Jewish Studies

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  • CAS JS 100: World Cultures of the Jews
    Introduces students to the study of Judaism in its many forms, by exploring Jewish communities across the globe today, their different historical origins and cultural contexts, and strategies of preserving cohesion and transnational solidarity. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: The Individual in Community, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Teamwork/Collaboration.
    • The Individual in Community
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • CAS JS 110: Judaism
    Systematic and historical introduction to doctrines, customs, literature, and movements of Judaism; biblical religion and literature; rabbinic life and thought; medieval mysticism and philosophy; modern movement and developments. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS JS 120: The Bible
    Introduction to the great canonical anthologies of Jews and Christians. Students will learn to read for historical context and genre conventions; study classical and modern strategies of interpretation; and create a collaborative commentary or piece of "fan-fiction." Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Creativity/Innovation.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Creativity/Innovation
  • CAS JS 121: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
    Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in historical and cultural context, origins to the present. Examines diversity of practices, belief systems, and social structures within these religions. Also addresses debates within and between communities as well as contemporary controversies and concerns. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS JS 130: Masterpieces of Modern Hebrew Literature (in English translation)
    Narrative prose by major writers from the revival of Hebrew culture in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe to present-day Israel, including works of Peretz, Agnon, Yehoshua, Oz, Shalev, Keret, Kashua, and Castel-Bloom. Special focus on the struggle to forge modern identity in the domains of family, nation, religion and in the broader Middle East. Required for the minor in Hebrew. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Creativity/Innovation.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS JS 136: Jewish Literature
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: First Year Writing Seminar (e.g., CAS WR 100 or WR 120).
    How do changing notions of ethnicity and race, religion, and gender, as well as geographical place define Jewish family and community? Topics include immigration, diaspora, and national culture; patriotism, antisemitism, and multiculturalism; Jewish identities and gender; conversion, assimilation, and acculturation. Effective Fall 2019, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS JS 210: The Hebrew Bible
    Introduction to the study of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) in translation, the history of the Israelites, and their religion as it develops into early Judaism. Additional topics include prophecy, sacrifice, exile, and the problem of evil. Carries humanities divisional credit in CAS.
  • CAS JS 214: Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
    Chronological exploration of rabbinic Judaism's major documents, using a modern scholarly anthology. The Mishnah; legal and legendary selections from the midrashim and both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. Themes: monotheism, sin and atonement, heaven and hell, conceptions of gender, the impact of rabbinic texts on medieval and modern Judaism.
  • CAS JS 244: Early Jewish Mystical Thought
    Analysis of the development of Jewish mysticism from the biblical to the early medieval era. Emphasis on the forms of mysticism--and the texts in which they are embedded--from the rabbinic era. No knowledge of Hebrew is required.
  • CAS JS 246: Jewish Mysticism
    Major trends of Jewish mystical thought and practice from late antiquity to today, including Kabbalah, Hasidism, and modern messianic movements. Includes close readings of Zohar. Covers theories and practices of mystical ascent, neo-Platonic trends in religious thought, and messianic speculation.
  • CAS JS 250: Holy City: Jerusalem in Time, Space, and Imagination
    Transformation of an ordinary ancient city into the holy city of Jews, Christians, and Muslims; and development of modern Jerusalem, as shaped by British rule, Zionism, and Palestinian nationalism. Jerusalem's past, present, and meanings considered through analyses of religious and secular rhetoric. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Aesthetic Exploration, The Individual in Community, Critical Thinking.
    • Aesthetic Exploration
    • The Individual in Community
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS JS 255: Modern Judaism
    Encounters between Judaism and modernity from the Renaissance and Reformation; the Spanish expulsion and creation of Jewish centers in the New World; emancipation and its consequences; assimilation, Reform Judaism, Zionism, the American Jewish community, non-European communities, Jewish global migration, and modern antisemitism. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS JS 260: The Holocaust
    Rise of German (and European) antisemitism; rise of Nazism; 1935 Nuremberg Laws; the initial Jewish reaction; racial theory; organizing mass murder including ghettos, concentration camps, killing squads, and gas chambers; bystanders and collaborators (countries, organizations, and individuals); Jewish resistance; post-Holocaust religious responses; moral and ethical issues. Effective Fall 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Ethical Reasoning, Historical Consciousness, Critical Thinking.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Ethical Reasoning
    • Critical Thinking
  • CAS JS 280: Israeli Popular Music
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS LH 212; or equivalent.
    Advanced-intermediate Hebrew language and culture course for those who have completed at least four semesters' college Hebrew or equivalent. Introduction to Israeli cultural history through music. Students expand vocabulary and further develop writing, reading, listening, and conversational skills in Hebrew.
  • CAS JS 281: Advanced Modern Hebrew: Voices in Israeli Society
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: CAS LH 212; or the equivalent as determined by placement test.
    This course provides advanced language practice and introduction to globally diverse groups in Israeli society: Orthodox and secular, immigrants and veteran immigrants, Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews, Arab-Israelis and more. Through reading a variety of academic and newspapers articles, short stories, poems and viewing interviews, documentaries and movies, students will enhance their interpretation, writing and oral skills while acquiring fundamental knowledge about ethnic/religious/national/social diversity in Israel. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy, Digital/Multimedia Expression.
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
    • Digital/Multimedia Expression
  • CAS JS 283: Israeli Culture through Film (in English translation)
    Israeli society, from its origins to contemporary times, through the medium of film. Topics include immigration; Jewish religious life; war; the ongoing impact of the Holocaust on Israeli society; gender; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Introduction to film analysis and interpretive methods.
  • CAS JS 285: Israel: History, Politics, Culture, Identity
    Using a broad array of readings, popular music, documentaries, film and art, this course explores Israel's political system, culture, and society, including the status of minorities in the Jewish state; post-1967 Israeli settlement projects; and the struggle for Israel's identity.
  • CAS JS 286: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    History of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, analysis of conflicting narratives through primary sources and film. Students present their own reflections on the conflict and debate possibilities of resolution. Counts toward majors and minors in History, International Relations, Middle East & North Africa Studies, and Jewish Studies. Effective Spring 2020, this course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Historical Consciousness, Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy.
    • Historical Consciousness
    • Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy
  • CAS JS 311: Dead Sea Scrolls
    Examination of the ancient Hebrew documents discovered in the Judean desert. Their authorship; the theological significance of the Scrolls; their relations to Ancient Judaism and early Christianity; the controversy over their release and publication.
  • CAS JS 321: Moses
    From Philo to Freud, the richly varied afterlife of the biblical Moses figure, considered as an abiding preoccupation of western religions, theology, literary and visual art, and secular thought.