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Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations (NELC)


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Fall 2018 Placement Test Information

Arabic: Monday, August 27, 4:00PM to 6:00PM in Williams Hall, Room 201

Hebrew: Monday, August 27, 8:00AM to 10:00AM in Claudia Cohen Hall, Room 402

Pre-registration is not required


Fall 2018 Topics Course Descriptions

NELC159: Modern Hebrew Literature and Culture in Translation: Autobiography

Modern Hebrew literature, an offspring of Zionism, has long rejected writing about one’s personal life as embarrassing narcissism. Now, however, many well-known Israeli artists have reached the stage where they want to tell their true stories. and the younger generation has grown up during an individualistic period where it is acceptable to talk openly about trauma (as on talk shows and social media). The genres examined in this course are fluid: autobiographies, memoirs, poetry, fiction and films that have elements of the artist’s life story. Literary works are read in translation. Authors include: Yehuda Amichai, Aharon Appelfeld, Haim Be’er, Amir Guttfreund, Amos Oz, Dahlia Ravikovitch, and S.Y. Agnon. Filmmakers include: Eli Cohen, Ari Folman, Marjane Satrapi, Dror Shaul, and. Shemi Zarhin


HEBR 583: Medieval Jewish Culture in the Lands of Islam

Through close readings of primary sources in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic (the latter available in Hebrew or English translations), along with secondary scholarship, students will consider Jewish cultural phenomena that emerged within Islamic lands from the 9th-13th centuries. Topics to be explored include: overlapping Jewish and Muslim oral traditions pertaining biblical figures; the shift from oral to written culture and the centrality of the book to both Muslims and Jews in the 10th century; stabilizing the sacred text- Masora and its cross-cultural analogues; early Hebrew grammar; pioneering genres of Sa’adiah Gaon and his organization of Jewish knowledge; sensitivity to the editorial process and the role of the mudawin in Arabic and Jewish writings; medieval and modern construals of Jewish sectarianism in the Islamicate world ; Qaraite innovations in biblical exegesis; the tafsir of Sa’adiah; poetic theory and the cultivation of illusion; poetry and prophecy; Sufism in Andalusian Jewish culture. Students must be able to read unvocalized Hebrew texts.