UMass Amherst
Judaic and Near Eastern Studies
 

Course Descriptions

 

Judaic Studies | Middle Eastern Studies

Hebrew & Yiddish courses are listed at the bottom of this page.

(All courses carry 3 credits unless otherwise noted.)

JUDAIC 101 The Jewish People I (AT) (4 credits)
A survey of the literature and culture of the Jewish people in the formative years of its history. Emphasis on the development of Judaism in the biblical, Graeco-Roman, and rabbinic periods. Final unit treats the Jewish life-cycle and the system of religious practices.

JUDAIC H101 Honors Colloquia for The Jewish People I  (1 credit)

Weekly meetings to discuss supplemental readings of primary historical and literary documents of various kinds. In-depth research paper concerning topic agreed upon with instructor. 

JUDAIC 102 The Jewish People II (G, HS) (4 credits)
The life and history of the Jews in the medieval and modern worlds. Topics include Jewish-Christian relations; development of Jewish philosophy and mysticism; Jewish life in Eastern Europe; the Holocaust; State of Israel; Jews and Judaism in North America.

JUDAIC H102 Honors Colloquia for The Jewish People II  (1 credit)

Weekly meetings to discuss supplemental readings of primary historical and literary documents of various kinds. In-depth research paper concerning topic agreed upon with instructor. 

JUDAIC 301 The Bible and Archaeology
The history and contents of the Hebrew Bible in the light of Near Eastern archaeology. Chronological approach; topics include ancient Near Eastern creation and flood stories, the patriarchal period, conquest of Canaan, the cities and kingdoms of Israel and Judah through the Hellenistic period.

JUDAIC 305 Judaism and Christianity in the Ancient World (HS)
First two-thirds: Jewish history and intellectual life from Alexander the Great to end of rabbinic period. Topics include meeting of Judaism and Hellenism, Jewish Hellenism in Alexandria, confrontation with Rome, formation of rabbinic Judaism. Last third: early Christianity: its origins, essential documents, and spread in first four centuries of Common Era.

JUDAIC 318 Family & Sexuality in Jewish History (G, HS) (4 credits)

An examination of transformations in the Jewish family and attitudes toward sexuality in Judaism, from antiquity to the present.  Topics include love, sexuality, and desire in the Bible and Talmud; marriage and divorce through the ages; position and treatment of children; sexuality and spirituality in the Kabbalah; sexual stereotypes in American Jewish culture and Israeli society.  Interdisciplinary readings draw on biblical and rabbinic literature, comparative Christian and Islamic sources, historical and scientific research on family and sexuality, and contemporary fiction.

JUDAIC 313 Transformation and the Jews: Jewish History through Biography
This course explores the accounts of individual lives as a means of understanding the past and gauging historical change through time. We will read autobiographies, memoirs, and biographies written from antiquity to the present century, from the biblical leader Nehemia and the Iberian poet Judah Halavi, to a mail-order bride in North Dakota and the 1960s radical and historian Tony Judt. Among the questions we will consider are the usefulness and pitfalls of first-person accounts as historical sources and the potential of the individual to both impact historical processes and represent them.

JUDAIC 319 Representing the Holocaust (G, AL) (4 credits)
Major writers, works, themes, and critical issues comprising the literature of the Holocaust. Exploration of the narrative responses to the destruction of European Jewry and other peoples during World War II (including diaries, memoirs, fiction, poetry, drama, video testimonies and memorials).

JUDAIC 322 American Diversity (HS, U)   (4 credits)

An exploration and analysis of American/U.S. history from the margins, focusing on groups that have been underrepresented in both historiography and popular consciousness.

JUDAIC 323 Jewish Utopia/Dystopia
This course considers the endeavors of Jews throughout the ages to imagine and/or found an ideal society or world.  Dystopia - the antithesis of utopian ideals - will also be explored.  There are no prerequisites for this course, but JUDAIC 101 or 102 are recommended for background.

JUDAIC 324 Slavery in Comparative Religious Perspective (G, HS) (4 credits)

A historical exploration and analysis of the institution and experience of slavery, from Greek and Roman antiquity to the present day.

