College of the
Liberal Arts

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Welcome to Jewish Civilization

Cross-listed: JST/HEBR 010


This course will present a broad overview of Jewish history and culture, and will use the notion of identity as a window through which to view those processes. We will trace continuity and change in Jewish identity from ancient to modern times and across different regions, and will see that Jewish identity has varied tremendously over time and place. We will explore diverse Jewish experiences and how they have shaped a variety of Jewish identities. In addition, we will consider the many ways that identities mold everyday social interactions, affecting lives for both better and worse.


Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe and summarize the scope of Jewish history and cultures.
  • Explain the social and cultural processes that have shaped Jewish history and change.
  • Synthesize and communicate information in writing.

A fundamental aim of the course is to facilitate critical thinking; that is, to encourage students to learn to focus, to refine and develop priorities that are based upon systematic, evidence-based, and rational analyses, and to gain a healthy skepticism toward perspectives that demand complete agreement. My hope is that students will leave each of my courses a bit more "hard-nosed" about any narrative, history, conclusion, or perspective and that, based on such an attitude, they will develop a clearer sense of their own goals, how to achieve them, and how to convey them to others.




Online Learning Readiness

Take the optional Online Learning Readiness Survey to gain insight into your self-directedness, learning preferences, study habits, technology skills, and computer equipment capabilities.

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