J S 301 • Intro To Jewish Studies

38625 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM MEZ 2.124
EGC (also listed as ANT 311D, MES 310, R S 313D)
show description

A hybrid two-way interactive course with a combination of classroom lectures and live-streamed discussions

Course Description

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.

The weekly rhythm of the course is generally as follows: On Mondays and Wednesdays, various faculty associated with Jewish Studies will visit the classroom and deliver lectures concentrating on their period, geographical area, and field of research as they relate to the thematic unit at hand. Fridays are a series of lively, fast-paced, interactive meetings, led by students. 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.

Course flags

This course carries both a Global Cultures and Ethics 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 non-U.S. Jewish groups, past and present. Courses carrying the Ethics Flag equip you with the tools necessary for making ethical decisions in your adult and professional life. Courses carrying this flag expose you to ethical issues and to the process of applying ethical reasoning. This course exposes students to Jewish Ethics and its application.

J S 304M • Jewish Civ: Begin To 1492

38630 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 304
GC (also listed as HIS 306N, MES 310, R S 313M)
show description

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 into 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 initiated the need for continued existence in exile as well as 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).

J S 311 • History Of Israel

38640 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM GDC 4.302
(also listed as HIS 306N, MES 310)
show description

Check back for updates

J S 311 • Intro To The Old Testament

38635 • Wells, Bruce
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ B0.306
GC (also listed as CTI 305G, MES 310, R S 313C)
show description

This course will examine the biblical traditions and texts of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament as products of particular historical and cultural communities—namely, ancient Israel and Judah—and 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 ask to what degree these texts and their authors were influenced by historical and cultural factors.

J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, Islam

38634 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.122
EGC (also listed as R S 304)
show description

Check back for updates

J S 362 • Indep Rsch In Jewish Studies

show description

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

J S 363 • Jewish Identities: Americas

38642 • Lindstrom, Naomi
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 0.108
CDGC (also listed as LAH 350)
show description

This course is designed to acquaint students with the work of Jewish creative intellectuals from the United States, Latin America, and Canada, examined in a comparative perspective. Most of the examples that we will study are literary texts and films, though there will be some material on the visual arts and song lyrics. The course starts with a historical overview of Jewish immigration to all three regions and moves on to sample texts by Jewish authors from the first half and middle years of the twentieth century before moving on to its main topic, the abundant and constantly-evolving Jewish cultural production of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

            Each student will write a research paper 2000 words in length on some aspect of U.S., Canadian, or Latin American Jewish cultural production. The students’ papers should not be on the same works listed in the course syllabus and discussed in class, though they may be by the same authors or film directors.

             Readings and films:

 The readings for this course will either be posted in Canvas or else available for free download from the Internet. The scenes from films will be shown by the instructor.


The readings are short stories, poems, and excerpts from novels, and will include:

Abraham Cahan, “A Providential Match”

Alberto Gerchunoff, sketches from The Jewish Gauchos

  1. Klein, selections from his poetry

Clarice Lispector, “Where Were You Last Night?”

Philip Roth, “The Conversion of the Jews”

Saul Bellow, “The Bellarosa Connection”

Cynthia Ozick, “The Pagan Rabbi”

Samuel Rawet, “The Prophet”

Leonard Cohen, song lyrics

Moacyr Scliar, excerpts from The Centaur in the Garden

Alicia Steimberg, excerpts from Musicians and Watchmakers

Margo Glantz, excerpts from The Family Tree

Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”

Jonathan Safran Foer, excerpts from Here I Am

In addition, we will view scenes from films with Jewish themes by U.S., Latin American, and

Canadian directors. Depending on availability, these will include clips from

one early film, The Jazz Singer (dir. Alan Crosland), as well as a couple of

recent ones, such as A Serious Man (dir. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen) and

The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (dir. Cao Hamburger)

Grading Criteria:  proposal for term paper, 14% (250 words)

                            first examination, 20%

                            final version of term paper, 40% (2000 words)

                            quizzes 6%

                            second examination 20%



J S 363 • The Book Of Job

38643 • Yoo, Philip
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.210
GC (also listed as CTI 375, MES 342, R S 365)
show description

