J S 304N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present

39365 • Bodian, Marion
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 1.126
(also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N, R S 313N)
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This is the second half of a two-semester survey of Jewish civilization. It begins with a brief discussion of Jewish history from earliest times, but focuses on the period from Spain’s Expulsion of the Jews in 1492 to the present. We will examine the major movements of Jews within an expanding diaspora, the impact of the Reformation, the changing attitudes to Jews, the breakdown of traditional authority in Jewish communities 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 capitalist 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 over time, in a variety of historical contexts.

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.

Two quizzes (20%), first mid-term (20%), second mid-term (20%), final exam (40%).

J S 311 • Intro To Jewish Latin America

39370 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 2.410
(also listed as ANT 310L, LAS 315, R S 313)
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Course Description

What can we learn about Latin American social worlds when we look at the place of Jews within it? Conversely, what we learn about Jewish social worlds when they unfold in Latin America? This course examines both of these questions. Specifically, we consider the role of Latin America as both a refuge from and a source of anti-Semitism, a hub of immigration, a site of Zionism, and of Jewish success and philanthropy. We also address themes of displacement, longing, belonging, marginalization, prejudice, immigration, community, cultural continuity, and memory, while considering Sephardi and Ashkenazi difference, and inter-generational conflict among Jewish Latin Americans. Overall, through reading, writing exercises, independent research and in-class films, the course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how Jews constructed individual lives and vibrant communities in predominantly Hispanic, Catholic countries of Latin America.

With these themes in mind, the course is divided into four units: 1) Historical literacy is a substantive introductory unit, which provides basic context from 1492 until the post-World War II period; 2) Jewish group identities in Latin American features readings on Jewish life and cultural forms in select national contexts (e.g. Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic and others); 3) Memoir and personal narrative engages students in critical reading of creative non-fiction and ethnography that focuses on individual lives; 4) Contemporary realities explores current events, contemporary trends and popular culture in Jewish Latin America. Finally, over the course of the semester, drawing on course motifs, students will produce their own research papers addressing a specific research question in the Latin American national context of their choice.

Core Readings

  • The Other 1492: Jewish Settlement in the New World by Norman H. Finkelstein (iUniverse 2001)
  • The Jews of Latin America by Judith Laikin Elkin (Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library 2011)
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Latin American Jewish Tales by Nadia Grosser Nagarajan (University of New Mexico Press 2005)
  • Kosher Feijoada and Other Paradoxes of Jewish Life in São Pauloby Misha Klein (University Press of Florida, 2012)

Grading Scheme

  • 2 Tests (25% each)
  • Final Paper (30%)
  • Participation (10%)
  • Discussion Leadership (5%)
  • 1 Reading Response Memo (5%)

J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, & Islam

39375 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 101
(also listed as CTI 304, HIS 304R, ISL 311, R S 304)
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This course asks students to recognize the ethical implications of the ways we talk about religion – both our own religion (if any) and those of others. Choosing definitions for religion is an ethical choice with social, political, and civic implications; the goal of this course is to assist students in becoming self-conscious about that choice. In so doing, students will improve their ability to tolerate and reduce moral disagreements about religious beliefs and practices, something that is at the heart of practical ethics education. Specifically, the ethical issues in this course encourage students to: • reflect on different definitions of religion, to choose which ones appeal to them, and to explore their implications • analyze the ways in which religions form “communities of memory,” to consider in what ways these communities create boundaries that both enclose and exclude • understand the different ways that religions have historically intersected with with politics, with science, and with culture •consider how these intersections might influence the students’ perceptions of religion and the ways in which religion is presented in contemporary media and popular culture.




  • John Corrigan, Frederick Denny, Carlos Eire, Martin Jaffe, Jews, Christians, Muslims:  A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions  (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1998)
  • Documents and readings on the Canvas site. 


  • The HarperCollins Study Bible, ed. Wayne Meeks
  • The Qur’an. Trans. M. A. S. Abdel Haleem.  (Oxford, 2004).
  • Grading

The course requirements are the following:

  • Reading response journal: 20% 
  • Short paper on definition of religion: 5%
  • Quizes : 25%
  • Midterm essay: 25%
  • Final essay: 25%

J S 311 • The Rise Of Christianity

39380 • White, L
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 212
(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 363 • Persuasion Bible Time/Place

39395 • Charney, Davida
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM PAR 103
(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. 



  • 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 • Anti-Semitism In Hist & Lit

39405 • Hoberman, John
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 337
(also listed as EUS 346, GSD 361L)
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Please check back for updates.

