This course is an introduction to the varied world of Judaism: its way of life, beliefs, history, and thought. Thus, we will be looking at Judaism’s origins in ancient Israel and the second temple period through to the diverse forms of its contemporary movements—a history that spans over 3,000 years. In addition to gaining an introductory knowledge of Jewish history, there will be a focus in this course on the complexity of Jewish identity, given its ethnic, religious, and national associations. We will explore how Jewish identity has both changed and endured over the centuries and how groups have debated (and continue to debate) what it means.
While being one of the smallest world religions, Judaism (as is often noted) has had an influence and a geographical distribution inversely proportional to its size. It is, of course, a parent religion to Christianity and Islam. Its influence extends, however, to the history of Western philosophy, literature, art, and culture in general. A general knowledge of Judaism and its history, therefore, is integral to a better knowledge of Western civilization and its religious traditions
Open to all Students. No prerequisites.