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Winter 2011

All auditing subject to instructor approval and available space.  Classroom location posted two weeks before the beginning of the term at  Syllabi available on first day of class.  For further information contact


Hst 399 Rabbinic Culture in the Roman World

Prof. Loren Spielman

Winter 2010

After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, Jewish society experienced a radical transformation.    From the ashes of the now defunct cult in Jerusalem, a new form of Judaism emerged rooted in the study and interpretation of sacred texts and centered around the life of the Rabbinic sage.   A flourishing of literary activity during the first seven centuries of the Common Era produced the foundational texts of Rabbinic Judaism, the Mishnah,  Midrash and Talmud, which continue to give shape to modern Jewish practice and belief.  Through a survey of this rich and textured literature,  this course will examine the roots of the Rabbinic movement.  Asking critical questions about who these rabbis were and what they promoted as their core practices and beliefs, we will devote special attention to the ways these early rabbis related to other segments of ancient Jewish society,  reacted to the emergence and spread of Christianity and negotiated living in the predominantly pagan environment  of the Greco-Roman city.


HST399 History of Zionism to 1948

Prof. Natan Meir

Winter 2010

Zionism, defined as “the national liberation movement of the Jewish people,” has brought about a revolution in Jewish life over the past
century and a half. This course will examine Zionism as both nationalist ideology and practical solution to the so-called “Jewish
Question” in Europe.  Beginning with an overview of Jewish history and of the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth century, we will examine early forms of Zionism in Eastern and Central Europe, the many different forms of Zionism (and other types of Jewish nationalism) that emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, and the beginnings of settlement in Palestine/Eretz Israel.  We will explore the society and culture that the Zionism movement created under the British mandate of Palestine, and understand the roots of the Arab-Jewish conflict in this context.  We will also examine the impact of Zionism on Jewish life and politics in Eastern and Central Europe and in the United States.


HST405E/505E  Colloquium on East European Jewish History

Prof. Natan Meir

Winter 2010

Eastern Europe was one of the great centers of Jewish civilization in the early modern and modern periods. This reading colloquium explores the society that Jews created, a world unto itself but also closely interlinked with the surrounding Slavic and Christian society. Topics include the structure of Jewish community, Jewish religious culture, socioeconomic patterns, individual and corporate identity, and modern political and literary developments from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Geopolitical contexts will range from the early modern Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union.

This course is the prerequisite for the subsequent research seminar on the history of the shtetl (HST407/507E), offered in the Spring term. Although this colloquium can be taken as an independent course, history majors who take both it and the following 407 seminar on the shtetl will fulfill their two-seminar requirement (see 2010 new requirements for the history major). History majors who have taken this reading colloquium will have priority for enrollment in the 407 seminar on the shtetl.

Rst 299 The Religion of Ancient Israel

Prof. Loren Spielman

Winter 2010

The stories and legal codes of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament have profoundly influenced religion and ethics for over two millennia.  Placing the writings of the Bible in their Ancient Near Eastern context, this course investigates the various sources and traditions of Israelite religion which shaped the Bible over the long period of its production. The course is taught from an interdisciplinary perspective, which includes geography, history, archaeology, language, literature, and religious studies.Students will gain knowledge about the history and formation of the Hebrew Bible and be exposed to ancient ideas about community, sanctity, social justice, prophesy, wisdom, and the nature of human suffering.


WINTER TERM (Jan 3 – Mar 13)

ENG 308U Messiahs in Modern Jewish Literature (Weingrad)
MW 2:00-3:50

HST 399 Rabbinic Culture in the Roman World (Spielman)
MW 14:00-15:50

HST 399 History of Zionism (Meir)
TTh 10:00-11:50

HST 405/505 Readings in Jewish History: The Shtetl (Meir)
Th 2:00-5:00

HST 410/510 History of Antisemitism (Maizels)
TTh 14:00-15:50

RST 299 Religion of Ancient Israel (Spielman)
TTh 10:00-11:50

HEB 102 First Year Hebrew (Yariv)
MWF 9:00-10:05

HEB 202 Second Year Hebrew (Yariv)
MWF 11:30-12:35

HEB 302 Modern Hebrew Readings (Yariv)
MWF 2:00-3:05


Course schedule for Spring 2011 (Mar 28 - June 5)