J S 364 • Germany Since Hitler

39400 • Crew, David
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM 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.)
*Doris Bergen, War and Genocide, A Concise History of the Holocaust(Rowman and Littlefield,2016-third edition)
*Edith Sheffer, 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)
Peter  Schneider, The Wall Jumper. A Berlin Story (Chicago,1983)
We will also be working intensively with documents and images on this Website
All written assignments for this course are evidence based and must be footnoted according to Chicago Manual of Style guidelines

The assignment are:
(1)You will be required to write one longer analytical essay(6-8 pages).To complete this assignment you will need to respond to the prompt by using the relevant primary source materials from the Website, “German History in Documents and Images” http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/ as well as those assigned readings that you consider relevant to the particular prompt you have chosen. This assignment is worth 30% of your final grade (Due date=TBA)

(2)In addition, you are each required to give two in-class reports(details to follow) on images I will select from the Websites of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, https://www.ushmm.org/ and  from “German History in Documents and Images”
http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/home.  To complete these assignments you will need to do research on the provenance, historical context and use of each image.
Each in-class presentation should be sent to me as an essay (2-3 pages in length)no later than one week after you present in class. (These assignments are each worth 15 % of your final grade)

(3)the final assignment for this class is to construct a Power Point(or alternative program) presentation on a specific theme or period  covered by this course using relevant documents and images you have selected from the Website, “German History in Documents and Images” http://germanhistorydocs.ghi-dc.org/ (20% of your final grade/details to be discussed in class). Due no later than the end of the day in May on which a final exam would be scheduled for this course.

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 • Origins Of Monotheism

39404 • Wells, Bruce
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM MEZ 1.120
(also listed as MES 343, R S 358)
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The leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, claims that Jews, Christians, and Muslims worship the same God. A professor at a Christian college in Illinois was essentially let go by the college in 2016 for making the same claim. The college judged the claim to be wrong. So, who’s right—the pope or the college? Although history cannot settle the theological dispute, it can shed important light on the question. This course looks at where the idea of a single God came from. Like many ideas, this notion has a long and complicated history, and the course explores where and how it all began. The primary focus will be on understanding the emergence of the Israelite god, Yahweh, belief in whom became the foundation for the world’s three major monotheistic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. How did Yahweh go from being revered as one god among many to being considered the one and only God? And is this the “God” worshipped by Jews, Christians, and Muslims today? The course will look at texts from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Transjordan, and the ancient city of Ugarit in Syria. The Ugaritic texts, in particular, provide important insight into many of the ideas that shaped the development of Yahweh-worship in ancient Israel. Students will discover how the idea of monotheism developed over time and explore the question of its value and legacy.

J S 364 • The Dead Sea Scrolls

39410 • Kaplan, Jonathan
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 1.106
(also listed as AHC 330, CTI 375, HIS 364G, MEL 321, MES 342, R S 353D)
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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.



J S 365 • Multicultural Israel

39415 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLM 5.116
(also listed as ANT 325L, MES 341)
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Course Description
Israel has the highest proportion of migrants of any country in the world. The notion of absorption—the social and economic integration of Jewish immigrants—has remained an explicit ideal since the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. Yet, absorption is also an ideological tool that often runs counter to the contemporary lived experience of citizenship, participation, nation building, minority rights, and the conflicting interests of today’s multicultural publics. Taking these tensions as a starting point, this course explores the complex social fabric that comprises contemporary Israeli society, and that shapes Israeli identity, practice and politics. We will focus on the lived experience of Israel’s increasingly diverse population. This includes populations associated with the majority: veteran Ashkenazim and Mizrahim; more recent Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Latin America and France; religious communities such Haredim and modern-Orthodox. It also includes ethnic and religious minorities such as Arab-Israelis/Palestinians, Bedouins, Christians, Muslims, Druze, and Black Hebrews, as well as laborers from all over the globe who migrate to Israel and refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. How fluid are boundaries between these groups? How different are their interests, tastes, desires and needs? How committed are various publics to a coherent nation-building project and to contemporary Zionism? To explore the breadth of multicultural Israel without sacrificing cultural specificity and theoretical depth, the course is organized into three integrated units: a) historical background of Israel and its populations; b) Israel’s citizen-state relationships, identity and belonging, and c) ethnographic case studies of Israel-specific multicultural issues, and general contemporary multicultural theory.

Core Readings

  • Jews in Israel: Contemporary Social and Cultural Patterns edited by Uzi Rebhun and Chaim Waxman (Brandeis University Press 2004).
  • Israel/Palestine (second edition) by Alan Dowdy (Polity Press 2008)
  • Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship by Gershon Shafir and Yoav Peled (Cambridge University Press 2002)
  • The Multicultural Challenge in Israel by Avi Sagi and Ohad Nachtomy (Academic Studies Press 2009).

Grading Scheme

  • Active, intellectually rigorous participation in seminar component: 10%
  • 2-page reading response papers (3 total, each one 3.3% of your grade): 10%
  • 2 in-class tests (25%, 25%): 50%
  • Annotated bibliography assignment: 30%