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Courses

jewish studies

Please note that not all of these courses will be offered every year. It is important to consult with one of the co-directors of the Jewish Studies Minor to decide on the best program of study.



History

HS 531 History of American Religion

HS 344 History and Historiography of Arab-Israeli Conflict



Music

MU 323 Musical Identity

No previous study of music is necessary.
Cross Cutural course for Music majors.
Offered periodically
Ann Morrison Spinney

What is your musical identity? In this course we will explore how musical styles signal identity to composer, performers and audiences. Case studies from diverse cultures, historical periods, and genres are grouped into topics, such as: music and place; music and gender; music and ethnicity. The concepts of subculture, nation, and race will be examined as they are expressed in music. Extensive consideration will be given to contemporary hybrid identities. Topics vary. The theoretical toolbox for this class includes anthropological and literary theories as well as very basic musical analysis.



Philosophy

PL 116 Medieval Religions and Thought
TH 116 01

Level 1 – Undergraduate Elective T Th, 9:00 a.m.
Stephen F. Brown

The medieval world of philosophy and theology was a multicultural world: Arabian, Jewish and Christian thinkers from the three great religious traditions adopted, adapted and shared the philosophical riches of the classical world and the religious resources of the biblical heritage. This course introduces students to the great Arabian thinkers: Alfarabi, Avicenna, Algazel and Averroes, the respected Jewish authors: Saadiah Gaon, Moses Maimonides and Gersonides, and the famous Christian writers: Anselm, Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas and the intellectual challenges from the Greek intellectual world that all three religious traditions met and faced in the Middle Ages.

PL 456 "The Holocaust: A Moral History"

Offered periodically
James W. Bernauer, S.J.

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.

PL 828 German-Jewish Thinkers
PL 828 01 German-Jewish Thinkers

Level – Graduate  W, 4:30 - 6:20 p.m.
James W. Bernauer, S.J.

The brilliance and tragedy of German (+Austrian)-Jewish culture is decisive for interpreting twentieth century experience. This graduate seminar will examine writings of some of its major thinkers including Arendt, Buber, Freud, Kafka and Strauss. Students will be encouraged to develop their own interest in a particular figure (not limited to the ones named here) or aspect of the culture. Graduate term paper and participation in the seminar are the requirements.



Romance Languages

RL 899 The Art and Craft of Literary Translation
Cross listed with SL 427, EN 675

Prerequisite: Knowledge of a Classical, Germanic, Romance or Slavic language beyond the intermediate level.
Permission of instructor required in the cases of Hebrew, Yiddish and other languages.
Literary translation as an art.
Offered periodically
Maxim D. Shrayer

Discussion of the history and theory of literary translation in the West and in Russia, but mainly practice in translating poetry or artistic prose from Germanic, Romance, Slavic, or Classical Languages, into English. Conducted entirely in English as a workshop. Instructor's permission required for undergraduates and for other languages.



Slavic

SL081 Continuing Modern Hebrew I
Cross Listed with TH 081

Prerequisite: SL 037
Offered biennially
Gil Chalamish

A study of the Hebrew language. The Hebrew alphabet, printed and script, and the acquisition of a basic vocabulary of 1,000 words, with simplified rules of grammar designed to facilitate the reading and comprehension of simple texts.

SL 082 Continuing Modern Hebrew II
Cross listed with TH 082

Prerequisite: SL 081/TH 081 or equivalent
Prerequisite: Elementary Hebrew I or equivalent. Completion of this course satisfies the undergraduate language proficiency requirement.
Gil Chalamish

As a continuation of Elementary Hebrew I, this course introduces the student to Modern Spoken Hebrew as well as to selected texts from the Old Testament, to familiarize the student with the language of Jewish religious literature.

SL 091 Biblical Hebrew I
Cross listed with TH 582

This course is a thorough introduction to Biblical Hebrew and its principal grammatical structures in preparation for translation of prose and poetic texts. Readings in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament begin the fall semester and increase in variety throughout the year. No previous knowledge of Hebrew is assumed.

SL 092 Biblical Hebrew II
Cross listed with TH 583

Avi Winitzer

This course is a thorough introduction to Biblical Hebrew and its principal grammatical structures in preparation for translation of prose and poetic texts. Readings in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament begin the fall semester and increase in variety throughout the year. No previous knowledge of Hebrew is assumed.

SL 147 Language, Memory and identity in the Middle East
Cross listed with SC 148

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement
Offered periodically
Franck Salameh

A broad-based overview of the role of language choice plays in the construction of national and cultural identity in the Middle East. We will examine the role of Modern Standard Arabic (or Fus-ha) in the elaboration of Arab Nationalism, and the role of local dialects in the conceptualization of competing national identities and territorial nationalisms. In particular, and in addition to Arab Nationalism and Zionism, we will examine the ideas of Greater Syria, the Egyptian Pharaonic idea, Lebanonism, Mesopotamianism, and the Canaanite movement in Israel.