JUDAIC 325 Jews, Christians and Islam in the Middle Ages (G, HS) (4 credits)
Jewish life, literature and thought in the Middle Ages. Social and intellectual life of Jewish communities in Muslim Spain and North Africa, as well as Christian Europe. Topics include Jewish-Gentile relations, everyday life, philosophy and ethics, mysticism and messianic movements.

JUDAIC 333 Jewish Philosophers of the 20th Century
Examination of major philosophical problems of contemporary Jewish existence in the modern world, including thought as seen through the writings of Buber, Rosenzweig, Heschel, Soloveitchik, Fackenheim and others.

JUDAIC 343 American Jewish Diversity

 

JUDAIC 344 Film and Society in Israel (AT, G) (4 credits)
This course uses cinema to introduce students to an array of issues that define Israel, such as foundation of Israel, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as ethnic, religious and gender identities. Discussion includes a brief survey of Israeli history and film-making. All film screenings are with English subtitles.

JUDAIC 345 The Making of Modern Jewry (G, HS)
The emergence of modern Jewish identity and culture, focusing on the socio-economic, political, and intellectual forces which led to improved treatment of Jews. Topics include: Hasidim, Enlightenment, and the impact of the French Revolution. Analysis of the implications of modernity for the Jewish community and family, the synagogue, secular Judaism, and Jewish-Gentile relations.

JUDAIC 350 Jewish Law and Society (G, SB)
Introduction to major issues in Jewish legal thought. Historical development of Jewish law and the interplay of religious, social, and moral considerations. Reading selected Talmudic texts in translation; focus on various ethical dilemmas. Students with sufficient Hebrew background, or desiring credit toward the Hebrew minor, may arrange to read texts in Hebrew.

JUDAIC 353 Sephardic Cultures and Literatures of the Spanish Diaspora
The literatures and cultures of Judeo-Spanish peoples from "Golden Age" Spain to contemporary America; "Sephardic" defined as all Jewish or secret-Jewish communities who either dwelled in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) or who do or did self-consciously trace their origins to that peninsula. All readings in English or in English-translation from the Hebrew, Spanish, Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), Portuguese, and German, with an option to read texts in the original languages.

JUDAIC 354 Jewish Theatre and Film

This course tells a cultural history of Jewish theatre and Jewish film.  The topics include:  performativity in Jewish ritual, Jewish drama, characters, audiences, theatre- and film-makers.  The focus is on issues of cultural, national and religious identity.  All readings and film excerpts are in English.

(formerly listed as  392O)

JUDAIC 360 Biblical Tales and Legends
Examines such Biblical figures as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Joseph, and others through the study of traditional midrashim as well as contemporary ones by Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Marc Geller and others.

JUDAIC 363 Negotiating Religion and State
Today, the question of the relation between Religion and State has returned to center stage. Although the relations of Religion and State have been negotiated differently across national boundaries and over time, this course will focus on the distinctive role of Jews and Judaism in shaping some of the basic terms of these negotiations. We will start by attending to the beginnings of this negotiation between Religion and State first by considering the Napoleonic “Sanhedrin” and then subsequent developments of the, so called, “Jewish question” in the emergence of the modern nation-states. We will then turn to the negotiation of the question of Religion and State in early modern philosophy and political thought and then focus on the emergence of new forms of Jewish nationalism, including Zionism. We will conclude the course with a consideration of the return of the question of the separation/relation between Religion and State in the modern State of Israel and its consequences for both religious and secular forms of Judaism.   A one-credit Honors colloquium is available.

JUDAIC 365 Antisemitism in Historical Perspective (G, HS)
Survey of antisemitism through its various stages of historical development, from ancient times to the present. Primary focus on the intellectual, religious, political, and social roots of Jew-hatred. Special attention to its impact on Jewish life and thought, and to the range of Jewish responses to antisemitism. Topics include: the Jews in Graeco-Roman society; medieval Christendom and Islam; the emergence of modern political and racial antisemitism.

