Course topics will vary; have included The Binding of Isaac, Responses to Catastrophies in Jewish History, Holy Men & Women (Ben-Amos); Rewriting the Bible (Dohrmann); Performing Judaism (Fishman); Jewish Political Thought (Fishman); Jewish Esotericism (Lorberbaum). Democratic culture assumes the democracy of knowledge- the accessibility of knowledge and its transparency. Should this always be the case? What of harmful knowledge? When are secrets necessary? In traditional Jewish thought, approaching the divine has often assumed an aura of danger. Theological knowledge was thought of as restricted. This seminar will explore the "open" and "closed" in theological knowledge, as presented in central texts of the rabbinic tradition: the Mishnah, Maimonides and the Kabbalah. Primary sources will be available in both Hebrew and English.
Section 401 - SEM
What did writing mean for ancient Jews and why is there a scripture? When did the Bible become the Bible? How and what did the Bible mean to ancient communities? What was the nature of canon and authority in its earliest history, and how did biblical communities think about and even know about their sacred texts and sacred stories? How did they pass them on? The answers to these questions are varied and surprising. We will think widely and creatively about ancient textuality, orality, interpretation, memory, composition, and authority. This course looks at ancient texts that both write and rewrite the tradition’s own central texts. Moving between theoretical approaches and primary sources, the course will examine the ways that biblical and post-biblical literature manifest complex ideas about creativity, power, meaning, and religiosity.
TR 0300PM-0430PM