Topics vary
Section 401 - SEM
SECULAR JUDAISM AND JEWS: LIVES AND CHOICE: Can Judaism exist without the religion? Are there secular Jews? Is it possible for people to consider themselves to be Jewish without any formal affiliation with either a religious or other specifically Jewish institution? If so, what sort of Jews are they? These questions trouble all those interested in the history, present position and future prospect of the Jews as a people. There have been many answers: Zionist, non-Zionist, cultural, ethnic, sociological, theological (both Christian and Jewish) and others less respectable. We have no answers but this course will try to address these questions in a strictly historical way, following a selection of lives of important Jews who at different times and places attempted their own answers to these questions. These lives will be drawn mainly from Western Europe, where until the Second World War, the majority of Jews lived. We shall also consider some American lives since during the Twentieth Century the American Jewish community became the place where choice of identity became an unusually important issue. We shall also look at the lives of some who chose Israel as the "national" answer to the question of Jewish identity and some who chose socialism or communism as the way to "solve the Jewish Question" and find a new identity.
T 0130PM-0430PM
Section 402 - SEM
JEWISH HISTORY AND JEWISH MEMORY: The seminar will consider Jewish reflections on the meaning of the past from the Bible until the present. It will present a survey of the history of Jewish historical writing including Josephus, medieval chronicles written both in the Moslem and Christian worlds, Jewish histories of the Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, and the rise of the academic study of Judaism in the 19th-century. It will conclude with a consideration of modern and contemporary historical trends. The alleged tension between Jewish notions of memory and the modern writing of history, as articulated in Yosef Yerushalmi's well Known book ZACHOR, will be a consistent theme throughout the course. Considerable reading of primary sources. A reading knowledge of Hebrew is helpful but not required.

W 0330PM-0630PM



Section 403 - SEM
THE HISTORY AND PRINCIPLES OF REFORM JUDAISM: Divided into History, Platforms, and Issues, this course provides the student with a comprehensive history of the Reform movement in Judaism in both Europe and America. It includes the changing belief structure of the movement, an analytic  comparison of Reform Judaism with other religious streams in modern Judaism, and a historical analysis and assessment of the questions that remain relevant for the movement today.
R 0300PM-0600PM



Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
215-898-6654 / 215-573-6026 fax / jsp-info@sas.upenn.edu