Course topics will vary; have included The Binding of Isaac, Responses to Catastrophes in Jewish History, and Concepts of Jewishness from Biblical Israel to the Modern State.
Though Judaism is rightly known as a culture that exalts the study of text, performance of rituals is no less important for adherents who seek to fulfill divine command, rabbinic obligation and/or communal expectation. Christian thinkers in medieval and early modern Europe identified Jewish "ceremonial law" as a component of sacred Scripture whose authority had expired, and they ridiculed Jews for practicing "carnal" rather than "spiritual" religion. This course has a two-fold focus: Drawing on the insights of anthropology and ritual theory, students will explore the cultural logic of a range of concrete practices undertaken by Israelites and Jews in different geographic locales, from biblical times through the present. Students will also examine the perception and portrayal of Jewish customs in Christian theological, political and proto-ethnographic writings from the 7th -16th centuries. Readings from primary sources will be in English translation.
Section 401 - SEM
WILLIAMS HALL 421
Department of Anthropology
Museum, Room 325, 3260 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 898-7461 Fax: (215) 898-7462