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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Devin E Naar
HIST 250
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Jewish Cultural History

Introductory orientation to the settings in which Jews have marked out for themselves distinctive identities as a people, a culture, and as a religious community. Examines Jewish cultural history as a production of Jewish identity that is always produced in conversation with others in the non-Jewish world. Offered: jointly with JSIS C 250.

Class description

In the United States, Jews are often viewed as a religious group. Throughout their history, however, Jews have also developed distinct Jewish cultures with religious practices and beliefs constituting only one component. This class will explore various expressions of Jewish culture including biblical, Hellenistic, Judeo-Arabic, Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Eastern European, American and Israeli. As we analyze Jewish cultures across time and space, we will discuss how Jews both adopted the cultural assumptions of their neighbors and adapted these traditions to preserve a distinct identity.

Student learning goals

To become familiar with the variety of Jewish cultures across a wide geography and chronology.

To gain experience interpreting primary sources through a historical lens.

To develop skills of critical thinking and analysis.

General method of instruction

Lecture and group discussion.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Response papers, mid-term, final paper/exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Devin E Naar
Date: 10/20/2011