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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Noam Pianko
RELIG 415
Seattle Campus

Modern Jewish Thought

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.

Class description

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

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.


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 Loryn Hazan Paxton
Date: 10/19/2011