Although widely known as the story of the innocent sufferer, the book of Job is far less known in its details. Scrutinizing the conventional view of a righteous and moral world order under the deity’s full control, the book of Job puts humans to the test as it addresses whether or not people can remain upright when aggrieved. The book of Job also puts the deity (God) to the test as it weighs the deity’s negligence in failing to deal properly with the wicked and the righteous. As a literary work composed in the the distant past, we will consider the book of Job's quality as ‘wisdom literature’ as we carefully examine the words, experiences, and actions of its characters as well as consider who, if anyone, had the knowledge to offer the “correct” explanation for God’s (in)actions. This course will also explore how the book of Job continues to speak to past and present thinkers who, through their very own experiences, grapple with the problem of evil and its continued presence in a world that is created and ordered by the deity, one who we want to be good.


  • Any one of New Oxford Annotated Bible, 5th ed (2018); or 4th ed (2010); or Jewish Study Bible, 2nd ed (2014); or Harper Collins Study Bible, rev. ed (2006).
  • Larrimore, Mark. The Book of Job: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2013).
  • Wiesel, Elie. Night (Hill and Wang, 2006).
  • Selected readings from Testament of Job; Qur’an; Milton; Maimonides; Calvin; Luther; Kant; Frost


  • Attendance and participation (15%);
  • Short reading reports (5 x 5% each = 25%);
  • Paper proposal (10%); Draft Paper (15%);
  • In-class presentation (5%);
  • Final Paper (30%)

J S 364 • Intro To The Holocaust

38660 • Lichtenstein, Tatjana
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM JGB 2.216
EGC (also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, REE 335)
show description

Please note: “Introduction to the Holocaust” is an upper-division history course with a substantial reading and writing component.


This course on the Holocaust examines the mass killing of Jews and other victims in the context of Nazi Germany’s quest for race and space during World War II.  Using sources that illuminate victim experiences, perpetrator perspectives, and bystander responses, we investigate the Nazi racial state, the experiments in mass killing, the establishment of a systematic genocidal program, collaboration and complicity, resistance and rescue, as well as the memory of the Holocaust in western culture.


Doris Bergen, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (2nd edition)



Marion Kaplan, Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany

Lianna Millu, Smoke over Birkenau


Gitta Sereny, Into that Darkness: An Examination of Conscience


Attendance and Participation: 20%

Tests incl. final exam: 35%

Essays: 45%

J S 364 • The Church And The Jews

38665 • Bodian, Marion
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 1.126
GC (also listed as EUS 346, HIS 362G, R S 357)
show description

This course will examine the complex relationship between the Church and the Jews over two thousand years. It will analyze Christian ideas and policies regarding Jews as expressed in both elite and popular culture. We’ll examine various sources, including theological texts, canon law, church art, and popular preaching. We’ll consider how the Church’s powerful anti-Jewish teachings provided a basis for restrictive legislation and violence against Jews, even if Church authorities sometimes acted to protect Jewish communities. The course emphasize the factors that led to striking changes in attitudes and policies over time, with emphasis on how the theological legacy was adapted in the face of changing realities. It will examine the consequences of the Protestant Reformation and conclude with a look at the radical shift in the perspective of the Catholic Church in the 1960s, with the documents issued by Vatican II.


  • Revised Standard Version of the Bible (any edition)
  • The course will make used of a website designed specifically for it by the instructor. The website includes many of the readings. Other assigned readings will be posted on Canvas.


  • Class attendance and participation (10%)
  • participation on Discussion Board (20%)
  • two 1-3 pp. assignments (20%)
  • mid-term exam (20%)
  • final exam (30%)


J S 365 • Amer Jewish Material Cul

38675 • Seriff, Suzanne
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM SAC 4.118
(also listed as ANT 325L, R S 346)
show description

