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Jewish Studies Course Calendar 2022-2023

Jewish Studies Course Calendar 2022-2023

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.

If you’d like to discuss which courses might best fit your schedule and outstanding requirements, please make an appointment with Director of Jewish Studies Dr. David Gottlieb. Make an appointment >

Course specifics subject to change until registration opens. 


WINTER 2023 COURSES

Sunday-Thursday, January 8-12, 2023
Two synchronous online courses in seminar format.
Registration is underway.

ALTERNATIVES IN THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE
Taught by Dr. Devorah Schoenfeld

Course 3224 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Elective, DSJS Elective, DSJS Text, and DHL Text

Meets via Zoom Sunday-Thursday, January 8-12
Each day from 9 am to 2 pm CT

What does it mean to interpret a passage literally? What do Jewish commentators take it to mean? In this course, we will read medieval Jewish commentaries that describe themselves as literal or contextual or are described that way by others. We will explore the wide range of commentaries that fall into this category—including pshat and pshuto shel mikra—and the various kinds of approaches they include.

WORLD OF THE RABBIS
Taught by Dr. Dov Weiss

Course 3502 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Core, DSJS Elective, and DSJS Text

Meets via Zoom Sunday-Thursday, January 8-12
Each day from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm and 3 pm to 5 pm CT

Dive into the worldviews and the writings of the rabbis who lived between the destruction of the Second Temple and the rise of Islam. We will explore how and why Judaism was transformed, reinvented, and revitalized in this formative era, the era that gave us Talmud and Midrash. Situating rabbinic life in its Late Antique historical context (against Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Sassanian culture), we will explore a wide array of topics such as biblical interpretation, biblical translation, law, theology, rabbinic stories, mysticism, and poetry.

Register by November 18, 2022


SPRING 2023 COURSES

Two synchronous online courses that meet weekly.
Registration will open late 2022.

JUDAISM AND WORLD RELIGIONS
Taught by Dr. David N. Gottlieb

Course 3226 | 3 quarter-hour credits
MAJS 2nd-level Core, MAJS Elective, DSJS Core (Intergroup Relations), DSJS Text, and DHL Text

Meets weekly via Zoom | Wednesdays 6 to 8 pm CT
February 8 to March 29, 2023 (8 Sessions)

Explore Judaism in conversation and contestation with other religions. Together, we will examine the concept of world religions, seeking to understand which religions “qualify,” and under which historical and geographical circumstances Judaism has been included or excluded. We will consider cultural and theological connections and disjunctions through two concepts: first, whether and how the concept of “world religions” can still be useful; and second, how Judaism, in its many forms, contributes to or absents itself from this category. In the process, we will consult biblical, rabbinic, historical, theological, and critical texts.

WHAT IS JEWISH THEOLOGY?
Taught by Dr. Tzvi Novick

Course 3001.1 | 3 quarter-hour credits
Fulfills MAJS Elective, DSJS Elective, DSJS Text, and DHL Core

Meets weekly via Zoom | Thursdays 6 to 8 pm CT
February 9 to March 30, 2023 (8 Sessions)

What should Jewish theology look like today? What should it take as its foundational categories? What aspects of Jewish tradition should serve as precedents? What about parallels from the writings of other religions? These methodological questions—questions concerning Jewish theology as a discipline—will inform our exploration of works in modern Jewish theology (and modern scholarship on Jewish theology). Among the authors we will examine are Mara Benjamin, Art Green, Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, Benjamin Sommer, and Michael Wyschogrod.


SUMMER 2023 COURSES

Onsite Summer Seminar
Sunday-Thursday, June 4-8, 2023.
Course times will be announced and registration will open Spring 2023.

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH EXPERIENCES
Taught by Dr. Brett Ashley Kaplan 

Course 3506 | 3 quarter-hour credits
MAJS Core and DSJS Elective

Explore Jewish-American literature through the words of three writers who depict contemporary Jewish experiences across historical eras and geographical spaces: Nicole Krauss, Philip Roth, and Nathan Englander. How does Jewish-American literature represent and grapple with Jewish experiences? How do the worlds they construct differ from or resonate with Jewish landscapes and experiences familiar to you? We will read closely for novel structures, tonalities and shifts in writing styles, rhythms, tropes, and larger meanings embedded in the texts. With each new time and place we'll investigate the historical context and grapple with how the past informs the present.

JEWISH MESSIANIC MOVEMENTS
Taught by Dr. David Shyovitz

Course 3227 | 3 quarter-hour credits
MAJS Elective, DSJS Elective, DSJS Text, and DHL Text

Discover how messianic beliefs, movements, and figures have shaped the course of Jewish social, cultural, and political life—from antiquity to today. In this course, we will analyze messianic phenomena within the broader surroundings of the Christian and Islamic world. Through primary sources in translation, we will explore sociological, literary, anthropological, and theological approaches. We’ll cover topics including the origins of Christianity, medieval Mahdism, apocalypticism and Armilus (the Jewish Antichrist), mathematical calculations of the millennium, Shabbetai Zvi and Sabbatianism, the modern secularization of messianism and the State of Israel, and the Lubavitch movement.

THE AMERICANIZATION OF THE JEWS, 1750-1950
Taught by Rabbi Dr. Scott Aaron

Course 3228 | 3 quarter-hour credits
MAJS 2nd-Level Core, MAJS Elective, DSJS Elective, and DHL Elective

Trace the evolution of Judaism in America from a religion of exile to a community of affiliation. The American pillars of democracy, individuality, and capitalism changed Jewry and Jewishness in America through their core theological, cultural, and institutional structures. Using historical documents, artifacts from the Spertus collection, and insights from the social sciences, students will examine the impact of events in American history on Jewish life. We will also examine how America’s emergence and dominance of the world stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries extended American Judaism’s influence on Jewish communities worldwide, including the modern State of Israel.

CELEBRATION AND COMMEMORATION IN JEWISH LIFE
Taught by Dr. Leonard Greenspoon

Course 3229 | 3 quarter-hour credits
MAJS Elective, DSJS Core (Jewish Living), and DSJS Elective

Learn about the distinctive role of celebrations and commemorations in Jewish communities, from the Hebrew Bible to today. In this course, we will analyze relevant biblical material and follow a largely chronological approach through Second Temple Judaism, the rabbinic period, and the Enlightenment, up to the present day. We will base our discussions on primary written and visual material. We will seek to uncover continuities as well as innovations. Further, we will attempt to replicate and explicate the experience of those observing selected holidays within the context of different cultural, religious, and historical movements.