Judaism in the Making (3 cr.)
JSTU-J 317 / REL-A 317 / REL-R 541
This course examines the origins and development of Jewish traditions in the context of the ancient Mediterranean, in their linguistic, geographical, and cultural diversity. We discuss ideas of cultural identity and belonging, responses to conflict and oppression, the emergence of biblical texts and modes of interpretation, and constructions of religious, gendered, and ethnic identities in the context of the culture and politics of the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman empires. How did these processes contribute to the shaping of “Judaism” as a distinct religious tradition?
We discuss ways that Jewish traditions and identities were created both in the land of Israel and in the diaspora, and pay close attention to the way Judaism and Christianity were simultaneously shaped as separate religious traditions in dialogue with one another. We will work closely with primary texts (in translation), learning the tools of critical analysis and becoming familiar with the theoretical and methodological approaches that are currently dominant in the study of early Jewish sources.