J S 304N • Jewish Civ: 1492 To Present

38970 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 2.112
GC (also listed as EUS 306, HIS 306N)
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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.

J S 306E • The Rise Of Christianity

38975 • Smith, Geoffrey
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 2.128
(also listed as C C 318, R S 318)
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This course examines two main lines of history in the Rise of Christianity: first
that of Jesus and the early Christian movement itself, and second, that of the “book” (meaning the New
Testament) that tells the story of the earliest Christians. How did it happen? Where did they come
from? When did they begin to call themselves “Christians,” and why did they do so? How do the New
Testament writings fit into this picture? Where did they come from? What do they mean? 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.

The 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.

J S 311 • Judaism, Christianity, Islam

38980 • Leach, Nathan
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 224
EGC (also listed as ISL 311, R S 304)
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This course explores the early social-historical development, sacred texts, and principle narratives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In particular, we will focus on the tensions between conceptualizations of religion-wide unity and local diversity (e.g., Judaism or many Judaisms?), between formulations of “orthodoxy” and “heresy,” and between competing articulations of “insider” and “outsider” identities (e.g., Christians vs. “pagans”). 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 component of human culture.



J S 311E • Comparative Religious Ethics

38985 • Schofer, Jonathan
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM MEZ 2.124
E (also listed as R S 306C)
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Course Description:

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.



  1. Three short papers, 2 pages each; each 15% of the course grade (45% total; Due Feb. 9, April 4, and April 25)
  2. Midterm exam, closed-book, in-class (20%; on March 5)
  3. Final Exam, closed book, in-class (20%), at date, time, and room set by the Registrar
  4. Class Participation (15%)


Required Books (available at the University Co-Op Bookstore; other readings will be distributed through Canvas):

1) Fasching and DeChant, Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics (2nd edition)

2) Markham, Do Morals Matter? A Guide to Contemporary Religious Ethics (Wiley Publishing)

3) Sen, The Idea of Justice

J S 363 • Jewish Folklore

38995 • Gottesman, Itzik
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM TNH 2.139
GCWr (also listed as ANT 325T, GSD 361W, R S 357P)
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Dybbuks, golems, evil eye are just some of the more well-known aspects of Jewish folklore, but this course will also examine the folklife of the Jews, their world view, their folk beliefs and fears. Call it folk religion if you will; many of these practices were dismissed by the "offical" Jewish religion as unJewish, but the "folk" persisted and eventually the practice became Judaized and accepted.

Using literary sources, ethnographic memoirs, historical documents, films (among them "The Dybbuk" 1939), folklore collections and field trips (among them - to the oldest Austin Jewish cemetery), we will focus on what makes Jewish folklore Jewish. Among the folklore genres to be examined -folktale, legend, folksong, folk music, custom, belief and of course, Jewish humor.

J S 363 • Jewish Identities Amer: Hon

39000 • Lindstrom, Naomi
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CAL 221
CDGC (also listed as LAH 351T)
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            This course is designed to acquaint students with the work of Jewish intellectuals, musicians, film makers and other creative figures from the United States, Latin America, and Canada, examined in a comparative perspective. Most of the examples that we will study are short stories and films; we will also look at comedians and popular music. The course starts with a historical overview of Jewish life in all three regions 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 1850 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, film directors, musicians, or comedians.


            Readings and films:


The readings for this course will be posted in Canvas. The scenes from films will be shown by the instructor and the link provided to students.


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%



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


Philip Roth, “A Defender of the Faith”


Saul Bellow, “Cousins”


Cynthia Ozick, “The Pagan Rabbi”


Samuel Rawet, “The Prophet”


Leonard Cohen, song lyrics


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


Gary Shteyngart, excerpts from Little Failure


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)



J S 364 • Jews: Nation Or People

39005 • Lustig, Jason
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM JES A218A
GC (also listed as HIS 366D, MES 343)
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Classical Zionism declared the Jewish people a nation in need of a state, “a people without a land for a land without a people.” Today, some claim that Jewish nationhood was a fiction created with political goals in mind. This course considers the nature of nations: Are they real or imagined, “organic” or invented? Examines how history has been used and abused for political purposes in the history of Zionism, Israel/Palestine, and beyond.

J S 365 • Contemporary Jerusalem

39010 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 2.502 • Hybrid/Blended
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Jerusalem has a 3,000-year history and remains a holy city to three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, but given this framework, what is life like in today’s contested, rapidly growing, increasingly diverse Jerusalem? After concluding a short unit on the city’s history, students will focus on contemporary Jerusalem and design individual inquiry projects, with the support of classmates in one of six working groups: a) Culture and daily life; b) Urban planning and design c) Local organizations and social movements; d) Tourists and pilgrims; e) Business and economy; f) Health and wellness.  The course is unique in that it is taught on location from Jerusalem, where I can provide footage of sites of interest and connect you to student liaisons from our partner program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Our liaisons can introduce you directly to community members, organization leaders, residents, and academics to enrich analysis and facilitate cultural understanding.

J S 365C • Multicultural Israel

39020 • Weinreb, Amelia
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GDC 4.302 • Hybrid/Blended
GC (also listed as MES 341)
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How can we understand the lived experience of Israel’s increasingly diverse population? How can we explore the complex social fabric of contemporary Israeli society that shapes Israeli identity, practice, and politics? We address these questions in this unique course by teaming up with students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who are either members of Israel’s multicultural populations or are studying marginalized groups within Israel to join us for discussion, interviews, and activities throughout the semester in a Global Virtual Exchange classroom.

J S 679HB • 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.