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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 vblum@spertus.edu if you have questions relating to your registration.


Fall Courses
Registration deadline is September 14, 2020.

Sociological Foundations of Judaism: Tensions Between the Social and IndividualSOCIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF JUDAISM:
TENSIONS BETWEEN THE SOCIAL AND THE INDIVIDUAL
Taught by Dr. Ellen Lasser LeVee

Meets via Zoom
Monday evenings 6-8 pm CT
October 12–November 30, 2020 (8 sessions)

Course 4362 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Elective, MAJS Second Level Core
DSJS Text, DSJS Elective, DHL Elective

One of the fundamental presuppositions of sociology is the tension that exists between the individual and society. In contemporary sociology, this tension is identified as alienation—where individuals are alienated from themselves because of the demands and influences of the social world. The Pentateuch understands this tension differently. Rather than the social world oppressing individuals, the Pentateuch sees both the individual and society as having moral potential. The more each realize their moral potential, the less tension there will be. Tensions arise when individuals act selfishly or if the social world is blind to the needs of individuals. In this course, students will explore the tensions between individuals and society as addressed in Numbers and Deuteronomy. In Numbers, the focus is on concerns that motivate individuals, including existential concerns that undermine community and inhibit spiritual development and moral potential; while Deuteronomy addresses changes in the social, spiritual, and moral life of the Israelites.

MODERN JEWISH EXPERIENCES
Taught by Dr. Eli Rosenblatt

Meets via Zoom
Tuesday afternoons 12-2 pm CT
October 13–December 1, 2020 (8 sessions)

Course 3505 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Core, DSJS Elective, DHL Elective

In this discussion-seminar based around weekly readings, students will examine case studies to discover what it means when we say: “Modern Jewish Experiences.” We will explore four themes: 1) Jews’ internal attitudes, rooted in medieval culture, of political self-understanding and behavior, especially in relation to power and authority; 2) The changing political status of Jews in Europe from 1589, including the acquisition of increased privileges in the Americas and equal rights or emancipation in European society; 3) The internal politics of different Jewish communities; and 4) Jews’ participation in the global circulation of European culture, especially their relationship to the ideologies or movements that promoted their emancipation (liberalism and socialism) and critiqued it (Zionism and antisemitism). The focus throughout will be on scholarly works and primary sources on forms of Jewish experience that decenter familiar geographic or historiographic paradigms. Throughout, we will bridge the study of the past with an eye towards contemporary Jewish concerns.

Fall course registration deadline is September 14, 2020.

Register for either or both courses above

January Seminar Course

GenesisLITERARY THEORY AND THE HEBREW BIBLE
Taught by Dr. Simeon Chavel

Meets via Zoom
Sunday-Thursday, January 10-14, 2021
Course times TBD

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.


Spring Courses

Hebrew booksINTRODUCTION TO JEWISH STUDIES
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
NATURE AND METHODOLOGIES OF JEWISH STUDIES

Course 5348 | 3 quarter-hours credits
Fulfills DSJS Core

Will meet via Zoom | Dates and times TBD

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.

GenizahTHE CAIRO GENIZAH: HISTORICAL AND LITERARY TREASURES
Taught by Dr. Ben Outhwaite

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

Will meet via Zoom | Dates and times TBD

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 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.


Save the dates for the Spring Seminar, coming June 6-10, 2021

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>