Spring 2017

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 - Noam Pines
T/TH 11:00am–12:20pm
Natural Science Complex 205

Survey of Judaism and the rich Jewish legacy: basic philosophical, theological, social, and political values and practices of Judaism as they developed over time in a variety of social and political environments.

JDS 150LEC: Cultures in Rebellion and Avant-Garde Innovation - Noam Pines
M/W 12:00pm-1:50pm
Natural Science Complex 125

Beginning in the late 19th Century, a new cultural movement was born: the avant-garde. This course seeks to understand how and why art and literature that deliberately challenged popular understanding came to be dominant. This course will introduce you to the main currents of 19th and 20th Century avant-garde history, theory, and aesthetic practice. Grounding our approach in the specific geographic and historical conditions that gave rise to these individual movements, we will explore their expression through a wide variety of mediums including art and visual culture, literature, poetry, music, and film. We will read both primary and secondary documents as we grapple with these movements’ modernist and revolutionary agendas in order to assess their successes and failures and evaluate their impacts and legacies.

JDS 199SEM: UB Seminar, Origins of Good and Evil - Alexander Green
T/TH 9:30am–10:50pm
Clemens 708

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 Ethics, Hebrew 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.

RSP 213LEC: World Religions - Marla Segol
M/W/F 9:00am-9:50am
Knox 109

Introduces the world's religious systems and their cultural bases, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, and modern religious substitutes.

JDS 229LEC/HIS 229LEC/RSP 229LEC: Medieval Judaism - Alexander Green
T/TH 2:00pm-3:20pm
Clemens 708

“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 and the responses to tragedy.

JDS 237LEC/HIS 237LEC/RSP 237LEC: History of Israel and Zionism - Daniel Kotzin
TH 6:00pm-8:40pm
Clemens Hall 708

This course will examine the development of the Zionist idea from its ancient and rabbinic origins to its modern political implementation. A particular area of focus will be on the modern Zionist movement, the variety of perspectives on Zionism within the movement, their conflicting visions, and the various ways in which Zionists sought to approach the Arab population. The history of Israeli politics, culture, and society since 1948 will also be a central element of the course.

JDS 284SEM: Justice In Bibles, Law and Philosophy - Sergey Dolgolpolski
T/TH 11:00am-12:20pm
Natural Sciences Complex 215

A comparative study of the relationship between justice, law, and society in pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Thought.

JDS 286LEC/RSP 286LEC: Prayer and Altered States - Marla Segol
M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm
Clemens 708

What is prayer and how does it work? How is it related to meditation and song? This course explores the phenomenology of prayer, meditation and religious music, their ritual function, and their effects on the brain, on personality, and community. We focus on Jewish sources, placing them in historical context and comparing them to those of other religions such as Hinduism and Christianity.

JDS 306LEC/APY 393LEC: Anthropology of Religion - Phillips Stevens
M/W/F 1:00pm-1:50pm
Baldy 108

Religion has existed in all cultures of the world, and at all stages of recorded history indeed, it seems as old as humanity; and it is an extremely powerful motivator of behavior. For these reasons alone its study is essential to anthropology. This course considers religion as a dynamic system which can't be fully understood without reference to its interrelationships with other cultural systems, as well as to the biology of the human practitioner. Specific topics include: the nature of belief and the concept of "supernatural"; types of supernatural agencies; types of religious practitioners; theories of religion; myth; ritual; divination; sacrifice; totemism; taboo; magic and sorcery; witchcraft; shamanism; religious altered states of consciousness: spirit possession, ecstasy, and simple trance; supernaturally-caused illness and religious-based healing; religion in cultural change; new religions, cults, and the occult today; and others. The course will be illustrated throughout with films, slides, videos, religious objects, etc.

JDS 402LEC/LAW 761LEC/COL 702COL: Jewish Law in Development - Sergey Dolgopolski

Historical, sociological, and legal concerns in early and later rabbinic literature; how Jewish life and thought relate to trends in legal interpretation through the centuries.

Hebrew Courses

HEB 102LEC: Elementary Modern Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia
M/W/F 9:00am-10:25am
Clemens Hall 708

The continuation of Hebrew 101. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

HEB 202LEC: Intermediate Hebrew 2 – Lillia Dolgopolskaia
M/W 9:00am-10:25am
Clemens Hall 708

A continuation of Hebrew 201. Note: Students with other previous experience in Hebrew must take a placement exam.

Other Semesters