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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Noam Pianko
SISJE 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 HIST 250.

Class description

Jews are often viewed as a group associated with the Jewish religious tradition. However, Jews have also developed distinct Jewish cultures throughout their history 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 culture 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 appreciate the variety of Jewish cultures and to gain experience interpreting primary sources through a historical lens.

General method of instruction

Lecture and small group discussion.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Short response papers, mid-term, and final exams.


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 Samuel T Lederer
Date: 10/13/2009