Fall 2019

Please Note

Room locations and courses are subject to change. Please see the Class Schedules for updates. 

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Jewish Studies Courses

JDS 103LEC - Introduction to Judaism     
Alexandra Zirkle  Class#22182                                          Clemens 708      T R 12:30 PM – 1:50 PM
Judaism is one of the oldest continuously practiced world religions; its influence is inestimable. One need only think of the profound impact it has had on the origins, development, and basic elements of Christianity and Islam. Because Judaism has evolved and changed over a very long history - including the eras of the Hebrew Bible, the ancient Israelite commonwealth, medieval Talmudic-rabbinical communities, modern denominations, the Holocaust, Zionism and modern Israel - this course will approach Jewish history, theory and practice together. We will ask: What have Jews believed and done? What do Jews now believe? What are the meanings of Judaism – texts, rituals, practices, beliefs - for Jews? How is Judaism similar and different from other spiritual traditions? What relevance does Judaism still have for the larger world?

JDS 199SEM - UB Seminar - Modern Revolution: Industrial, Political, Social  
Richard Cohen  Class# 20864                                         Clemens 206   T R 11:00 AM -  12:20 PM
Hardly any other events in human history have contributed more greatly to the transformation of humanity and its self-understanding after the rise of modern science, than the industrial revolution (steam engine, railroad, factory line), the spread of democracy (American and French revolutions) and the spectre of socialism (Russian revolution).  They opened prospects such as the universal spread of democracy, the liberal transformation of religion, the growth of a worldwide metropolitan culture, and the prospect of general prosperity.  Seeking to better understand these ends by examining their beginnings, we will explore the old and the new in the prose and poetry of such thinkers and artists as Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Dostoyevsky, Darwin, Bergson and Nietzsche, among others.

JDS 199SEM -UB Seminar- Justice
Sergey Dolgopolski  Class# 21368                                                 Park 146      T R 3:30 PM – 4:50 PM
“A law that is not just is not law” said recently a protestor against racial discrimination. This argument exemplifies a problem we will address in this course through reading, discussing, theatrically staging, and critically applying the work of the best writers and thinkers, both ancient and contemporary, who addressed the problem of justice in relation to equality, law, and freedom. In that wat, we will conduct a comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

JDS 199SEM – Origin of Good and Evil      
Alexander Green  Class# 20418                                        Clemens 708   T R 09:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Determining the origin of our moral beliefs and values is one of the central debates that has animated Western philosophers and theologians across time. One culture may consider a certain action morally correct and another culture may consider the same action morally incorrect. Why is that? How do we know what is good and evil, right and wrong? Is there one standard that unites different value systems or are all systems equally correct and variable? This course will not directly tackle the specific beliefs themselves (whether it be the ethics of war and peace, euthanasia, suicide, abortion or any such issue), but will seek to examine the different reasons that groups may arrive at diverse answers. We will read selections of classical works such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean EthicsHebrew Bible, Aquinas’ Summa Theologicae, Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Martin Buber’s I and Thou, and view a movie: Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors

JDS 199SEM - UB Seminar- Human and Animal   
Noam Pines  Class# 19931                                                  Clemens 708   T R 11:00 PM – 12:20 PM
The course will examine various depictions of human-animal relationship in Western literature and culture, from classical times to modern times. By looking at these texts, we will chart the emergence of a figure that occupies a borderline state between human and animal, and explore its implications for our understanding of Jewish and Christian relationships as well as human and animal nature. Readings include: Ovid, Marie de France, Hobbes, Shakespeare, Heine, Baudelaire, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Kafka, and more.

JDS 199SEM - UB Seminar – Violence and Religion
Alexandra Zirkle  Class# 24990                                           Clemens 708  TR 02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
From the Crusades to current warring in the Middle East, tremendous violence has been committed in the name of religion. But what is the relationship if any between religious beliefs and practices and violent acts carried out in the name of religion? Has religion contributed to greater peace or to greater violence in society? To answer these questions, we will examine religious sources, films, political texts, and historical documents from a variety of religious traditions and geographical contexts. Through our exploration of the interrelationships between violence, religion, and peace, students interested in international politics, history, religion, and gender and sexuality will gain critical insight into dynamics which continue to shape twenty-first century societies and cultures.

JDS 208LEC/HIS 299 - Holocaust: History, Culture, and Memory 
Noam Pines  Class# 20862                                            Fronczak 408    T R 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM
How did the Holocaust happen? How was the “Final Solution” developed and executed? How have victims, perpetrators, and bystanders written and re-written the accounts of what happened?  And how do we remember this today? This course places the Holocaust in the broad context of Western history, thought, and culture by focusing on a variety of sources that include survivor testimonies, novels, and political theory. We will study classic texts such as Elie Wiesel’s Night, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus. We will also view selected films, among them Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, and Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog.

