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Jewish Studies Calendar

Jewish Studies Calendar

Synchronous Webconferencing Courses

Join a line-up of impressive Spertus faculty members and your fellow students to learn together in real time.

These courses fulfill requirements for students enrolled in Spertus Institute's Jewish Studies MA and Doctoral programs. 

Contact Spertus Institute Registrar Victoria Blum at if you have questions relating to your registration.

January Seminar Course



Taught by Dr. Simeon Chavel

Meets via Zoom | 9 am-11 am and 12 pm-2 pm Central Time
Sunday-Thursday, January 10-14, 2021

Course 3337 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Elective, DSJS Text, DSJS Elective, DHL Text, DHL Elective

In his Theological-Political Treatise (Holland, 1670), Benedict Spinoza made the case that one cannot read and understand the Bible apart from the medium in which it was composed, and through which one encounters it—literature. Scholars of the Hebrew Bible rarely truly embrace it as literature. Neither do literary theorists, who seldomly develop their concepts through biblical texts. In this course, students will develop a basket of concepts about what makes literature literature: what it is, what it does, and how it works. We will explore Jakobson’s functions, Harshav’s internal frame of reference, Smith’s natural vs. fictive speech, Genette’s paratext, Rimmon-Kenan’s narrative poetics, and Bakhtin’s dialogism. We will read biblical texts of different genres and endeavor to describe how they work and what they are trying to do, delving into stories of creation and law in the Torah, prophecy in Isaiah, praise and petition in Psalms, prose philosophy vs. poetic proverb in Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), and storytelling and justice in Job.

January seminar course registration deadline is December 1, 2020.
Please contact Registrar Victoria Blum if you have not registered and are interested. 

January Seminar Course

Spring Courses

Hebrew books

Taught by Spertus President and CEO Dr. Dean P. Bell

Course 3500 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJPS Core

For DSJS students, this course is titled

Course 5348 | 3 quarter-hours credits
Fulfills DSJS Core

Meets via Zoom | Tuesdays, 6-8 pm Central Time
February 2, 2021 to March 23, 2021 (8 Total Sessions)

Jewish Studies as an academic discipline is in some ways a relatively new endeavor. As an interdisciplinary field, it draws from a broad range of scholarly methodologies, covers a dizzying array of topics, and utilizes many genres of source materials. As such, Jewish Studies is an amalgam that tells us quite a bit about Jews and Judaism (both past and present) as well as the current state of the Academy. At the same time, Jewish Studies writ large is a much older discipline—in the guise of Biblical study, exegesis, historical writing, and debate, for example.

In this course, we will examine the general lines of development of Jewish Studies in the Academy, with special emphasis on recent developments. We consider each of the major chronological periods through a close look at recent scholarship to understand central themes and current trends in Jewish Studies today.



Taught by Dr. Ben Outhwaite

Course 3371 | 3 quarter-hours credits
Fulfills Credits: MAJS Elective, DSJS Text, DSJS Elective, DHL Text, DHL Elective

Meets via Zoom | Mondays, 12-2 pm Central Time
February 1, 2021 to March 22, 2021 (8 Total Sessions)

The Cairo Genizah is the name given to a remarkable hoard of fragmentary manuscripts and printed texts removed from a synagogue in Old Cairo, Egypt, at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The approximately 300,000 pieces are dispersed across the globe in more than 50 libraries, museums, and private collections. The greatest and most famous part, consisting of more than 190,000 fragments, is known as the Taylor-Schechter Collection and is housed at Cambridge University Library.

In this course, we have the rare opportunity to learn with Dr. Ben Outhwaite, Head of the Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge. In addition to providing historical and research context for the Genizah collection, the course will explore translations of some of the most remarkable texts for what they can tell us about medieval Jewish history, specific literary themes related to the transmission of the biblical text, the cultural dynamics in the use of Hebrew vs. Arabic by Jews, and more.

Photo above: Solomon Schechter with fragments from the Cairo Genizah, Cambridge University, 1898.

Watch your email for June 6-10, 2021 seminar details and summer webconferencing courses, coming soon.

Considering a graduate degree in Jewish Studies?

Your application and admission materials must be received six weeks prior to a course start date.

Spertus Institute graduate programs in Jewish Studies are offered through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction (when safe for us to do so). Courses cover Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts. LEARN MORE>