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Course Offerings

Course Offerings


Open to Spertus Institute Jewish Studies Master's and Doctoral students. 
Doctoral students, please check with your advisor before registering.

Each course meets for eight online sessions via the Zoom webconferencing platform.

Dead Sea Scrolls fragment
Jewish Historiography
Taught by Dr. Joshua Shanes
Tuesdays 6-8 pm CST
February 12, 19, and 26, March 5, 12, and 26, April 2 and 9, 2019
Course 3384 at Master's level, 5346 at Doctoral level | 3 credits
DSJS Core Course, MAJS Second Level Core, MAJS Elective

How and why have Jews engaged history? What meaning does history have for Judaism and Jewishness, and how has Jewish historiography reflected the changing position of Jews and Judaism? This course explores a range of Jewish historiographical writing, with a particular focus on the development of formal Jewish historiography since the sixteenth century, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the important Jewish historians to be studied will be Azaria de Rossi, David Gans, Nathan of Hannover, Heinrich Graetz, Simon Dubnow, and Salo Baron, as well as more contemporary scholars such as Yosef Yerushalmi, Paula Hyman, and David Myers.

Stained Glass with star of David motif
Introduction to Jewish Studies
Taught by Dr. Dean Phillip Bell
Mondays 6-8 pm CST
February 18 and 25, March 4, 11, 18, and 25, April 1 and 8, 2019 
Course 3500 | 3 credits
DSJS Core Course, MAJS Core Course

Jewish Studies as an academic discipline is in some ways a relatively new endeavor. As an interdisciplinary field, it draws from a broad range of scholarly methodologies, covers a dizzying array of topics, and utilizes many genres of source materials. As such, Jewish Studies is an amalgam that tells us quite a bit about Jews and Judaism, both past and present, as well as the current state of the academy. At the same time, Jewish Studies writ large is a much older discipline—in the guise of Biblical study, exegesis, historical writing, and debate, for example. In this course, we’ll examine the general lines of development of Jewish Studies in the academy, with special emphasis on recent developments. You will take a close look at recent scholarship to understand central themes and current trends in Jewish Studies today.

Online Courses

These courses are offered on an ongoing basis.
They can be started anytime after a student is admitted.
Click on course title for faculty and course description.


Orientation: Introduction to Jewish Studies
Introductory Biblical Hebrew I, II, and III

The Bible and the Ancient Near East
The World of the Rabbis
Jews and Judaism in the Middle Ages
Early Modern Jewish Experiences
Modern Jewish Experiences
Contemporary Jewish Experiences


History of Antisemitism I: Antiquity to Late Eighteenth Century
History of Antisemitism II: Dawn of the Enlightenment to the Present
History of Jewish Biblical Interpretation

Register now

Onsite Seminars

Twice a year, Spertus Institute holds Jewish Studies Seminars onsite on our Chicago campus. Seminars offer dedicated time to advance your studies, learn with skilled and accomplished faculty, and engage with your fellow students from around the world. During seminars, courses are offered that meet program requirements for students in Jewish Studies master's and doctoral programs.

Next Seminar

Sunday-Thursday, June 2-6, 2019
Stay tuned for information on courses and faculty.

Why Spertus Institute?

  • Welcoming nondenominational environment open to all
  • Distinguished international faculty
  • Flexible scheduling and locations, distance learning available
  • Opportunities to pursue individual interests
  • Extensive resources


At Spertus Institute, we embrace the idea that the wisdom of Jewish thought and the richness of Jewish experiences inform Jewish society and Judaism today. Our programs encourage intellectual and spiritual reflection. Students grapple with Jewish ideas in the service of their personal, professional, and communal advancement.

Course Costs for Admitted Students

  • Masters level 
    $350 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1050 per 3qh course)

  • Doctoral level 
    $400 per quarter-hour credit 
    ($1200 per 3qh course)

A registration fee of $25 is also required.

For New Students

Spertus offers graduate programs in Jewish Studies through a unique blend of distance learning and intensive on-campus instruction. Students — from half a dozen foreign countries and more than two dozen US states — come to Spertus for week-long academic seminars. Seminars include a range of courses in Jewish history, thought, and culture, accompanied by study of classical Jewish texts.

Applications for Jewish Studies programs are accepted all year. MORE>