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

Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM RLP 0.128
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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 RLP 1.104
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Please check back for updates.

J S 311 • History Of Israel

39980 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GDC 4.302
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Please check back for updates.

J S 311 • Intro To The Old Testament

39978 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 203
GC (also listed as MES 310C, R S 313C)
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Please check back for updates.

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 363 • Law/Justice In The Bible

39999 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GEA 114
GC (also listed as CTI 354L, MES 342, R S 353K)
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This course examines the legal traditions of the Torah (Pentateuch) and what they reveal about the practice of law and justice in ancient Israel and the wider biblical world. It then explores the law and legal systems of the broader ancient Near East in order to see how the biblical traditions relate to ideas and practices attested in other societies in the region.Theories concerning ethics and justicewill also be used to provide context for understanding conceptions oflaw and justice in the ancient worldand especially in the Hebrew Bible. Legal topics such as marriage, family structures, litigation, debt, slavery, homicide, theft, false accusation, contracts, and other matters will be examined. The course acquaints students with how various biblical traditions developed over time to form the foundation for later rabbinic and Christian ethical thought.

J S 364 • Austin Jews Cvl Rights Era

40005 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.102
CDII (also listed as ANT 325U)
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Please check back for updates.

J S 365 • Holocaust Aftereffects

40015 • Bos, Pascale
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 337
GC (also listed as C L 323, EUS 346, GSD 360, R S 357V, WGS 340)
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In this course, we specifically examine the significant influence of American Hollywood representations of the Holocaust as they have shaped and are reflective of the American cultural memory of the Holocaust. In contrast to Europe where the events of the Holocaust took place and were witnessed personally, knowledge of the events in the United States has been from its earliest inception been mediated by cinematic images, be it of a documentary nature – newsreel footage of the opening of the concentration camps in 1945 - or of a more fictionalized nature. By tracing how Hollywood has shaped a uniquely American way of viewing the Holocaust, and while contrasting this at times with other (European) film traditions, we consider in some depth what particular American cultural or political considerations, sensibilities, and concerns, led to the production of certain films in different decades and not others, how certain genres and cinematic techniques work and why they became popular, and why particular movies became blockbusters while others did not. 


  • Attendance/participation/prep (15%)
  • Film Precis (10%)
  • Website evaluation (10%)
  • Response paper (10%)
  • Class presentation (10%)
  • Final Project (45%)

J S 365 • Spatializing Culture-Hon

40020 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.124 • Hybrid/Blended
CDGCWr (also listed as LAH 350)
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The “Spatial Turn” emerged in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as an interdisciplinary theoretical frame spanning the social sciences and humanities. It has transformed the understanding of the way space, place and landscape is produced, perceived, and experienced. This seminar will consider spatialization of various cultural groups. We will start with a shared example of Jewish cultures, and move on to individually selected cultural case studies that result in a final research and analysis paper. Throughout the course considering core themes such as: the power relations evident in economic, ideological, and technological production of space; the relationship between memory, history, and landscape; emotion in and about space, and more. The course is recommended for motivated LAH undergraduates in any discipline, with an intellectual curiosity about cultural geography, spatial theory and Jewish Studies, but requires no previous knowledge on any of these topics. This course is experimental, highly interactive, and focuses on the writing process. 


The People, Place, and Space Reader, edited by Jen Jack Gieseking and William Mangold, with Cindi Katz, Setha Low, and Susan Saegert (Routledge, 2014). Available as a both a book and an e-reader. The volume brings together important writings of scholars, designers, and activists to examine how space and place are produced through large- and small-scale social, political, and economic practices. Introductions from the editors precede each section, contextualizing the texts, their significance, and the key issues surrounding the topic 

Other short, supplemental reading will be assigned, and posted on Canvas.