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Courses - Spring 2023
History Department Site
Jews and Judaism: Selected Historical Topics; What Did the Rabbis Think the Bible Really Means?
Credits: 3
Grad Meth: Reg, P-F, Aud
Cross-listed with JWST419B. Credit only granted for HIST418C or JWST419B.

Sacred texts like the Hebrew bible challenge human understanding the voice of the divine, they demand our constant study, interpretation and reinterpretation. Jewish scholars have been engaged in this process, known as exegesis, for many centuries, and have used many different methods to make the Bible give up its mysteries. In this course we will use the method of close reading to watch as rabbis struggled with, and argued over, biblical passages in order to construct Jewish law and Jewish rationalist and mystical theologies. We will examine issues ranging fromvegetarianism to messianism, gender to eros, the purpose of life, the holiness of Jerusalem to the legitimacy of Halacha.

M-W 10-10:50 plus one hour (to be arranged) for close text study of commentaries in translation.