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Jewish Studies Program

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The Jewish Studies Program is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program. The academic departments currently involved in this effort include History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and more.

Program of Study

The Jewish Studies Program consists of many courses offered directly through the program, as well as courses in other departments that cover related topics. The program is hoping to soon provide a minor and certificate options for students. It does not have a major option.

Minor in Jewish Studies

The Jewish Studies Program now offers an undergraduate minor. To earn a Jewish studies minor, students will need a total of 18 credit hours in Jewish Studies courses. Students must complete at least one of the core Jewish Studies courses: JSTU 381, Jewish History I: Late Antiquity to 1500; JSTU 382, Jewish History II: 1500 to the Present; or JSTU 373: The Holocaust. In addition, students must complete five (5) Jewish Studies program elective courses.

Examples of Previous Courses Offered

Course  Course Description

Introduction to Judaism

This course offers an overview of Jewish experiences, beliefs, practices from a contextual point of view.

Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

This course is a modern study of the Hebrew Bible from historical, literary, and archeological points of view. Reading and analysis of texts in translation are included. Course content offers a critical study of the literature of the Old Testament emphasizing its historical development and meaning in the life of ancient Israel.

Literature and Film of the Holocaust

This course offers a critical study of the literature and film related to the history and development of the Holocaust. Film, poetry and literature created in response to the Holocaust as the means for a decades long cultural discussion, in European and American societies, of the moral and religious implications of the Holocaust on our self-understandings as religious and moral beings. 

American Jewish History 

Examination of experiences of Jews in the United States from Colonial Period to late 20th century, especially Jewish immigration, political behavior, social mobility, religious affiliation, group identity formation, and meaning of Anti-Semitism in American and global contexts.  


Examples of Courses with Jewish Studies Content

Course Offering Course Description

Women and Shoah: Memory, Memoirs, and Memorials (Comparative Literature course)

This course will survey a number of memoirs by first-hand victims and second-generation Shoah witnesses. Using the vast theoretical body of work produced in the last 30 years on trauma, post-memory, feminist voices in autobiographical narratives, we will analyze works by women who live in Europe, the United States and Israel and examine the ways in which these authors have dialogued with, challenged and affected the Shoah canon and the contemporary practice, discourse and politics of memorialization.

Fiction: Biblical Echoes in Modern Culture (English course)

Starting with the Enlightenment, this course will look at the way in which modern literature, art and culture has dealt with the question of God, Justice and the human bond—taking inspiration from or issue with the way in which these concepts are problematized and represented in the Hebrew Bible. We will compare how the Judaic ethical and philosophical tradition as formulated in the Bible has influenced the Western canon and is echoed in modern Jewish and non-Jewish texts.

The Bible in History: Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible from the Rabbis to America (History Course)

Even before the books of the Hebrew Bible were written down, different people have held different arguments for how to read and interpret it. This course will delve into the sea of interpretations of the Bible, with particular emphases on competing interpretations through time and space. We will start with the investigation of how the Bible became an authoritative book and how different parts of the Bible already interpret earlier parts, we will move on to classical Jewish interpretations of the Bible, the approaches to the Hebrew Bible in early Christianity, the place of biblical interpretation in early Islam, and we will conclude the course with modern interpretations of the Hebrew Bible, particularly in America.

Holy Women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Religious Studies course)

Over the centuries, holy women have inspired the faithful and they continue to fascinate: The 2007 publication of a posthumous edition of Mother Theresa’s Be My Light , for instance, challenged popular images of the conservative saint of the slums and was widely discussed in secular media. The ideal of holiness has taken many forms, inspiring increased piety, martyrdom, monasticism, mysticism, and social activism. An examination of holy women from various traditions will disclose the diverse ways in which particular communities have understood and practiced essential elements of holiness.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.