Weekly seminar explores expressions of Jewish political thought--and, where possible, political action-- from biblical times to the present. Themes include the leadership of biblical priests, prophets and kings; covenant as the basis of the theocratic polity the status of outsiders in biblical and rabbinic societies; constructions of political authority; changing understandings of Jewish "nationhood"; messianism; medieval Jewish ruminations on ideal government; the non-sovereign Jewish community's relationship to rulers; manifestations of Jewish communal autonomy; tensions between rabbinic and lay leadership; biblical Israel as a model for governance in early modern political thought; debates over Jewish Emancipation; expressions of Jewish socialism; varieties of pre-state Zionist thought; contemporary messianic Zionism; contemporary manifestations of Jewish political concerns. Primary sources (English translation) include readings from Hebrew Bible, ancient rabbinic texts, Jewish communal decrees, Moses Maimonides and other medieval Jewish thinkers; Baruch Spinoza, Moses Mendelssohn, Ber Barochov, Theodor Herzl, Martin Buber, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Yeshayahu Leibovitz and contemporary writers. One session will take place in the Rare Book Room of Van Pelt Library. No prior knowledge is assumed.
Section 401 - SEM


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