SL 150 States and Minorities in the Middle East
Cross listed with SC 150

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement
Offered periodically
Franck Salameh

A general survey of Middle Eastern minority narratives within the context of the modern Middle East state system. The course will examine such topics as the political and cultural make up of the Middle East, the status of minorities, minority narratives, and minority rights.

SL 291 Near Eastern Civilizations

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement
Offered periodically
Franck Salameh

This course explores the peoples, places, and events of the so-called "Cradle of Civilizations," the Near East. It surveys the cultural, political, religious, social, and intellectual evolution of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Canaan, Israel, and Arabia, from ancient times to the present. The course examines shared cultural patterns and practices, as well as distinguishing aspects of the peoples of the Near East.



Theology

TH 001 Biblical Heritage

Satisfies Theology Core requirement
No exceptions: You must take both sections of Biblical Heritage (TH 001 and TH 002) to receive Core credit.
The Department

The Bible has been an influential and often fundamental source for many modern, Western views of God, nature, human beings, a just society, and the origin and destiny of humanity and the world. An intelligent, serious reading of the Bible raises most of the perennial questions that have traditionally stood at the center of philosophical and theological debate. Thus, a thorough analysis of Biblical texts in terms of the central concerns of the Core curriculum will be the primary goal of the Biblical Heritage.

TH 037 Intro to Hebrew I
Cross listed with SL 037

Gil Chalamish

This is a course for beginners in Hebrew, with attention to both Biblical and modern Israeli Hebrew. The course is intended to develop the ability to read Hebrew prose and poetry and to set a foundation for both conversational and compositional skills.

TH 038 Intro to Hebrew II
Cross listed with SL 038

Gil Chalamish

A course for beginners in Hebrew, with attention to both Biblical and modern Israeli Hebrew. The course is intended to develop the ability to read Hebrew prose and poetry and to set a foundation for both conversational and compositional skills.

TH 081 Continuing Hebrew I
Cross listed with SL 081

Offered biennially
Gil Chalamish

A study of the Hebrew language. The Hebrew alphabet, printed and script, and the acquisition of a basic vocabulary of 1,000 words, with simplified rules of grammar designed to facilitate the reading and comprehension of simple texts.

TH 082 Continuing Hebrew II
Cross listed with SL 082

Prerequisite: TH 081
Offered biennially
Gil Chalamish

See course description listed under the Slavic and Eastern Languages Department.

TH 161 Religious Quest I

Satisfies Theology Core requirement
Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement
No exceptions:
You must take both sections of the Religious Quest I and II (TH 161 and TH 162) to receive Core credit.

Please see specific instructor's section for additional information.

The Religious Quest explores the individual and communal search for wisdom about human nature, the world, ultimate realities and God, secrets of love and death, also enduring values to live by and paths to spiritual maturity. Although each section is different, likely themes include symbols, myths, doctrines, rituals, holy texts, saints, comparisons and contrasts among traditions, relevance of classical religious traditions to issues in today's world, interreligious dialogue today, and religious diversity in the Boston area. Each section brings the Biblical and Christian tradition into conversation with at least one other religious tradition.
Catherine Cornille - Hinduism
Natana DeLong-Bas - Islam
Audrey Doetzel - Judaism
Ruth Langer - Judaism and Catholicism
Aloysius Lugira - African Religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism
John Makransky - Buddhism
H. John McDargh - Judaism, Buddhism
James Morris - Judaism, Christiantiy, and Islam

TH 162 Religious Quest II

TH 351 Faith Elements in Conflict

Raymond Helmick, S.J.

Religious differences appear often to figure in the dehumanization of enemies and rationalization of violence. This course will look at the way key concepts such as revelation, election and universality in various religions, especially in sectarian guise, affect the origins and progress of violent conflicts, and will ask to what extent such employment of these concepts betrays the religions themselves. It will also examine how far the institutional interests of religious bodies make them vulnerable to manipulation by other parties engaged in any given conflict, and how the religious elements and loyalties relate to other interests that figure in such conflicts.

TH 352 Israelis & Palestinians: Two Peoples, Three Faiths

Satisfies Cultural Diversity Core requirement
Raymond Helmick, S.J.

The parties in the Middle Eastern Conflict came, in 1993, 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 in 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.

TH 407 Prophets, Visionaries, and the Apocalypse in Biblical Israel

Prerequisite: Biblical Heritage I, Introduction to the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible or equivalent. Reading knowledge of Hebrew welcomed but not required.
David Vanderhooft

An in-depth introduction to prophecy in ancient Israel with attention to the origins and development of the institution, the role of the prophet in society, and the diverse messages of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Book of the Twelve. Students are introduced to modern exegetical methods in reading prophetic literature.

