This course explores the history of angels and demons, and their changing theological, psychological, cultural and even political meanings. We will also look at Christianity, Islam and the post-religious modern environment of "The West." We will survey ed traditional sources from the ancient, medieval and early modern eras. Then we will attend to the paradoxical proliferation of angels in modern culture. As illustration and counterpoint, we will view consider angel-related visual arts.

Please refer to the syllabus for the readings assigned for the first session.

This course seeks to introduce students to Hasidism, the pietist and in many respects mystical movement that arose in eastern Europe at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Hasidism stands as perhaps the most influential and significant movement within modern Judaism. Its teachings have inspired (and provoked) countless Jewish artists and thinkers, including Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel and the Jewish renewal movement. Hasidism marked an often radical re-envisioning of Judaism, to varying degrees populist, emotional, existential, anti-scholastic, even antinomian. Hasidism continues to challenge, despite its historical and conceptual harmonizations with "orthodoxy,” perhaps, indeed, precisely because it has come to represent an anti-modern extreme. We will trace some of this history through a look at the lives and work of a few leading Hasidic rebbes and a close reading of Hasidic teachings (especially those treating prayer and Torah study) and parables.

Please refer to the syllabus for readings assigned for the first session

In this course we will examine some of the major statements in Jewish thought from the nineteenth century into the twenty first. What happens to Judaism as a religion in modernity? What is Jewishness? What have Jews thought about themselves, their past and place in the world? What happens to concepts like chosenness? How do Jews respond to the opportunities and tragedies modernity poses - emancipation, the Enlightenment, the rise of racial anti-semitism, nationalisms, including Zionism, the Holocaust, the State of Israel, universalism? Class exploration will revolve around a varied sampling of texts from the wide variety of positions and movements: rationalist, mystical, secularist, conservative, postmodern. Our readings will bring us to the borders of classical text and modern interpretation religion, philosophy and politics belonging and resisting difference within the community. Though no knowledge of Hebrew is required, some familiarity with Judaism and Jewish history will obviously enhance participation in the course.

Please refer to the syllabus for readings assigned for the first session.

In this course we will study the histories of Jews and Africans from antiquity into the modern era. We will look at how the two groups viewed and interacted with one another, became subject to Euro-American domination, and formulated strategies of resistance. Topics will include religious/racial othering, slavery, diaspora, Zionism and Black nationalism, Ethiopian and other African and African-American Jews.

Hinweis:Please refer to the syllabus for the readings assigned for the first session.