JDS 229LEC/HIS229 – Medieval Judaism
Alex Green   Class# 24380                                        Bell 337           T R 12:30 PM – 01:50 PM
Medieval Judaism is an exploration of Judaism as a minority religion living between the Crescent and Cross, the Islamic and Christian empires between the 9th to 16th centuries. We will explore the dual nature of the medieval period for Jews: part intellectual and cultural flourishing and part persecution and tragedy. Topics to be discussed include: the origins of anti-Semitism, the crusades, philosophy vs. mysticism, the Maimonidean controversy, Jewish-Christian dialogue and polemics, the inquisitions, marranos, responses to tragedy and the Renaissance. This course is the same as HIS 229 and RSP 229, and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their major department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

JDS 496 Internship      
The Jewish Studies Internship Program provides a mechanism for highly motivated students of all levels to earn 3 academic credits by combining internship experience with educational knowledge of the Jewish tradition. ​Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information at agreen6@buffalo.edu

JDS 497TUT Special Honors Thesis
The Honors Program in Jewish Studies offers students the opportunity to develop a substantial thesis based on primary source research. Students enjoy the reward of finishing a prolonged, independent project mentored by a faculty member. It can be on any subject area within the academic study of Judaism, as long as one of the faculty members agrees to supervise the student’s project. Upon admission to the program, junior or senior honors students are responsible for arranging with a faculty mentor to guide their thesis research and writing, normally completed in the senior year. Honors students may, at the discretion of their mentors and upon approval of the directors of undergraduate and graduate studies, participate in a relevant graduate seminar or seminars.

JDS 497 TUT     Special Honors Thesis        Richard Cohen               Class # 22732
JDS 497 TUT     Special Honors Thesis        Sergey Dolgopolski       Class # 22727
JDS 497 TUT     Special Honors Thesis        Alexander Green           Class # 25007
JDS 497 TUT     Special Honors Thesis        Noam Pines                    Class # 22734
JDS 497 TUT     Special Honors Thesis        Alexandra Zirkle            Class # 22733

JDS 499TUT Independent Study
Looking for a topic that is not being offered? Contact one of the faculty members to look into developing your own Independent Study under their supervision.

JDS 499TUT      Independent Study             Richard Cohen                 Class # 17693
JDS 499TUT      Independent Study             Sergey Dolgopolski         Class # 17711
JDS 499TUT      Independent Study             Alexander Green             Class # 25008
JDS 499TUT      Independent Study             Noam Pines                     Class # 18621
JDS 499TUT      Independent Study             Alexandra Zirkle             Class # 18619



JDS526SEM Bible In The 20th Century
Sergey Dolgopolski Class# 24763                                              W 06:40 PM-09:10 PM Clemens 640
The course will explore how the Bible emerged as a site of intersection between Jewish, Christian, and allegedly non-theological but rather literary-theoretical and political theoretical interpretation in the major theoretical frameworks of the XX century literary, critical, and political Jewish and Christian thought. This course is the same as COL703 and course repeat rules will apply. Students should consult with their department regarding any restrictions on their degree requirements.

JDS 725LEC/PHI579 – Politics, Ethics, and Religion     
Richard Cohen  Class# 23873                                                W 04:00 PM – 06:40 PM Clemens 708
The political – in theory and practice - has always had two contending valences: justice and power.  Ethical politics, reflected upon by Plato and Aristotle and exhorted by the Hebrew Bible, demands that power serve justice.  Realpolitik, reflected by Machiavelli, Hobbes and Schmitt, would empower power for power's sake.  Reflecting the profound transformations produced by the Industrial Revolution and mathematical science, modern ethical politics began in revolutions overthrowing regimes of feudal authoritarianism for the sake of the “Rights of Man and Citizen,” i.e., for Liberal Democracy.  Today, however, when liberal democracy has succumbed to plutocracy, two new challenges have arisen against it.  From the side of ethical politics, Social Democracy would correct helpless individualism and preserve human rights by providing for their collective and cooperative material conditions.  From the side of realpolitik, in contrast, a dictatorial and nationalist Authoritarianism – fascism, populism - would eliminate human rights and democracy, and thereby also prevent the rise of social democracy.  Aware of their historical unfolding, we will theorize the complex political relations and developments of capitalism, modern science, Enlightenment, liberal democracy, social democracy and fascism.  Several political thinkers will be considered, especially Rousseau, Kant and Marx.    



Hebrew Courses

HEB 101LEC- Elem Modern Hebrew 1
Lilia Dolgopolskaia   Class # 16547                                             Baldy 114     M W F 09:00 AM - 10:25 AM
The beginning course of Modern Israeli Hebrew. Essentials of grammar, syntax and conversational practice; elementary reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

HEB 201LEC- Intermediate Hebrew 1
Lilia Dolgopolskaia Class #15915                                                 Clemens 708     M W 11:00 AM -2:25 PM
Further development of language skills: listening comprehension, oral efficiency, intermediate grammar and syntax, reading and writing. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

HEB 499TUT  Independent Study
Have you already passed Intermediate Hebrew? Do you want to take your Hebrew language skills to a more advanced level? Contact Lilia to discuss further possibilities

HEB 499TUT              Independent Study             Lilia Dolgopolskaia              Class # 17710


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