This upper level course explores the multiple ways in which Jews in America publically depict themselves — or are depicted by non-Jews — in American museums and other public institutions such as world’s fairs, archives, synagogues, and historic homes, now and over the past century. We will focus especially on the material culture — books, artifacts, architecture, ceremonial objects, jewelry, souvenirs, cookbooks, head coverings, sports memorabilia, and everyday household objects — through which these institutions and exhibitions tell stories and make meaning about Jews in America. Following material culture scholar, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, we will pose the question, “What does it mean to show?”— or, in this case, to show, “Jewishly?” Is there such a thing as a “Jewish Museum?” What—and who—are they for? Are they just a holding place for relics of the past? Do they perpetuate the idea that Jews are a vibrant, complex, but strange people that used to dwell amongst us, but don’t anymore? We will take a look “behind the scenes” of these institutions to explore the powerful messages conveyed not only by the objects themselves but by the specific ways in which these objects are grouped, labeled, interpreted and displayed for a public audience— both Jewish and non-Jewish alike. What is the role of museums and other such institutions to define or construct the parameters of a people’s life, religion, civilization, history, or culture? Drawing from the fields of folklore, anthropology, American Studies, Jewish studies, religious studies, and museum studies, we will consider how makers, owners, users, curators, collectors, and civic leaders re-create and re-negotiate new meanings for Jewish material culture objects, especially as they are carefully lifted from their originally intended contexts of prayer, celebration, memorialization, or commemoration, and re-purposed for a new life of education, entertainment, aesthetic enjoyment, performance, or exhibition in American museums and public institutions. This class includes field trips, guest speakers, and fieldwork-based research for a final class presentation.

J S 365 • Holocaust Aftereffects

38679 • Bos, Pascale
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 337
GC (also listed as C L 323, GSD 360, WGS 340)
show description

Description: The events of the Holocaust changed Western culture in fundamental ways. Not only was a great part of Jewish culture in Europe destroyed, the circumstances of the Nazi genocide as a modern, highly rationalized, efficient form of mass murder which took place in the heart of civilized Europe changed the conception of the progress of modernity and the Enlightenment in fundamental ways. This course explores the historical, political, psychological, theological, and cultural fall-out, as well as literary and cinematic responses in Europe and the U.S. to these events as they first became known, and as one moved further away from it in time and came to understand its pronounced and often problematic after effects. Central to our inquiry is the realization that the events of the Holocaust have left indelible traces in European and U.S. culture and culture production, of which a closer look (first decade by decade, then moving on to a number of themes and questions), reveals profound insights into current day culture, politics, and society.

Required Texts: Levi and Rothberg, The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings; Art Spiegelman, Maus I ⅈ Ruth Klüger, Still Alive: a Girlhood Remembered; Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz; Elie Wiesel, Night; Additional course packet Films: Nuit et Brouillard; Holocaust (excerpts); Shoah (excerpts); Schindler's List (excerpt)

Grading Policy: Attendance/participation 15% Response papers (2) 10% Class presentation 10% Presentation paper 15% Midterm exam 20% Final research paper 30% (proposal, bibliography, outline + 1st, 5% each, paper: 15%)

J S 365 • Relg Ethics/Human Rights

38670 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 304
E (also listed as GOV 365N, R S 373C)
show description

Course Description:

Do religions support human rights or conflict with human rights?   This course examines the grounds for human rights, and the relations between rights and religions.  Can religions reinforce human rights to protect against genocide, torture and disappearances, hate speech, and discrimination?  Can religious leadership within religions effectively combat violence against women, even when the violence is upheld by that same religion?   Students will study religions as providing grounds for human rights, as sometimes challenging conceptions of human rights, and as needing protections through human rights.  With this basis in the relations between religion and human rights, students will study the significance of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, and the following application of international human rights since the mid-twentieth century.



J S 365D • Cultural Geographies Israel

38680 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM MEZ 2.122
GC (also listed as ANT 322G, MES 341)
show description

A hybrid, two-way interactive course with a combination of livestreaming
and classroom meet-ups

This multidisciplinary, interactive, hybrid seminar is designed to foster conversation and creative projects about the cultural geography of Israel between upper-division students with interests in Jewish studies, Middle Eastern studies, anthropology, and geography. What makes this course unique is that it about 50% of the course is taught online from Israel by Dr. Amy Weinreb. To enhance absorption of course
texts, students will have the opportunity to virtually join the instructor in various locations in Israel throughout the semester using Zoom, and also GoPro technology. The aim is to bring Israel’s contemporary spaces, places and landscapes to life visually.