JUDAIC 366 Modern Israel: History, Society, and Culture
The struggle to establish the State of Israel, focusing on the forces which have shaped contemporary Israeli society and culture. Emphasis on the ideological foundations of Zionism, its religious and intellectual roots, and its relationship to the rise of modern antisemitism. Topics include: Zionist ideologies; Kibbutz movement; British and U.S. policies in the modern Near East; Arab-Israeli conflict; religion and politics in modern Israel.

JUDAIC 373 Jewish Travelers & Travel Liars: Exploration & Imagination, Ancient to Modern Times (G, HS)
This course will explore the genre of travel literature from antiquity to modernity. Moving chronologically through time, we will consider travel accounts of both actual and imaginary Jewish journeys, all of which will be compared to contemporaneous Christian, Muslim, Pagan, animist, and atheist travel accounts. We will also look at texts written by gentiles who have traveled to sites of Jewish and general interest. These to be explored: "dwelling-in-travel" (nomadism); the lost ten tribes; the search for lands of refuge; Jewish emissaries (shlihim); religious pilgrimages; the Cairo genizah; distinctions between travel, voluntary migration, and forced migration; travel experienced by men as opposed to women; the effect of travel on Jewish consciousness and memory; and the mutually transformative effect of travel and cross-cultural encounters. The sweep of history will allow us to challenge the idea of globalization as a modern phenomenon.

JUDAIC 374 Culture and Immigration in Israel (G, HS) (4 credits)
The course will apply theories of intercultural communication and cultural studies to the context of interethnic relations in Israel. Among the topics to be covered are the history and politics of immigration to Israel; the connections between ideology and immigration; the major ethnic groups within Israeli society and their interrelations; and comparisons between Jewish immigration to Israel and other diasporas and repatriations.

JUDAIC 375 The Jewish Experience in America (U,HS)
The development of Jewish identity and social institutions in the United States examined in socio-historical perspective. Topics include immigration patterns, labor movement, Yiddish culture, religious innovations, women's experiences, interaction with American culture.

JUDIAC 376 Post-Holocaust Thought
In this course, we will study a range of philosophical and theological responses to the Holocaust, primarily - but not only - in the Jewish tradition. Some basic historical knowledge of the Shoah is required. The beginning of the course will focus on survivor testimonies as a starting point for philosophical and theological reflection. The texts treated represent a wide variety of approaches and positions. Students are encouraged to critically engage this diversity of understanding of the Holocaust and its aftermath by: (1) examining a given thinker's or text's assumptions about history, language, meaning, memory, God and tradition and (2) attending to the philosophical and theological consequences of these differing assumptions and interpretation.

JUDAIC 383 Women, Gender, Judaism
This course examines the ways in which the categories "woman/man," "feminine/masculine" and "gender" differently construe the character of Judaism. "Judaism" is here understood in religious, cultural and social terms. This is not a course that focuses primarily on questioning contemporary forms of Jewish women's identities, nor on filling-in the blanks of the "missing women" of Jewish history and tradition, although some attention will be paid to these matters. Rather, our main focus will be on historical constructions of women's gender roles and identities in Judaism and their cultural and social consequences. Three types of literature, therefore, will be important in this course: (1) primary religious texts about women and gender in Judaism: (2) interpretations and historical accounts of different periods and aspects of women's (and men's) gender roles in Judaism and Jewish culture; (3) current critical, feminist theories of discourse, culture and politics through which to problematize our readings of both primary and interpretative texts.   A one-credit Honors colloquium is available.

JUDAIC 385 The Jews of Eastern Europe (G, HS)

This course explores Jewish life in Eastern Europe from the perspective of cultural studies. Particular emphasis is on origins of Soviet-Jewish culture, ethnicity, and identity, interaction with the surrounding society, immigration, Jews under communism, Holocaust, and transformation of East European Jewish life in the twentieth century. Readings from various historical and literary sources; excerpts from film and media.

JUDAIC 390A Women in Jewish History
A survey of some recent works on Jewish women, analyzing them in terms of historiographic approaches. Focus on women as historical actors, how acknowledging women's experiences might change traditional periodizations of Jewish history, and how historians have used methods from other disciplines to uncover the role of women. Comparison of works on the roles of women in Jewish history to works on women in other specific subject areas.

