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Supervised individual reading and research for one semester, followed by writing substantial honors thesis during the second semester. Restricted to Jewish Studies majors. Prereq: For 679HA, admission to the Jewish Studies Honors Programs, and for 679HB, Jewish Studies, 679HA.