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Summer 2015 On-Campus Seminar

Summer 2015 On-Campus Seminar

Sunday, July 12, 2015 to Thursday, July 16, 2015


Distance Learning doesn't mean
you need to learn alone!

Join your professors and fellow students
in Chicago for this summer's on-campus
Jewish Studies Seminar.

The Summer 2015 On-Campus Seminar is for students in the
Spertus Jewish Studies master's and doctoral programs.
It offers core, concentration, and elective courses in
Jewish history and thought.

Morning Courses
(Sunday 2-4 pm and Monday-Thursday 9 am-1 pm)

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Jews, Angels,
and Demons from the Bible to the Zohar 

Course #4132 
Dr. Leonard Greenspoon 

3 quarter hours of credit

  • For MSJS, fulfills concentration and elective course requirements
  • For MAJS, fulfills second-level core and concentration course requirements
  • For DSJS, fulfills text and elective core course requirements
  • DJS students interested in this course, please contact
    Dr. Dean Bell

Within the Hebrew Bible, angels make occasional appearances, most frequently during the patriarchal period and in Daniel’s visions of the End Time. In the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman periods, there was a proliferation of such beings (both good and evil) in certain literary and religious circles, and an almost complete absence of references to them in other sources. We will look at all relevant texts and seek to discern the religious, cultural, political, and historical circumstances in which these developments took place. We will also explore later reflections on angels among exegetics, philosophers, and mystics. Where appropriate, videos will be viewed.

Haskalah: The Jewish Enlightenment and its Impact
Course #4347A
Dr. Joshua Shanes 

3 quarter hours of credit

  • For MSJS, fulfills concentration and elective course requirements
  • For MAJS, fulfills second-level core and concentration course requirements
  • For DSJS, fulfills elective core course requirements 
  • DJS students interested in this course, please contact
    Dr. Dean Bell

This course examines the Jewish expression of the Enlightenment, known as the Haskalah, from its Western European (especially German) origins in the eighteenth century to its East European "descendants" lasting through the nineteenth century. Using both secondary and primary sources, we will look closely at the ideology of Jewish Enlightenment and its major spokespeople. We will consider its religious and social impact on Jewish history, including religious change, Jewish emancipation, and the birth of modern Jewish politics.

Afternoon Courses 
(Sunday 4:30-6:30 pm and Monday-Thursday 2-6 pm)

Political Leadership in Ancient Israel
Course #4114
Dr. Rachel Havrelock 

3 quarter hours of credit

  • For MSJS students, fulfills concentration and elective course requirements
  • For MAJS students, fulfills second-level core and concentration course requirements
  • For DSJS students, fulfills text and elective core course requirements
  • DJS students interested in this course, please contact
    Dr. Dean Bell

Many different forms of political organization and leadership have roots in the Hebrew Bible. The twelve tribes of Israel influenced tribal societies, the Catholic priesthood modeled itself on the Kohanim, the Davidic dynasty sanctified European monarchies, and the American Republic based its founding documents on Deuteronomy. This course focuses on the various types of leadership outlined in the Bible and reflects on their reception and influence. East of the five sessions will be devoted to particular figures: warriors, prophets, kings and queens, priests, and tribal leaders. In addition to biblical texts (in translation) that discuss male and female leaders, we will consider contemporary writing about powerful figures in the Tanakh. Historical scholarship provides the background for considering why these offices developed as they did. We will move beyond ancient Israel to consider the continued impact of these roles, and the tensions among them, with discussions highlighting how contemporary politics influences understandings of the Bible and how biblical forms of government continue to inspire political movements.

Understanding the Character and Achievement of the Hebrew Prophets and Interpreting their Moral and Spiritual Teachings
Course #4133
Dr. Elliot Lefkovitz 

3 quarter hours of credit

  • For MSJS, fulfills concentration and elective course requirements
  • For MAJS, fulfills second-level core and concentration course requirements
  • For DSJS, fulfills text and elective core course requirements
  • DJS students interested in this course, please contact 
    Dr. Dean Bell

This course will begin by defining what is a Hebrew prophet and describing the prophets’ most salient teachings. We will first focus on Moses, the greatest of the prophetic personages, including his importance in Christian and Islamic teaching, then will explore subsequent stages of Hebrew prophetic succession. We will examine orientations one can take in interpreting prophetic texts with a specific focus on the book of Jonah, analyze prophetic views regarding the question of theodicy and the vindication of divine justice in the face of the existence of evil. Prophetic views will be compared and contrasted with those of key post-Holocaust Jewish theologians. We will discuss which aspects of the prophets' courageous, morally sensitive, and engaged critique of the social order of their day can be applied to contemporary American society. Finally, students will share which prophet they find most personally engaging and which prophetic spiritual and ethical values they find most relevant for their lives.

Doctoral tuition is $400 per quarter hour credit.
Master's tuition is $350 per quarter hour credit.
Seminar registration fee is $25.

Registration deadline is June 15, 2015.
Register Now!

Message from the Dean

Dear Jewish Studies Students:

This Seminar offers exciting courses with skilled and accomplished faculty. As noted on the course listings, these offerings meet a variety of masters and doctoral program requirements.

Chicago is a beautiful city to visit in the summer, making this a wonderful time to attend a seminar. Participation will give you dedicated time to advance your studies, engage with faculty and your peers, and enjoy five days specifically devoted to your pursuits.

If you have questions or 
would like to discuss course
selection, feel free to contact me
directly at dbell@spertus.edu.

I look forward to seeing you this summer!

Dean Bell

Dr. Dean P. Bell
Provost and Vice President
Spertus Institute

Joining us for the seminar?

Here are links to nearby hotels
and our neighborhood hostel.

Hotel Blake >
500 S. Dearborn Street, Chicago
312.986.1234 
Special rate for registered students.

Essex Inn >
800 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
312.932.2800

Best Western Grant Park >
1100 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
312.922.2900

Hostelling International Chicago >
24 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago
312.360.0300

For New Students

Spertus Institute offers graduate programs in Jewish Studies through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction. Students — from half a dozen foreign countries and more than two dozen US states — come to Spertus for week-long academic seminars. Seminars include a range of courses in Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts.

Seminars are intended for admitted students. Applications for the Spertus Jewish Studies graduate programs are accepted all year!  MORE>







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