Social and intellectual history of the Jews in western Europe to the fifteenth century. Jews under Islam and Christianity; the church and the Jews; the Crusades and their legacy; intellectual achievements; conflict and cooperation. Offered: jointly with JSIS C 367.
Note: This course was formerly numbered HSTEU 467. If you have already taken HSTEU 467, do not register for this course.
Surveys the history of the Jews under Christian and Islamic rule from late antiquity until the expulsions from Spain and Portugal. We will read both primary sources in translation and modern scholarly reconstructions in order to trace the development of Jewish culture and social institutions as responses to specific historical circumstances. Themes include the development and dissemination of rabbinic Judaism; sectarianism, heresy, and the self-conscious construction of a mainstream religious tradition; migrations and shifting centers of population; interaction with non-Jewish cultures and the complex questions of influence and acculturation; Jewish autonomy and self-government; philosophy, exegesis, poetry, art, and other forms of cultural production in their social contexts.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
No prerequisites, but some background in the history of Abrahamic religions and cultures will be helpful.
Class assignments and grading
Twice-weekly lecture-discussions; Friday discussion sections on specific texts or themes. Weekly reading assignments. Short reaction papers to specific readings. Mid-term and final examinations, each with an in-class (short-answer) section and a take-home (essay) section.