• Jewish History

  • Courses

    Qualified upperclassmen may receive permission to take courses in Jewish history at Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings.


    JHIS 1001; 1002 Survey of Jewish History
    3 credits

    Political, social, economic, and cultural currents in the history of the Jews from the Second Commonwealth through modern times. First semester: Second Commonwealth, late Roman period, and Jewry in the orbit of Islam; second semester: the Jews in medieval Christendom; the development of modern Jewish history.

    JHIS 1101 Ancient Jewish History
    3 credits

    History of the Jews to the end of the First Commonwealth, 586 BCE.

    JHIS 1105; 1106 History of the Ancient Near East
    3 credits

    First semester: third millennium BCE to 1300 BCE; second semester: 1300 BCE to 586 BCE.

    JHIS 1200 Classical Jewish History
    3 credits

    History of the Jews from 300 BCE to 500 CE.

    JHIS 1201; 1202 Classical Jewish History
    3 credits

    History of the Jews from the Second Commonwealth through the Talmudic period (586 BCE to 500 CE).

    JHIS 1231 The Apocrypha
    3 credits

    Survey of the Apocrypha, with intensive analysis of one or more of those books; historical and literary aspects.

    JHIS 1233 Early Jewish Movements
    3 credits

    Systematic survey of the Sadducees, Essenes, Dead Sea Sect, Sicarii, Zealots, and other movements during the period of the Second Commonwealth; their relation¬ship to biblical, Apocryphal, and rabbinic Judaism as well as other movements, notably Christianity.

    JHIS 1235 The Dead Sea Scrolls
    3 credits

    Archaeological, historical, and literary aspects of the scrolls; their place in the development of the Hebrew language and Jewish thought.

    JHIS 1300 Medieval Jewish History
    3 credits

    The Jewish people from the Gaonic period (500 CE) to the end of the Thirty Years’ War (1650).

    JHIS 1301; 1302 Medieval Jewish History
    3 credits

    The Jewish people from the Gaonic period (500 CE) to the Expulsion from Spain (1500).

    JHIS 1321 Jews in Medieval Christendom
    3 credits

    Jewish settlement in Italy and Franco¬Germany; Rashi and the Tosafists; law and society; the Crusades and the origins of medieval anti¬Semitism; Christian Spain— disputations, conversions, and Expulsion; the Jews in the Renaissance.

    JHIS 1323 Origins of European Jewry
    3 credits

    Origins of Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewry.

    JHIS 1325 Responsa Literature as a Source of Jewish History
    3 credits

    Social and economic life of the Jews in Germany, from the 11th to the 14th centuries, as reflected in Responsa.

    JHIS 1327; 1328 The Tosafists
    3 credits

    The literary and juridical creativity of Ashkenazic scholarship in the 12th and 13th centuries.

    JHIS 1329 History of Halakhah
    3 credits

    Historical development of post-Talmudic legal decision making.

    JHIS 1330 History of Minhagim
    3 credits

    Historical development of post-Talmudic customs and practices.

    JHIS 1332 History of Medieval Biblical Exegesis
    3 credits

    Leading trends and figures in Biblical interpretations during the 12th and 13th centuries.

    JHIS 1335 The Jews of Medieval Spain
    3 credits

    The Jews in Christian and Moslem Spain; the Golden Age; the Expulsion.

    JHIS 1344 Jewish-Christian Polemics
    3 credits

    The debates between Christians and Jews in the Middle Ages based on differences in philosophy and biblical exegesis; their role in shaping and reflecting social and legal relationships.

    JHIS 1371; 1372 Jews in the Medieval Moslem World
    3 credits

    Judaism and Islam; the protected minority; Gaonate and Exilarchate; Karaism and false Messianism; Saadiah Gaon and medieval Jewish philosophy; the flowering of Jewish culture in Moslem Spain; the migration to Provence.

    JHIS 1400 Modern Jewish History
    3 credits

    One-semester survey of the material covered in Modern Jewish History I; II.

    JHIS 1401; 1402 Modern Jewish History I; II
    3 credits

    Rise and flowering of the Eastern European Jewish communities; Hasidism; the Enlightenment; the Emancipation and development of Western European Jewry; American Jewry; new religious currents; modern anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; Zionism and the founding of the State of Israel. First semester: 1600–1900; second semester: 1900–1948.

    JHIS 1403 Destruction of Polish Jewry
    3 credits

    Seminar analyzing the destruction of Polish Jewry during World War II.