JUDAIC 390B World Jewry Since 1945
A chronological view of the last fifty years of Jewish history. The Jewish experience in the U.S., Israel, and Europe from a political, social, and cultural perspective. The impact of the Holocaust, the founding of the state of Israel, the anti-semitic policies of the Soviet Union, the baby-boom generation, the resurgence of feminism and shifting notion of minority identity. Term paper involves primary source research into a topic in recent Jewish history.

JUDAIC 390C Jewish Mysticism
The esoteric dimension of Jewish thought and practice known as 'Kabbalah'. The rich symbolic language of kabbalistic consciousness, the mystical longings at the heart of Jewish spiritual devotion, and the esoteric elements of Jewish ritual and ethical practices. The historical development of the Kabbalah. Focus on the spiritual experience that is at the core of kabbalistic teachings. Includes group discussion of classical mystical texts, in English translation, that teach kabbalistic psychology, theology, and praxis.

JUDAIC 390G Women in Patriarchy
The image and status of women in patriarchal cultures from the perspective of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. Historical instances of patriarchy rooted in Judaism; the position of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women in ancient, medieval and modern times through a cross-cultural perspective and a social science orientation. The degree of personhood assigned to women by religious law and custom; the impact of the past on the contemporary western quest for equal participation of the sexes in public religious life.

JUDAIC 390I Popular Culture in Israel and Palestine

This course will examine Israeli-Palestinian relations through a lens of popular culture in order to give students an understanding of the region beyond news headlines.  The topics include cinema, TV, music, sports, food, literature, tourism, and printed and electronic media in Israel and Palestine.  The students will learn about major personalities and celebrities in both cultures, as well as about most popular movies, papers, songs, and other cultural products.  All readings and film excerpts are in English.

JUDAIC 390K Jews in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade

This course considers Jews in the age of the Atlantic Slave trade, a period stretching from 1441 through 1867. We will consider Jews as slaves, Jews as slaveholders, and rabbinical and laymen’s ideas about slavery. Specific topics include New Christian networks; Jewish slave owners in Brazil, the Caribbean and North America; African Jewish and Eurafrican Jewish slaves; Jewish involvement in abolition movements; and the depiction of Jews and slavery in contemporary film and fiction. We will also explore how enslavement (and its antipodes: freedom, manumission, or emancipation) have been variably defined and understood during this period. While the overarching discipline guiding this course is history, anthropological, sociological, and literary perspectives will also be considered.

JUDAIC 391B Jewish-American Literature and Culture
The multiple voices and themes of Jewish-American literature and culture, from the turn of the century to the present. Issues include early immigrant and "Americanization" experiences, Yiddish in America, women and the chains of tradition, the political novel, the Holocaust in the American mind, urbanity and suburbanity, humor, and fracture identities.

JUDAIC 391C The Proverb
The folkloric genre that has been characterized as "the minimal poetic utterance." Topics include the use of proverbs in various cultures, the connection between proverbs and other literary and folkloric genres, the poetic and linguistic structure of proverbs, the linguistic status of proverbs and related genres (proverbial comparisons, curses and blessings, taunts, riddles, etc.), and the role of metaphor in language and folklore. Material includes American, Russian, Polish, Yiddish, Yoruba, Maori, and other proverbs. All readings in English; students with a reading knowledge of another language encouraged to explore the relevant literature in that language.

JUDAIC 391E The Holocaust and Jewish Identity
Victims or Victors? This course will consider the question of Jewish identity after the Holocaust by asking: What's the role of anti-Semitism, assimilation, and affiliation in creating Jewish Diasporic identity? How feminism and gay rights impacted the post-modern Jewish narrative? What's the role of religion in constructing a post-Holocaust identity? Have Jews finally melted into the "American" pot?

JUDAIC 391F Jewish Women Writers
Feminists or Just Feminine? Seen but not heard? Just what is a “nice Jewish girl?” This course will explore the voices of Jewish women writers and their ethnically gendered narratives. Questions include the following: What does it mean for these writers to be Jewish and female? What role, if any, do Judaism, politics, and sexuality play in their writing?  A one-credit Honors colloquium is available.

