Religious Studies | Studies in Africa, Europe, and West Asian Religions: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Judaism
A300 | 27786 | M. Suriano


The above course carries COLL A & H distribution credit
Meets with another section (27787) of A300
This course will examine the development of Jewish concepts of death
and life-after-death.  The general survey will cover the broad
historical timeline of Judaism, from the Hebrew Bible to the
rabbinic writings. The class will also examine sources that reflect
the formative period of Judaism (the Dead Sea Scrolls and other
Second Temple period literature), and will look at the Jewish
background of early Christian afterlife-concepts found in the New
Testament. Topics to be considered include dying as a social
process; the development of an afterlife dichotomy that implies
notions of final retribution or reward; the immortality of the soul
and the resurrection of the body. The exploration of each topic will
reveal the extensive discussion and plurality of thought that is
evident in literature beginning with the biblical texts and
extending into the rabbinic sources.  The purpose of the course is
to explore early ideas about the afterlife within Jewish cultural
contexts, and to further examine how these concepts evolved in
dynamic interaction with socio-historical circumstances.  The
objective of this course is to make the students more aware of the
manner in which past ideas about death and the afterlife developed,
and the ways in which they have prompted reflection of human
suffering, divine justice, and mortality.