JEWISH STUDIES (Div. II)

Chair, Professor STEVEN GERRARD

Advisory Faculty: Professor: GERRARD. Assistant Professors: DEKEL, S. FOX, GARBARINI, HAMMERSCHLAG.

THE PROGRAM IN JEWISH STUDIES

Jewish Studies describes the academic field concerned with the experience and culture of the Jewish people. Covering a wide temporal and geographical range, Jewish Studies embraces both the waters of Babylon and the tenements of the Lower East Side. The subject cuts across numerous fields including Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Religion, Classics, History, Anthropology, Sociology, Art History, English, Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew, Women's and Gender Studies, American Studies, Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literature, German and Russian Studies, and Political Science. Jewish Studies as a subject and object of scholarly inquiry is more than 100 years old, emerging, as did the study of religion in general, in the context of nineteenth century efforts to make religious texts open to scientific and especially historical forms of investigation.

Williams offers a variety of courses specifically directed to students interested in Jewish Studies. In addition, many other courses incorporate topics relevant to the study of Judaism. Students are encouraged to integrate courses from diverse disciplines with a focus in Jewish history, religion, literature, language, and thought. Thus, rather than emphasizing a particular method of inquiry, Jewish Studies courses bring together students from different departments who share an interest in a common topic. As a result, Jewish subjects are analyzed from a multitude of perspectives (religious, philosophical, political, historical, psychological, literary, etc.). Williams offers two types of courses related to Jewish Studies: Courses directly focusing on Jewish topics and courses partially devoted to some aspect of Judaism. Most courses in Jewish Studies are open to all students without prerequisites. The specific catalogue entry for each course should be checked for details. The concentration in Jewish Studies is recommended for students interested in a sustained intellectual experience in the field.

CONCENTRATION IN JEWISH STUDIES

The concentration in Jewish Studies serves two primary functions. First, it provides a formal structure enabling students to develop knowledge of the history, thought, texts, and practices of the Jewish people. Second, students will learn to apply this competency to the analysis of issues related to Jewish Studies emerging from disciplinary perspectives. Through the Jewish Studies concentration, students will be able to examine topics according to the methods particular to majors as well as in comparison with other disciplinary approaches. Thus, Jewish Studies enhances one's specific knowledge of Judaica and the general capacity to think interdisciplinarily.

Students wishing to concentrate in Jewish Studies must take 5 courses with at least 2 different prefixes: 1 core course, 2 central courses, 1 elective, and 1 capstone course.

Core Course

  1. Jewish Studies 101/Religion 203 Judaism: Innovation and Tradition

Central Courses

Jewish Studies/Classics/Religion 201/Comparative Literature 202 The Hebrew Bible [Not offered in 2006-2007]

Jewish Studies/Religion 204 Redeeming a Broken World: Messianism in Modernity (W)

Jewish Studies/Classics/Religion 205/Comparative Literature 217 Ancient Wisdom Literature

Jewish Studies/Classics/Comparative Literature/Religion 206 The Book of Job and Joban Literature [Not offered 2006-2007]

Jewish Studies/Classics/Religion 207/Comparative Literature 205 From Adam to Noah: Literary Imagination and the Primeval History in Genesis

Jewish Studies/History 230 Modern European Jewish History 1789-1948 [Not offered 2006-2007]

Jewish Studies/History 232 Nostalgia in Jewish Thought, Literature, and Art [Not offered 2006-2007]

Jewish Studies/History 233 Rootlessness, Exile, and Zionism: Judaism and the Land [Not offered 2006-2007]

Jewish Studies/Religion 280/Philosophy 282 The Turn to Religion in Post-Modern Thought (W)

Jewish Studies/History 338 The History of the Holocaust

Jewish Studies/History 482T Memory, History, and the Extermination of the Jews of Europe

Elective

Students may meet the elective requirement with one of the courses partially related to Jewish Studies or another central course. Since the elective requirement enables students to situate issues in Jewish Studies within a broader disciplinary context, the elective must be taken after REL/JWST 203 and simultaneously with or after at least one core course. In a course partially related to Jewish Studies, a student will normally focus at least one of the major writing assignments on a topic relevant to Jewish Studies or approximately one-third of the course will be devoted to Jewish subjects. The list of relevant electives changes constantly so the course catalogue should be checked for details. Listed below are examples of courses partially related to Jewish Studies. Students may meet the elective requirement with a course not listed here, subject to the approval of the Chair of Jewish Studies.

Comparative Literature 232 European Modernism

English 236 Witnessing: Slavery and Its Aftermath

[German 303 German Studies 1900-1938]

History 225/Religion 216 The Middle Ages

History 228 Europe in the Twentieth Century

[History 331 The French and Haitian Revolutions]

[History 425/Religion 215 The First Crusade]

[History 487T The Second World War: Origins, Course, Outcomes, and Meaning]

[History 490T History, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Collective Memory]

[Religion 231/History 209 The Origins of Islam: God, Empire and Apocalypse]

[Religion 270T Father Abraham: The First Patriarch]

Spanish 201 The Cultures of Spain

Capstone Course

JWST 491 Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary seminar (Members of the Jewish Studies Advisory Committee)

Croghan Professorship

Each year, in addition to the regular course offerings listed above, Williams sponsors the Croghan Bicentennial Visiting Professor in Religion who offers one course in Judaism and/or Christianity. Past Croghan Professors have taught courses on the Mishnah (Shaye Cohen), the historical Jesus (John Dominic Crossan), and Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Ross Kraemer).

Overseas Studies

Studying in Israel is highly recommended for students interested in Jewish Studies. Many students have spent a semester or year at Hebrew University. With the approval of the Jewish Studies coordinator, students may count a study-abroad program towards one core requirement.

Funding

The Bronfman Fund for Judaic Studies was established in 1980 by Edgar M. Bronfman `50, Samuel Bronfman II `75, and Matthew Bronfman `80. The Bronfman Fund provides opportunities for the Williams community to learn about Jewish history and culture, both within the College's formal curriculum and through the planning of major events on Jewish themes.

The Morris Wiener and Stephen R. Wiener `56 Fund for Jewish Studies was established in 1997 through the estate of Stephen R. Wiener `56. The Wiener gifts have provided an endowment to support a faculty position in modern Jewish thought, and are used to underwrite an annual lecture, forum or event relevant to contemporary Jewish life.