JUDAIC 391M History of the Holocaust
Destruction of the Jews of Europe. Topics include antisemitism, the rise of Nazism, treatment of Jews within Germany between 1933 and 1939, plans for the “final solution” and their execution, life and death within the concentration camps. Lengthy readings, some of them emotionally taxing. Not recommended for freshmen. (Currently offered as HISTORY 387.)

JUDAIC 392D Judaism, Secularism, Modernity
This course sets in creative dialogue two key intervals in the rich history of Jewish American secular culture: the imaginative world of early 20th Century immigrant writers and makers of popular culture and their influence on contemporary Jewish American writers, filmmakers, and performance artists.

JUDAIC 392F Secularization in Modern Israel
This course will explore the relationship between religion, politics and emerging secular identities among Jews and non-Jews in pre-State Palestine and Israel, with a focus on the late 19th century through the present day. We will consider secularism through two lenses: Jewish identity and movements that are cultural and Jewish, but not necessarily religious, and Jewish identity and movements that are specifically secularly-oriented. This course will consider not only intra-ethnic Jewish relations but also interactions between Jews and their Arab (Muslim, Christian and Druse) neighbors as a way of tracking political movements and ideologies and identifying the modern emergence of secular, cultural and political identities. Readings will be from across the disciplinary spectrum, including history, literature and sociology.

JUDAIC 392K World Jewish Cultures
This course will focus on the literature of Jewish experience and thought in World Jewish cultures, including those in Europe, Africa, Israel and the United States.  Readings will provide a framework for understanding some of the critical issues of the Jewish Diaspora and modern experience, including identity, minority status and secularization.

JUDAIC 392L Jews of Muslim Lands: Responses to Modernity
This course focuses on the Modern era through the gaze of the Jews in Muslim lands. In this part of the world, modernization and secularization were introduced by European colonial powers. As such, Jewish responses did not grow organically out of changes within the larger society. Rather, they were a reaction to processes that were imposed from without. This course explores these reactions in a comparative context with a focus on the Jews of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

JUDAIC 392M The Jewish Labor Movement in America
A comparative and historical study of the role of Jews and Jewish secularism in the Labor movement in the United States, drawing on Labor history, primary sources, fiction, sweatshop poetry, and film.

JUDAIC 392N History of the Jewish Graphic Novel
The history of the Jewish graphic novel, including the role of Jewish secularism in its development, and major antecedents and related works including illustrated books, journalistic cartoons, and comics and sequential art.

JUDAIC 393B Comic Art in North America
An introduction to comic art, from the beginnings of the newspaper comic strip through the development of comic books, the growth of graphic novels, and current developments in electronic media. We focus on the history and aesthetics of the medium, comparison between developments in the United States, Mexico and French Canada, and the social and cultural contexts in which comic art is created and consumed. The first half of the semester concentrates on early comic strips and the development of the comic book form through the 1940s; the second on the social changes affecting comic art in the 1950s and 1960s, and the development of a comic book subculture in the 1970s and 1980s, and contemporary electronic media developments. Requirements: Reading knowledge of at least one language other than English, preferably Spanish or French. Same as ComLit 393B.

JUDAIC 393C International Graphic Novel
This course will examine contemporary works in the literary and artistic medium of the graphic novel, including works from the United States, Japan, Mexico, and Europe. The course will concentrate on the period between 1978 (when the term “graphic novel” was invented by Will Eisner for the publication of A Contract with God) and the present, combined with examination of antecedents to contemporary graphic novels and traditions of visual narrative in the popular and high arts. The first half of the semester concentrates on Surrealist and wordless graphic novels, the development of the European graphic novels from albums and aimed primarily at children to adult graphic novels on fantasy themes, the internationally influential politically aware historical and theoretical graphic novels of Mexico and the growth of autobiographical works in the U.S.A.’s Underground movement; the second on the social changes affecting comic art in the 1970s through 1990s, the reinvention of mainstream superheroes under the influence of the graphic novel form, historical and fantastic graphic novels from Japan, and the development of two major divisions in the U.S.A.’s graphic novels, naturalism and magic realism. Artists and writers whose work is studied include Eisner, Art Spiegelman, Alan Moore, Keiji Nakazawa, Osamu Tezuka, Rius and Frank Miller.

