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Course Description

Biblical Themes in Modern Hebrew Literature (3 cr.)
Stephen Katz
JSTU-L 390 #29930
MW 4:00-5:15

Meets with NELC-N 695 #25891

Having trouble telling Cain from Abel without a program?  Or what was wrong with Moses bringing the Children of Israel out of Egypt?  How about a course which will guide you through selections from the Bible so they stick in your mind and make you wonder?

In this course, we will focus on a number of stories from the Hebrew Bible (though all readings will be done in English translation) to contemplate specific issues. Our chief topics for the term include the stories of Creation, the akeda (the binding of Isaac), and the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.  Rather than introduce you to biblical (higher) criticism, I plan to share with you some modern works of Hebrew literature (also translated into English) which either tell a tale set in biblical times or use key lines and phrases from the Bible for purposes which we will try to understand.
More than any, Hebrew literature is closely allied with the (Hebrew) Bible. It not only shares a language to a degree not found in the case of other modern languages as they refer to their ancient literary sources, but it also identifies its accounts as especially pertinent to contemporary times and circumstances. In many ways, Hebrew literature has thus "rewritten" the Bible in the image of our times. The specifics of this will be explored through the selections we will read in class.
If you want to find out how modern writers of Hebrew literature see how people lived in the times of the Bible, or why they saw that it was only "natural" for Cain to kill his brother, or how Moses is re-imagined by modern Hebrew writers, or who the real hero was in the story of the Binding of Isaac (the akeda), come and join us.
Final grades for the course will be based on attendance, quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Term papers will be optional, except for graduate students.

Beginning Summer 2011: CASE A&H
Before Summer 2011: A&H, JS Literature & the Arts, Religion & Thought, or Language & Literature