Jewish Studies & Hebrew First Year Courses

DirectorB. Stahlberg
PROGRAM SITE

The Jewish Studies Program at Colgate encompasses a wide range of studies in Jewish religion, history, politics, and arts. In recognition of the complex interaction between religion and culture in Jewish life, and the diversity of Jewish historical experience, Jewish studies at Colgate is necessarily interdisciplinary. The Jewish studies minor makes use of faculty and course offerings in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and university studies, and encourages students to explore their particular interests, be they religious, literary, or political.

Courses

 

Teach modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel and are designed for students who are interested in developing oral and written Hebrew skills. The course is helpful to those who are interested in deeper knowledge of Jewish culture and wish to improve their knowledge of Hebrew for religious studies. Designed for students with no previous Hebrew background and students who have learned to read phonetically without comprehension.

Teach modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel and are designed for students who are interested in developing oral and written Hebrew skills. The course is helpful to those who are interested in deeper knowledge of Jewish culture and wish to improve their knowledge of Hebrew for religious studies. Designed for students who have completed HEBR 121 or have equivalent knowledge.

Continuing course for students who have completed HEBR 122 and for students with equivalent or advanced knowledge of modern Hebrew. These courses aim at enhancing the students' reading, writing, comprehension, and speaking skills and involve extensive teaching of grammar. Instruction tools include audiovisual materials, popular texts, Israeli newspapers, and exercises in the language laboratory.

Covers representative works of fiction by Italian, French, English, Russian, Hungarian, American, Canadian, and Israeli Jewish writers. Not all nationalities are covered in the syllabus for any given year. Discussion centers on a close analysis of the novels, comparing individual and national responses to the Jewish 20th-century experience. By including fiction written across Europe, North America, and Israel, while limiting the time frame to the years following World War II, the question of whether there exists one or more approaches to fiction that are characteristically Jewish is addressed. All readings are in English translation.

Comparative scriptural analysis or what is now called "Scriptural Reasoning." The focus will be on close readings of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur'an with an eye to common themes and differences. Students will engage in a comparison of interpretive traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam to see how particular scriptural passages are understood in the religious traditions. The course will also spend time studying the ways in which scriptural reasoning has been used as a form of religious conflict resolution and peace-building in situations of conflict in the UK and Middle East.

Judaism is a dynamic religious tradition that has developed many forms during a more than 3000-year history that has spanned nearly the entire globe. Students in this course consider how Jewish communities from the biblical period to the present day have shaped their practices and beliefs within their own specific historical circumstances. Students read primary sources such as the Bible, the Talmud, the Zohar, midrashim, prayers, response literature, and philosophical and theological discussions. In an effort to understand the ways in which Jews have lived their lives religiously, students explore how Jewish self-identity, textual traditions, and religious practices combine to define “Judaism.”

An introduction to Middle Eastern politics, including historical foundations of the modern Middle East, competing strategies of state building, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf War, the rise of political Islam, and American policy toward the region.

An introduction to Middle Eastern politics, including historical foundations of the modern Middle East, competing strategies of state building, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Gulf War, the rise of political Islam, and American policy toward the region. (CO)

Based on comparative scriptural analysis or what is now called "Scriptural Reasoning." The focus will be on close readings of the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qur'an with an eye to common themes and differences. Students will engage in a comparison of interpretive traditions in Judaism, Christianity and Islam to see how particular scriptural passages are understood in the religious traditions. The course will also spend time studying the ways in which scriptural reasoning has been used as a form of religious conflict resolution and peace-building in situations of conflict in the UK and Middle East.

As a minority culture, throughout history, Jews and Judaism have always been subject to the influence of the majority cultures in which Jews have found themselves. In response to the shocks of modernity, ruptures, scientific advancements, and philosophical ideas and challenges, Jewish thinkers, culture, and individuals formulated responses—religious and otherwise. In Experiencing Judaism, students will explore how Judaism has responded to modernity, the “age of secularism.” To wit, students will focus on distinctively modern expressions of Judaism: the range of denominations, their historical origins, ideologies, and attitudes to Jewish law and its development, secularism, religious and secular Zionism. Students will explore these developments through primary texts within their historical contexts to better understand contemporary Judaism as it is expressed and practiced, mainly in North America and Israel, as a religion and also as a culture.