JUDAIC 394A Major Issues in Contemporary Jewish Life and Culture
An examination of major issues in contemporary Jewish life, with focus on the role of the past in the shaping of Jewish identity. Topics include: Israel and the Palestinians; Black-Jewish relations; Jewish life and culture in American society; the Jewish-Christian debate; the Holocaust as icon. Reconsiderations of these topics in the last quarter-century. Guest lectures and panel discussions.

JUDAIC 394C Ritual and Belief in Judaism
A detailed examination of the rituals of Judaism, their connection to belief, and their role in defining Jewish identity. Emphasis on the origins of rituals in text (biblical and rabbinic) and folk traditions. Special focus on rites of passage, including birth, marriage, and death; Jewish festivals; and prayer. Historical discussion of the differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic ritual; the impact of Kabbalah; the mechanics of memory; and the role of gender. Reading will include introduction to general ritual theory and comparative perspectives.

JUDAIC 395A Family and Sexuality in Judaism - (No longer offered as JUDAIC 395A; see JUDAIC 318) - 3 CREDITS
An examination of transformations in the Jewish family and attitudes toward sexuality in Judaism, from antiquity to the present. Topics include love, sexuality, and desire in the Bible and Talmud; marriage and divorce through the ages; position and treatment of children; sexuality and spirituality in the Kabbalah; sexual stereotypes in American Jewish culture and Israeli society. Interdisciplinary readings draw on biblical and rabbinic literature, comparative Christian and Islamic sources, historical and scientific research on family and sexuality, and contemporary fiction.

JUDAIC 397J Observing Jewish Cultures
This course explores questions about continuity and change in Jewish cultures, especially Jewish experiences of age, gender, and life transitions. The readings and class discussions aim to show how to answer these questions using methods of participant observation, interview, and collections of documents or objects.

JUDAIC 397R Jewish Folklore
The course will serve as an introduction to the study of folklore using Jewish materials. We will examine such genres as proverbs, folktales, folksongs, jokes, curses and blessings, folk theater, etc. Most of the material will be taken from the Yiddish tradition, but we will also consider examples of Biblical, Sephardic and Israeli folklore. All readings will be in English, but students with a knowledge of another language will be encouraged to make us of that knowledge.

JUDAIC 397V Archaeology of Israel and Palestine
In this course, we will explore the peoples who inhabited the region currently known as Israel and Palestine from the million-year-old first human presence in the area to the assimilation of the region into the circum-Mediterranean empire of Rome two thousand years ago. We will investigate the material culture of early non-sedentary societies, the first villagers, and the emergence and disappearance of urban and pastoral societies in the Bronze and Iron Ages. We will study these cultures within their environmental and cultural contexts, and take a close look at their contacts and interactions with societies in the neighboring regions of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean coast. In addition, we will discuss the cultural and academic trends underpinning the development of archaeological research in Israel and Palestine during the 19th and 20th-centuries, and the political issues that influence the practice of archaeology in the region today.

JUDAIC 398W Junior Year Writing Requirement (2 credits)
Completion of two credits mandatory. One two-credit course associated with a "writing-intensive" Judaic Studies course at or above the 300 level. Arrange with faculty member, approval by Chair.

JUDAIC 491C Freud & Interpretation
The Messiah "will come only on the day after his arrival..." (Franz Kafka)
As we approach the 21st century, questions of "new age" religions, messianism and millenarianism are being revisited by contemporary theorists such as Harold Bloom, Jacques Derrida, Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and others. The course provides a survey of some new apocalyptic thinking against the background of traditional early modern debates on religion in Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, Martin Buber, Franz Kafka, Primo Levi, Arnaldo Momigliano, Franz Rosenzweig, and Gershom Scholem, among others. Contrasts are drawn among different historical, literary, philosophical, psychoanalytic and deconstructive approaches to the problems of memory and mourning, and temporality and deferment as posed by Judaeo-derived religion. Special attention is given to the friendship and letters of Benjamin and Scholem and to the letters between Scholem and his mother, Betty. A close study is also made of the illuminating writings of Leo Strauss and Arthur Hertzberg and of the tragic work of Sarah Kofman, and Gilliam Rose. 

