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Current Academic Year's Courses

center for christian-jewish learning

SPRING 2014

TH 162 Religious Quest: Comparative Perspectives
This course explores Judaism and Christianity through their points of apparent contact as well as their differences. The spring semester focuses on the creation narratives of Genesis, studying the two communities; interpretations of the biblical text and how it and its interpretations shape people's lives. It considers such topics as birth and death, marriage and reproductive ethics, ecology, economic justice, and the Sabbath. (Ruth Langer, Jillian Maxey, Emma O'Donnell)

TH 436 Exploring the Theology of Abraham Joshua Heschel
A refugee form the Nazis, Abraham Joshua Heschel became one of the most beloved and influential Jewish theologians of his day. He advised the bishops in formulating their new teachings about Jews and Judaism at the Second Vatican Council, he marched with Martin Luther King in Selma, he protested the Vietnam War, and he dialogued with other leading Christian theologians. This course will be an exercise in comparative theology, engaging key elements of Heschel's writings and the Judaism expressed in them in order to investigate their potential for contributing to the self-understanding of Christians and practitioners of other religions. (Ruth Langer)

PL 447 Fascisms
This course explores the birth and development of fascism as political cultures. (James Bernauer, S.J.)

TH 581 Religion, Arts, & Politics (Cross Listed with FA 581 and HS 150)
Nowadays, we accept the idea that religion, like so much else, is political. It makes sense, then, that visual culture, which can be used, situated, manipulated, and exploited in the service of religion can serve to affirm and in some cases to subvert the political messages of religion. This class will explore examples of the collusions of religion, art, and politics, as well as their collisions in the productions of majority and minority culture in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the West, from antiquity to postmodernity. (Marc Epstein)

FALL 2013

 

TH 161 Religious Quest: Judaism and Christianity
This course explores Judaism and Christianity through their points of apparent contact as well as their differences. The fall semester focuses on Exodus and Matthew and their functions as the "master stories" of their communities, shaping self-understandings and ritual lives. The spring semester delves into the creation narratives of Genesis, studying the two communities' interpretations of the biblical text and how it and its interpretations shape people's lives. It considers such topics as birth and death, marriage and reproductive ethics, ecology, economic justice, and the Sabbath. (Ruth Langer, Jillian Maxey, Emma O'Donnell, Rifat Sonsino)

 

TH 352 Israelis and Palestinians: Two Peoples, Three Faiths
In 1993, the parties in the Middle Eastern Conflict came to a watershed agreement, which had eluded them earlier, to recognize one another's legitimacy as peoples. The agreement has been difficult to maintain and to withdraw and has figured massively into the turbulent events in the region since that time. This course examines how, in the whole history of the conflict, the elements of ethnicity and faith have contributed to the hatreds and resentments of these peoples and the extent to which mutual acceptance and respect at these levels of faith and ethnicity can contribute to healing the conflict. (Raymond Helmick, SJ)

 

TH 437 Jewish and Christian Approaches to the Bible
Although Jews and Christians share many scriptural texts (the Christian "Old Testament," the Jewish Tannakh), they often understand them differently. This course explores the ways that Jews and Christians have interpreted key texts, separately and together, over two millennia of learning from and disputing with each other. Students will themselves engage in interreligious learning while learning about ancient Israeli's scriptures and studying methods of biblical interpretation from late antiquity to today. (Ruth Langer, David Vanderhooft)

 

TH 587 Early Christianity in its Jewish Context
This course surveys the Jewish context of early Christian literature and history through close analysis of primary texts. We begin with the origins of Jewish sectarianism in the second century BCE and study the development of various Jewish and Christian sects, concluding with Jewish and Christian groups in the second century CE. We will explore how closely related, and in many cases inseparable, Christian and Jewish identities were well into the second century CE. (Yonder Gillihan)

 

TH 611 Hebrew Exegesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls
This course begins with exegesis of the Hebrew text of the three "Rules" found in the Qumran caves and in the Cairo geniza: the Community Rule (1QS), the Rule for the Congregation (1QSa), and the Damascus Rule (CD). We will also survey passages from other sectarian texts devoted to interpretation of scripture and history, esp. the pesharim. Students with ability to read Aramaic will read selections from the Aramaic DSS that complement the Hebrew texts, and all will read the entire corpus of non-biblical mss. in English translation. (Yonder Gillihan)

 

PL 456 The Holocaust: A Moral History
The tragic event that ruptured modern western morality will be examined from a variety of perspectives. We shall study the testimony of both its victims and its perpetrators. Special attention will be given to consideration of the intellectual and moral factors which motivated resistance or excused indifference. We shall conclude with interpretations of its meaning for contemporary morality and of its theological significance for Christians and Jews. (James Bernauer, S.J.)

 

PL 809 Arendt and Foucault: A Dialogue
This seminar will bring these two thinkers into conversation on such major themes as power, ethics, war and violence and philosophical spirituality. (James Bernauer, S.J.)