Course Offerings Spring 2018

The following courses are available for credit towards the minor in Jewish Studies.


HEBR 1002, Beginning Hebrew (4.0 credits)        
Section 1: 9:30 am-10:20 am, MTWTH, 116 Lockett, P. Anderson
HEBR 2004, Intermediate Hebrew (4.0 credits)
Section 1: MTWTH 8:30-9:20, 116 Lockett, P. Anderson
HIST 2160, Contemporary Middle East (3.0 credits)
Broad introductory survey of social and political history of the modern Middle East, beginning from late eighteenth century through struggles for independence up to the Arab uprisings of 2011; highlights the central dynamics involved in the formation of contemporary society in Middle East. This is a General Education course.
Section 1: 10:30 am-12:20 pm, MWF, 112 Lockett, Alam
POLI 4060, Politics of Israel (3.0 credits)
This course is an introduction to the political system of the modern state of Israel.  After a quick review of the history of the Zionist movement and the foundation of the state of Israel, the course will focus on the social, economic, and demographic evolution of the country since 1948.  These developments help explain the diversity of political parties which compete in legislative elections, and comprise coalition governments of varying stability.  Whether there will be an early election during the course of the semester remains to be seen.  The course will cover some of the quirks of the Israeli system, such as the use of judicial review in the absence of a written constitution, the use of US style primaries in a PR system, and the failed experiment with the direct election of the Prime Minister.  We will conclude with discussions of some of the ongoing controversies in Israeli politics, including what exactly it means to be a Jewish State, relationships with the European Union and the United States, the future of the territories occupied in 1967, and the maintenance of the Israeli nuclear monopoly in the region.
Section 1: 9:00 am-10:20 am, TTH, 116 Stubbs, Ray
*REL 1004.1: Old Testament
REL 1004 is a broad survey that covers most of the literature of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and addresses literary, historical, archaeological, and theological issues. We will employ historical-critical methods to examine the religious ideas and practices of ancient Israel against the background of the cultures of its near eastern neighbors, including Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Syria. To prepare for each topic of lecture/discussion, we will read numerous narratives from the Bible, related passages from the required textbook, and selected articles by modern scholars.
TTH 9:00-10:20, Isbell
*REL 1004.2, Old Testament
REL 1004 is a survey of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) against the background of the history and religious life of ancient Israel. The approach to the literature is strictly historical and intended for undergraduates without prior experience in the academic study of the Bible.
TTH 10:30 am-11:50 am, Irvine
REL 2120, The Holocaust
Often the “Holocaust” is taught as a consciousness-raising exercise, virtually a case study in “victimology.” Another method of teaching the “Holocaust” involves intense focus on a specific twelve-year period of time in Europe. But the Holocaust did not start in 1933. In this course, we will put a great deal of time into the effort to describe and comprehend the political, theological, and social factors that came together in 1933 Germany to reveal the Nazi Sho’ah as a logical outcome of the two millennia of European attitudes and actions that preceded Hitler and his minions. After learning the facts about the rise and development of anti-Semitism leading up to World War II, we will analyze the manner in which anti-Semitism morphed into the Nazi “Final Solution,” the effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe.
TTH, 10:30 am-11:50 am, Isabell
REL/ANTH 3004, Archaeology and the Bible
Since Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt and Palestine in 1798, archaeologists have discovered a vast quantity of artifacts and texts from the ancient Near East. This course examines a selection of the archaeological finds that relate to the historical study of the Bible and Israelite religion. The main goal is to become conversant with the interpretive issues and scholarly debates. The class format will combine lecture and student discussion.
TTH, 3:00-4:20, Irvine
REL 4050, A History of God
This course explores a significant dimension of religion: belief in a divine being or beings. It is focused on, but not limited to, conceptions divine beings in Western civilization. From a historical perspective, we trace early conceptions of the gods from animism to polytheism to Jewish monotheism. From a literary perspective, we consider God as a character in the Hebrew Bible, using Jack Miles’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning study God: A Biography. Turning to Greek traditions, we consider the god of Greek philosophy and Hellenistic conceptions of the divine human. We consider how Christian belief in Jesus as God developed into the concept of the Christian Trinity. From philosophical and scientific perspectives, we consider arguments for and against the existence of God. From a modern perspective, we consider the “death” of God in the thought of writers such as Feuerbach and Freud. In contemporary developments, we consider the rebirth of the goddess in goddess-centered religions. In contemporary literature, we read Franco Ferrucci’s novel The Life of God (as told by Himself). We also view the Carl Reiner film “Oh, God!” starring George Burns as God.
W 6:00 pm-9:00 pm, Burkett