    JHIS 1415; 1416 History of Zionism
    3 credits

    Rise and development of modern Jewish nationalism against the backdrop of contemporary Western civilization and the scope of Jewish history; writings of major Zionist ideologues; role of Zionism within the major Diaspora communities; impact of the rise of the Jewish state movement on the world political and diplomatic scene.

    JHIS 1451 The Jews in Eastern Europe I
    3 credits

    History of the Jewish people in Eastern Europe from the Early Settlement to the Third Partition of Poland (1795).

    JHIS 1452 The Jews in Eastern Europe II
    3 credits

    History of the Jewish people in Eastern Europe since 1795.

    JHIS 1454 Polish-Jewish Relations in Modern Times
    3 credits

    (Same as HIST 1580.)
    Polish-Jewish relations in the period 1764 to the present, viewed within the larger context of the disappearance of Poland from the political map of Europe in the late 18th century, the persistence of Polish statelessness throughout 19th century, and the influence of this development on the lack of Jewish social integration into Polish society. Second part of the course examines the thriving Jewish cultural and spiritual life in the independent Polish state, the Holocaust, post-World War II relations, and the current renewal of Jewish life in Poland.

    JHIS 1457H From Tradition to Modernity: The Jewish Experience in Prague
    3 credits

    Hands-on survey of Jewish history, thought, and literature as reflected in Prague from the Maharal to Kafka. A summer honors course offered abroad.

    JHIS 1468 Ethnic and Religious Minorities in the Middle East
    3 credits

    (Same as HIST 3228.)
    Examines the process of change of the Middle East from a religious and ethnic mosaic to an increasingly homogeneous region. Topics include the process of conversion to Islam and the relationships between the Islamic regimes of the Middle East and their religious and ethnic minorities, focusing on Christians and Jews, and the effects of modernization, European colonialism, and nationalism on the minorities in the region.

    JHIS 1471; 1472 Jews in the Modern Arab World
    3 credits

    Communal, economic, and cultural history of the Jews in Moslem lands in modern times.
    Prerequisite: JHIS 1002.

    JHIS 1485; 1486 The Holocaust
    3 credits

    (Same as HIST 1285.)
    Fate of European Jewry between 1933 and 1945. Topics include the rise of the Jewish question in 19th-century Europe; World War I and its consequences; causes of the Weimar Republic’s collapse; Nazi seizure of power; Nazi Jewish policies; ghettoization in Nazi Europe; conception and implementation of the Nazi Final Solution; life in the ghettos; the Judenrat; and Jewish resistance. Under the Eli And Diana Zborowski Professorial Chair in Interdisciplinary Holocaust Studies.

    JHIS 1501; 1505 History of Palestine
    3 credits

    Immigration and settlements; relations with ruling powers; rise of independence. First semester: under the Turks, 1880–1918; second semester: under the British, 1919–1948.

    JHIS 1511; 1512 Modern Israel
    3 credits

    Comprehensive survey of the history of Israel from 1948 to the present; political, economic, and social developments; current problems.

    JHIS 1573 American Jewish History
    3 credits

    (Same as HIST 2581.)
    Major political, economic, and cultural developments from colonial beginnings to the present; the Jewish experience in its American historical context; the Jewish labor movement, rise of American Zionism, and role of American Jewry during the Holocaust.

    JHIS 1575; 1576; American Jewish History
    3 credits

    The Jewish community in the United States: its development from earliest times; immi-gration and settlement; social, economic, and communal development; contribution to American civilization; the modern and contemporary scene. American Jews and the Holocaust, State of Israel, civil rights movement, Russian Jewry, inner-city tensions.

    JHIS 1577 Jewish Religion in America
    2–3 credits

    JHIS 1803 Historiography
    3 credits

    Seminar on the great Jewish historians; their philosophy, method, and works from ancient times to the present.

    JHIS 1807; 1808; 1809; 1810 Topics
    2 credits

    Selected topics in Jewish history.
    Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

    JHIS 1811 Messianic Movements in Judaism
    3 credits

    History of various Messianic movements among the Jewish people from the 1st to the 19th centuries.

    JHIS 1829; 1830; 1831; 1832; 1833; 1834 Jewish Intellectual History
    3 credits

    Sequence of courses focusing on major themes in the intellectual history of the Jews from the Second Commonwealth to the present; readings almost exclusively from primary sources. JHIS 1829; 1830 covers the classical period; 1831; 1832, medieval period; 1833, early modern period; 1834, modern period.

    JHIS 4901, 4902 Independent Study
    See Academic Information and Policies section.

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