Course examines features of 9th-16th century Jewish culture within their broader historical, regional and cross-cultural contexts, whether Christian or Islamic. Emphasis is placed on primary sources in Hebrew. Topics vary and have included "Reconstructing Rabbinic Judaism prior to the First Millennium"; "Custom in Medieval Jewish Cultures"; "Jewish Culture in the Islamicate World"; "Nature in Medieval Jewish Culture". Students should be able to read unpointed Hebrew. May be repeated for credit.
Section 401 - SEM
Fall 2018: MEDIEVAL JEWISH CULTURE IN THE LANDS OF ISLAM Through close readings of primary sources in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic (the latter available in Hebrew or English translations), along with secondary scholarship, students will consider Jewish cultural phenomena that emerged within Islamic lands from the 9th-13th centuries. Topics to be explored include: overlapping Jewish and Muslim oral traditions pertaining biblical figures; the shift from oral to written culture and the centrality of the book to both Muslims and Jews in the 10th century; stabilizing the sacred text — Masora and its cross-cultural analogues; early Hebrew grammar; pioneering genres of Sa’adiah Gaon and his organization of Jewish knowledge; sensitivity to the editorial process and the role of the mudawin in Arabic and Jewish writings; medieval and modern construals of Jewish sectarianism in the Islamicate world; Qaraite innovations in biblical exegesis; the tafsir of Sa’adiah; poetic theory and the cultivation of illusion; poetry and prophecy; Sufism in Andalusian Jewish culture. Students must be able to read unpointed Hebrew texts. Undergraduates require instructor's permission. Seminar.
R 0300PM-0600PM


Jewish Studies Program
711 Williams Hall, 255 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
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