Major trends in Jewish religious thought since the European Enlightenment, focusing on encounters between Judaism and the modern world. Includes Haskalah; varieties of religious reform and accommodation; Zionism; socialism; the philosophy of Rosenzweig, Buber, and Kaplan; and theological responses to the Holocaust. Recommended: HIST/SISJE 250, HSTEU/SISJE 469, RELIG 201, or RELIG 210.
What is Judaism? Is it a religion, a nation, an ethnicity? These are the questions we will explore through the lens of modern Jewish thinkers. The class will provide opportunities to delve into the changing meaning of Judaism, and more generally, the transformation of identity in the modern period. Although the course is listed as a 400 level course, there are no prerequisites and students of all backgrounds are welcome to participate. This course fulfills the w requirement.
Student learning goals
To think critically about the evolution of a religious tradition
To understand how modernity challenged revealed religions
To explore how religion responded to the shift toward secularism and science
To use the past as a guide for a deeper understanding of why religion plays an increasingly important role around the globe today
General method of instruction
This course will be run as a seminar that requires a high level of student participation.
Recommended Preparation -an interest in religion, Judaism, or the history of ideas
Class assignments and grading
Class Assignments This course will have one required book (available at the bookstore) and several shorter articles (available on-line). Reading will emphasize close readings of a few texts.
Grading will be based on class participation, several short response papers and a final essay.