This course explores the fascinating history of Jews in medieval Spain, from the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in 711 to the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. We will cover such topics as the origins and self-perception of Spanish Jews; community structure and leadership; relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians; the golden age and the study of kabbalah and philosophy; and subsequent conversions, persecutions, and expulsions. All sources are in English; no prior background is required.
Section 402 - SEM
JWST 230.402 JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN MESSIANISM IN THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD The course will explore the interplay between Jewish and Christian imagery of the imminent coming of the Messiah during the 16th-18th centuries. While the fundamentals of both Jewish and Christian Messianism were laid in Late Antiquity, the early modern period saw an unprecedented resurgence of messianic expectations. We shall trace these developments focusing on the development of the kabbalistic vocabulary of Messianism, the interchange between Jewish and Christian kabbalists, and the most important Messiah-claimants in both religions. Pawel Maciejko is Joseph H. and Belle Braun Senior Lecturer in the Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research focuses on Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism in the early modern period. His recent book, The Mixed Multitude: Jacob Frank and the Frankist Movement 1756-1816 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press 2011) won the Salo Baron Prize of the American Academy of Jewish Research.
Section 401 - SEM
 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. Seminar.
T 0130PM-0430PM
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