JUDAIC 497A The Writings of Elie Wiesel
The essays and fiction of Elie Wiesel, survivor of the Holocaust and Nobel Prize winner. Topics and themes include the Holocaust, Hasidism, Torah study, and the meaning of Jewish existence today. Some knowledge of Jewish history and customs recommended. Open to freshmen and sophomores with consent of instructor.

MIDEAST 392A   S-Semitic Linguistics I (3 credits)

Students of Hebrew and Arabic (linguistics background not required) will learn about these languages' evolution, structure, variation and contact using methods of comparative linguistics within the framework of Semitic languages.   Students should have one year of either Arabic or Hebrew language; no prior knowledge of linguistics is required.

 

Hebrew

HEBREW 110 Elementary Modern Hebrew I
Preparation for basic proficiency in speaking, writing, listening to, and reading Modern Hebrew. Emphasis on speaking. Language lab.

HEBREW 111 Elementary Biblical Hebrew I
Fundamentals of classical Hebrew grammar and vocabulary, introduced through the reading of select biblical texts. Language lab, written and oral assignments, quizzes, tests. No previous background in Hebrew necessary.

HEBREW 120 Elementary Modern Hebrew II
Continuation of HEBREW 110. Further preparation for basic proficiency in all four basic language skills, with emphasis on speaking. Language lab. Prerequisite: HEBREW 110 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 121 Elementary Biblical Hebrew II
Continuation of Hebrew 111. Hebrew grammar; facility in reading biblical texts. Class participation, written and oral exercises, quizzes, final. Prerequisite: Hebrew 111 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 126 Intensive Elementary Modern Hebrew I (6 credits)
Intensive approach to the acquisition of basic Modern Hebrew. Emphasis on oral communication, listening comprehension, reading, and writing, rather than on formal grammar. Language lab.  This class meets five days per week.

HEBREW 230 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I
Continues study of modern Hebrew; increases proficiency in conversation, listening, and writing skills. Adapted short stories, audiovisual aids. Language lab. Prerequisite: HEBREW 120, or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 231 Readings in Hebrew Bible
Readings in biblical prose and poetic passages; emphasis on Hebrew grammar, style, and vocabulary. Passages vary. Prerequisite: Hebrew 111, 121, or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 240 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II
Continuation of HEBREW 230. Further work in Hebrew conversation, listening, reading, and writing. Introduction to Hebrew word-formation. Adapted short stories, videotapes. Language lab. Prerequisite: HEBREW 230 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 246 Intensive Modern Hebrew II (6 credits)
Continuation of HEBREW 126. Further intensive work aimed at the acquisition of basic modern Hebrew; emphasis on listening and reading, comprehension, vocabulary study, and oral as well as written expression rather than on formal grammar. This class meets five days per week.  Prerequisite: HEBREW 126 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 298 Practicum (1-12 credits)
For advanced students in Hebrew. Application of knowledge of the language to a teaching or tutoring situation. Student submits proposal of project to instructor, and supplies weekly lesson plans and lesson evaluations. Summary report and evaluation of project required. Mandatory Pass/Fail. Consent of instructor required.

HEBREW 301 Advanced Modern Hebrew I
To improve third year students' grammar, vocabulary, and fluency through graded readings to advanced level of reading, listening, oral, and written proficiency. A structured approach to literature. Prerequisite: HEBREW 240 or 246 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 302 Advanced Modern Hebrew II
For third year students. Grammar, vocabulary, and fluency through graded readings to advanced level of reading, listening, oral, and written proficiency. A structured approach to literature. Prerequisite: HEBREW 301 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 312 Classical Hebrew Texts
Advanced biblical Hebrew; continuation of Hebrew 231. Some postbiblical Hebrew texts. Prerequisite: Hebrew 231 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 344 Hebrew through the Media I (3 credits)  (formerly HEBREW 290A)

Instruction of Hebrew through the use of: clips from Israeli feature films and from other video sources (TV programs, documentaries, etc.); radio broadcasts, popular songs and other audio recordings; newspaper items; and multimedia computer programs.  Most materials will be web-based, some on CD's/DVD's.  When available, the resources used will include interactive assignments.   Prerequisite: HEBREW 120 or 126.
A variety of proficiency levels will be accommodated, but at least two semesters of Hebrew are required.

