Courses for Fall 2024

Title Instructors Location Time Description Cross listings Fulfills Registration notes Syllabus Syllabus URL
JWST 0100-401 Elementary Modern Hebrew I Ibrahim Miari MTWR 12:00 PM-12:59 PM An introduction to the skills of reading, writing, and conversing in modern Hebrew. This course assumes no previous knowledge of Hebrew. A grade of B- or higher is needed to continue in the language. HEBR0100401, HEBR5100401
JWST 0100-402 Elementary Modern Hebrew I Ibrahim Miari MTWR 3:30 PM-4:29 PM An introduction to the skills of reading, writing, and conversing in modern Hebrew. This course assumes no previous knowledge of Hebrew. A grade of B- or higher is needed to continue in the language. HEBR0100402, HEBR5100402
JWST 0111-401 Archaeology & The Bible Timothy Hogue
Vanessa Workman
MW 12:00 PM-1:29 PM In this introductory course, students will learn how archaeology illuminates the material and social world behind the texts of the Hebrew Bible and contributes to debates about the history and culture of these societies. We will study the sites, artifacts, and art of the lands of Israel, Judah, Phoenicia, Philistia, Ammon, Moab, and Edom during the period framing the rise and fall of these kingdoms, ca. 1200 to 330 BCE. We will see how biblical archaeology arose in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, how the complex relationship between archaeology and the biblical text has evolved to the present day, and how new discoveries continue to challenge preconceptions about this period. We will learn a broad range of methods in both current archaeology and biblical studies and how they can be used to answer questions about ancient societies, their practices and beliefs, and the material and textual remains they left behind. ANTH0111401, MELC0100401 Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 0130-680 Studies in Ladino Daisy Braverman T 1:45 PM-4:44 PM The course will begin with and historical introduction to Sephardic Jewry. It will discuss the history and language of the Jews in Spain prior to their expulsion in 1492 and follow up with their history in the Ottoman Empire. It will then introduce the students to the phonology of the language both in a descriptive and historical perspective. There will also be discussion of the contrast with Castillian Spanish. After a discussion of the grammar, there will be lessons designed to teach the students conversational Judeo-Spanish, using dialogs, pictures, videos, music, visits with native speakers and other interactive methods.
JWST 0160-401 Beginning Yiddish I Alexander Botwinik TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM The goal of this course is to help beginning students develop skills in Yiddish conversation, reading and writing. Yiddish is the medium of a millennium of Jewish life. We will frequently have reason to refer to the history and culture of Ashkenazie Jewry in studying the language. YDSH0100401, YDSH5010401
JWST 0200-401 Elementary Modern Hebrew II Ibrahim Miari MTWR 1:45 PM-2:44 PM A continuation of first semester Elementary Modern Hebrew, which assumes basic skills of reading and speaking and the use of the present tense. Open to all students who have completed one semester of Hebrew at Penn with a grade of B- or above and new students with equivalent competency. HEBR0200401, HEBR5200401
JWST 0300-401 Intermediate Modern Hebrew III Joseph L Benatov W 12:00 PM-12:59 PM
TR 12:00 PM-1:29 PM
Development of the skills of reading, writing, and conversing in modern Hebrew on an intermediate level. Open to all students who have completed two semesters of Hebrew at Penn with a grade of B- or above and new students with equivalent competency. HEBR0300401, HEBR5300401
JWST 0300-402 Intermediate Modern Hebrew III Joseph L Benatov W 3:30 PM-4:29 PM
TR 3:30 PM-4:59 PM
Development of the skills of reading, writing, and conversing in modern Hebrew on an intermediate level. Open to all students who have completed two semesters of Hebrew at Penn with a grade of B- or above and new students with equivalent competency. HEBR0300402, HEBR5300402
JWST 0320-401 Modern Hebrew Lit. & Film in Translation: Founders of Israeli Literature: Including the Female Voice Nili R Gold T 12:00 PM-2:59 PM This course is designed to introduce students to the rich art of Modern Hebrew and Israeli literature and film. Poetry, short stories, and novel excerpts are taught in translation. The course studies Israeli cinema alongside literature, examining the various facets of this culture that is made of national aspirations and individual passions. The class is meant for all: no previous knowledge of history or the language is required. The topic changes each time the course is offered. Topics include: giants of Israeli literature; the image of the city; childhood; the marginalized voices of Israel; the Holocaust from an Israeli perspective; and fantasy, dreams & madness. CIMS0320401, COML0320401, MELC0320401 Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 0360-401 Intermediate Yiddish I Alexander Botwinik TR 12:00 PM-1:29 PM The course will continue the first year's survey of Yiddish grammar with an additional emphasis on reading Yiddish texts. The course will also develop conversational skills in Yiddish. YDSH0300401, YDSH5030401
JWST 0370-401 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew I Joshua A. Jeffers MW 1:45 PM-3:14 PM This course will focus on using the grammar and vocabulary learned at the introductory level to enable students to read Biblical texts independently and take advanced Bible exegesis courses. We will also work on getting comfortable with the standard dictionaries, concordances, and grammars used by scholars of the Bible. We will concentrate on prose this semester, closely reading Ruth, Jonah, and other prose selections. We will begin to translate from English into Biblical Hebrew, and there will also be a unit on the punctuation marks used in the Bible. This is a suitable entry point for students who already have strong Hebrew skills. MELC0303401, MELC5213401
JWST 0400-401 Intermediate Modern Hebrew IV Joseph L Benatov W 1:45 PM-2:44 PM
TR 1:45 PM-3:14 PM
This course constitutes the final semester of Intermediate Modern Hebrew. Hence, one of the main goals of the course is to prepare the students for the proficiency exam in Hebrew. Emphasis will be placed on grammar skills and ability to read literary texts. Open to all students who have completed three semesters of Hebrew at Penn with a grade of B- or above and new students with equivalent competency. HEBR0400401, HEBR5400401