TH 428 The Ten Commandments: Biblical and Contemporary Ethics

Rabbi Rifat Sonsino

This course is sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
In this elective we shall study the Ten Commandments in light of biblical, rabbinic, and modern Jewish interpretations of the sages, with specific emphasis on the moral issues of our time requiring difficult choices.

TH 436 Heschel’s Heavenly Torah

Ruth Langer

Abraham Joshua Heschel's work, Heavenly Torah as Refracted Through the Generations, explores the role of revelation and the interpretation of revelation in Judaism. Because the work is only newly available in English, it is little studied. We will explore it together as a seminar, using it also as an introduction to the rabbinic concepts of Torah on which he draws.

TH 449 Jewish Liturgy: History and Theology

Ruth Langer

Embedded in rabbinic prayer is a concise statement of Jewish theology. After an examination of the precursors of rabbinic prayer and of the development of the synagogue as an institution, this course will examine the structures and ideas of the prayers themselves as they have been received from the medieval world. This will create a context for a deeper discussion of some key Jewish theological concepts as well as a comparison of Jewish and Christian liturgical traditions.

TH 466 Intro to Judaism

Rabbi Rifat Sonsino

This course is sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
In this elective we shall study the historical development, the belief system, the main practices as well as the major points of contacts of Judaism with Christianity and Islam throughout the centuries.

TH 477 Biblical Theology: God, Covenant, and Prophecy

This course is sponsored in part by the Jewish Chautauqua Society.
Offered periodically
Rabbi Rifat Sonsino

The Hebrew Bible does not represent a systematic theology but reflects a variety of approaches on subjects such as God, Covenant and Prophecy. This course will focus on the religious and social factors that contributed to the evolution of these concepts through the years up to the early rabbinic period.

TH 482 Hitler, the Churches, and the Holocaust
Cross listed with HP 259, HS 460

Offered periodically
Donald J. Dietrich

This course will examine the anti-Semitism and nationalism that weakened the churches' response to Hitler's policies. It will also analyze the theological and institutional resistance that emerged in response to totalitarianism and to the Holocaust as well as consider the post-Holocaust paradigm shift in theology.

TH 531 Abrahamic Family Reunion

Raymond Helmick
Rodney Petersen

The purpose of this course is to explore initial family relationships and the religious issues and tensions that drive these social and political dynamics. Abrahamic Family relations have enormous implications in shaping the 21st century for good or for ill. Jews, Christians and Muslims are commonly referred to as members of the Abrahamic family of faith. Each faith tradition looks to Abraham as progenitor. Christianity and Judaism experienced a "parting of the ways" in the second to the fourth century. Islam emerged as a further prophecy and self-perceived clarification of earlier prophetic witness in the seventh century (610 A.D.). Today, at the heart of political and military tension in the Middle East and elsewhere are deep issues of religious identity that are either specific to this family of faiths or particularly exacerbated within the relationships among them.

TH 572 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew I

Prerequisite: Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II, or equivalent
Offered periodically
The Department

The course begins with a refresher of the basic grammar learned in an Introduction to Biblical Hebrew I and II. Students will deepen their familiarity with Hebrew grammar and syntax. Strong emphasis is placed on reading and translating narrative selections directly from the Hebrew Bible. Texts for study will include passages from Genesis, Samuel, Jonah, and Ruth, among others.

TH 573 Intermediate Hebrew II

Prerequisite: Three semesters of college level Biblical Hebrew, or equivalent.
Offered periodically
The Department

The course builds on the grammar and syntax learned in Intermediate Biblical Hebrew I. Students will develop more sophisticated knowledge of Hebrew grammar and syntax. Students will refine their ability to read Hebrew prose narratives in the first part of the course. In the second part, students will be introduced to Hebrew poetry. Selections from the Psalms and Prophets will dominate course readings.

TH 582 Introduction Biblical Hebrew I
Cross listed with SL 091

No previous knowledge of Hebrew is assumed.
The Department

This course is thorough introduction to Biblical Hebrew and its principal grammatical structures in preparation for translation of prose and poetic texts. Readings in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament begin the Fall Semester and increase in variety throughout the year.

TH 583 Introduction Biblical Hebrew II
Cross listed with SL 092

No previous knowledge of Hebrew is assumed.
The Department

This course is a thorough introduction to Biblical Hebrew and its principal grammatical structures in preparation for translation of prose and poetic texts. Readings in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament begin the Fall Semester and increase in variety throughout the year.

TH 826 Introduction to the Hebrew Bible

A survey of the Hebrew Bible in its ancient Near Eastern context, focusing on historical and religious ideas and on the literary expression of those ideas. Participants are introduced to methods and results of modern critical biblical scholarship, but attention is also paid to the traditions of biblical interpretation in Judaism and Christianity.
Rabbi Rifat Sonsino