HEBREW 345 Hebrew through the Media II (3 credits) (formerly HEBREW 290B)

Continuation of Hebrew 345.  Instruction of Hebrew through the use of: clips from Israeli feature films and from other video sources (TV programs, documentaries, etc.); radio broadcasts, popular songs and other audio recordings; newspaper items; and multimedia computer programs.  Most materials will be web-based, some on CDs/DVDs.  When available, the resources used will include interactive assignments.  A variety of proficiency levels will be accommodated, but at least four semesters of Hebrew are required. 

HEBREW 351 Readings in Modern Hebrew I
Selected short stories, adapted and abridged but maintaining the literary cohesion and flavor of the original pieces, starting from the "Revival" period. Emphasis on the Israeli short story. Prerequisite: HEBREW 240 or 246 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 352 Readings in Modern Hebrew II
Selected short stories, drama and novellas, adapted and abridged but maintaining the literary cohesion and flavor of the original pieces, starting from the "Revival" period. Emphasis on Israeli literature. Prerequisite: HEBREW 240 or 246 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 361 Modern Hebrew Literature I
Introduction to the modern Hebrew short story and to modern Hebrew poetry starting from the "Revival" period, with a concentration on Israeli short stories. Some Israeli nonfiction (satire, journalistic writing, etc.). Videotapes introducing Hebrew literary works and Israeli culture. Prerequisite: HEBREW 240 or 246 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 362 Modern Hebrew Literature II
Gradual introduction to literary forms other than short stories and poems, particularly novels and drama. Some readings from the "Revival" period; mostly more recent Israeli novelists and playwrights. Selected nonfiction pieces (satire, journalistic writing, etc.). Videotapes introducing Hebrew literary works and Israeli culture. Prerequisite: HEBREW 240 or 246 or consent of instructor.

HEBREW 398 Practicum (1-12 credits)
For advanced students in Hebrew. Application of knowledge of the language to a teaching or tutoring situation. Student submits proposal of project to instructor, and supplies weekly lesson plans and lesson evaluations. Summary report and evaluation of the project required at end of semester. Consent of instructor required.

HEBREW 411 Hebrew Linguistics
Introduction to major topics in Hebrew linguistics: concentration on Modern Hebrew phonology and morphology. Prerequisite: 3 years of Hebrew, Modern or Biblical or introductory linguistics, or consent of instructor.

Yiddish

YIDDISH 101 Elementary Yiddish I
Introduction to reading, writing, and speaking Yiddish as a step toward understanding the Eastern European Jewish cultural legacy. For beginning students with no prior knowledge of the language.

YIDDISH 102 Elementary Yiddish II
Continuation of YIDDISH 101. Prerequisite: YIDDISH 101 or consent of instructor.

YIDDISH 197A Introduction to Yiddish
An introduction to traditional East European Jewish folk culture through the medium of the Yiddish language. The course is designed to enable students to begin reading Yiddish literature (with a dictionary) and is not intended as an introduction to conversational Yiddish. Course materials include an outline of Yiddish grammar and annotated selections from Itsik Manger's witty retelling of Bible stories, Khumesh-lider. The Manger poems will provide both practice in reading Yiddish and material illustrating facets of East European Jewish culture.

YIDDISH 397A Readings in Yiddish Literature and Culture
An introduction to Yiddish literature with readings in English of selections from Yiddish prose, poetry, and non-fiction. Focus primarily on cultural analysis and only secondarily on literary analysis. Students with a knowledge of Yiddish may do some of the reading in the original in an associated Independent Study.

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