JWST 1111-301 Yiddish Literature and Culture Shachar Levanon TR 3:30 PM-4:59 PM This course introduces a variety of themes and genres in Yiddish literature and culture, depending on the instructor and programmatic needs. The focus of the course may include Yiddish literature and culture in America; Yiddish literature and culture in Eastern Europe; Yiddish modernism; Art and music in the Yiddish context; Yiddish theater; Yiddish journalism; Yiddish film. Readings will be in English translation, while primary sources in Yiddish will be available, as well. Classes and coursework will be in English. There will be an optional graduate component to this course. COML1111301, GRMN1111301, YDSH1111401 Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 1130-401 How to Read the Bible Steven Phillip Weitzman TR 1:45 PM-3:14 PM The aim of this course is to explore what the Bible means, and why it means such different things to different people. Why do people find different kinds of meaning in the Bible. Who is right in the struggle over its meaning, and how does one go about deciphering that meaning in the first place? Focusing on the book of Genesis, this seminar seeks to help students answer these questions by introducing some of the many ways in which the Bible has been read over the ages. exploring its meaning as understood by ancient Jews and Christians, modern secular scholars, contemporary fiction writers, feminist activists, philosophers and other kinds of interpreter. MELC0365401, RELS1130401 Arts & Letters Sector
JWST 1200-401 The Bible in Translation Timothy Hogue R 12:00 PM-2:59 PM This course introduces students to one specific Book of the Hebrew Bible. "The Bible in Translation" involves an in-depth reading of a biblical source against the background of contemporary scholarship. Depending on the book under discussion, this may also involve a contextual reading with other biblical books and the textual sources of the ancient Near East. Although no prerequisites are required, this class is a perfect follow-up course to "Intro to the Bible." MELC1200401, MELC5200401, RELS1200401 Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 1310-401 Introduction to Modern Hebrew Literature: Israeli Identity 1948-2000, Case Study: Amichai Nili R Gold T 3:30 PM-6:29 PM The objective of this course is to develop an artistic appreciation for literature through in-depth class discussions and text analysis. Readings are comprised of Israeli poetry and short stories. Students examine how literary language expresses psychological and cultural realms. The course covers topics such as: the short story reinvented, literature and identity, and others. This course is conducted in Hebrew and all readings are in Hebrew. Grading is based primarily on participation and students' literary understanding. COML1311401, MELC1310401, MELC5400401 Arts & Letters Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 1600-401 Jews and Judaism in Antiquity Simcha Gross MW 8:30 AM-9:59 AM A broad introduction to the history of Jewish civilization from its Biblical beginnings to the Middle Ages, with the main focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. HIST1600401, MELC0350401, RELS1600401 History & Tradition Sector
Cross Cultural Analysis
JWST 1710-401 Jews in the Modern World Beth S. Wenger TR 10:15 AM-11:44 AM This course offers an intensive survey of the major currents in Jewish culture and society from the late middle ages to the present. Focusing upon the different societies in which Jews have lived, the course explores Jewish responses to the political, socio-economic, and cultural challenges of modernity. Topics to be covered include the political emancipation of Jews, the creation of new religious movements within Judaism, Jewish socialism, antisemitism, Zionism, the Holocaust, and the emergence of new Jewish communities in Israel and the United States. No prior background in Jewish history is expected. HIST1710401, MELC0360401, RELS1710401 Cross Cultural Analysis
History & Tradition Sector
JWST 3207-401 Conversion in Historical Perspective: Religion, Society, and Self Anne O Albert T 3:30 PM-6:29 PM Changes of faith are complex shifts that involve social, spiritual, intellectual, and even physical alterations. In the premodern West, when legal status was often determined by religious affiliation and the state of one’s soul was a deathly serious matter, such changes were even more fraught. What led a person to undertake an essential transformation of identity that could affect everything from food to family to spiritual fulfillment? Whether we are speaking of individual conversions of conscience or the coerced conversions of whole peoples en masse, religious change has been central to the global development and spread of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and reveals much about the people and contexts in which it took place.
This seminar will explore the dynamics of conversion across a range of medieval and early modern contexts. We will investigate the motivations for conversions, the obstacles faced by converts, and the issues raised by conversion from the perspective of those who remained within a single tradition. How did conversion efforts serve globalization and empire, and what other power relations were involved? How did peoplehood, nationality, or race play out in conversion and its aftermath? How did premodern people understand conversion differently from each other, and differently than their coreligionists or scholars do today? The course will treat a number of specific examples, including autobiographical conversion narratives and conversion manuals, the role ascribed to conversion in visions of messianic redemption, forced conversions under Spanish and Ottoman rule, missionizing in the age of European expansion, and more.
The course aims to hone students’ skills in thinking about—and with—premodern religiosity, opening up new perspectives on the past and present by reading primary texts and analytical research.
JWST 6120-401 Hannah Arendt: Literature, Philosophy, Politics Liliane Weissberg T 1:45 PM-4:14 PM The seminar will focus on Arendt's major work, The Origins of Totalitarianism (and its three parts, Anti-Semitism, Imperialism, Totalitarianism). We will also discuss the reception of this work and consider its relevance today. COML6120401, ENGL6120401, GRMN6120401, PHIL5439401