The Judaic Studies program combines courses in Judaic studies (JUST), English (ENGL), Hebrew (HEBR), History (HIST), Philosophy (PHIL) and Religious Studies (RLGS) to give students a well-rounded perspective on Jewish culture, thought and history.
Undergraduate students can earn a minor in Judaic Studies. Graduate students can apply 3000-level and 4000-level Judaic Studies courses toward a number of graduate degree programs at DU.
CJS is offering several courses this Winter quarter. Click here for the list of Winter 2014 courses.
Winter 2014 CJS courses
|HEBR||1002||Elementary Hebrew||4||MTWR 12-12:50||Sari Havis|
|HEBR||2002||Intermediate Hebrew||4||MTWR 1-1:50||Sari Havis|
|JUST/HEBR||3010||Aspects of Modern Hebrew||4||MTWR 2-2:50||Sari Havis|
|JUST 3703/PHIL 3701||3703/3701||Kant, Maimon, Cohen, and Rosenzweig: Perfectionism and Idealism in German and Jewish Philosophy||4||MW 4-5:50||Karin Nisenbaum|
|JUST/RLGS||3890||Religion & Diaspora||4||TR 2-2:50||Alison Schofield|
|JUST||2991||Independent Study||Var||Contact CJS|
|JUST||3991||Independent Study||Var||.||Contact CJS|
We have included the latest list of Judaic studies courses in the above drop-down menu. The list of Winter 2014 courses is also downloadable as a PDF.
Please note: Starting in the Winter 2014 quarter, you can register for all JUST courses on the Registration page in Webcentral by searching in the subject box under the "Judaic Studies" subject.
Also note: HEBR 1002 and 2002 are not listed under "Judaic Studies" in the subject search box, but do contain a Judaic Studies Attribute. These courses will still count toward the Judaic Studies minor requirements. You can register for these courses by searching in the subject box under, "Hebrew."
Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions or need help registering.
Associated MA Programs
CJS does not have an independent MA program; rather, we work with existing MA programs on campus. If you would like to pursue MA level Judaic Studies work, you will need to apply for and be accepted to one of the many MA programs available at DU:
- Religious Studies
- Philosophy and Religious Studies
- University of Denver-Iliff School of Theology Joint Doctoral Program (various MA tracks)
- Other: 3000-level and 4000-level Judaic studies courses can be integrated into many MA programs at DU.
Associated PhD Programs
CJS does not have an independent PhD program; rather, we work with existing PhD programs on campus. If you would like to pursue PhD level Judaic Studies work, you will need to apply for and be accepted to one of the many PhD programs available at DU:
- University of Denver-Iliff School of Theology Joint Doctoral Program (various PhD tracks, including: Biblical interpretation; theology, philosophy, and cultural theory)
- Other: 3000-level and 4000-level Judaic studies courses can be integrated into many PhD programs at DU.
Course Catalogue: Full listing of CJS courses
If you are looking for a list for this quarter's classes, see "Current Quarter's Judaic Studies Courses" above.
The expandable menus below show the complete list of Judaic studies courses from the DU Course Catalog. We've broken down this complete list of courses by their subject departments: English (ENGL), Hebrew (HEBR), History (HIST), Philosophy (PHIL), Religious Studies (RLGS). There are also some Judaic studies courses (including internships and independent study options) only listed under "JUST".
The Bible as Literature (4-quarter hours)
This course is an analytical/critical study of selected books of the Bible with an emphasis on its literary qualities, genres and influence. We read the Bible, one of the most important works in all of Western culture, as a masterpiece of literature. Rather than focusing on theological questions about this work as inspired scripture, we instead focus on its rich literary qualities and explore some ways in which these stories have influenced modern society. Reading select passages, we discuss its literary genres, forms, symbols and motifs, many of which are important in modern literature—such as hero stories, origin stories, parables, apocalyptic literature, the loss of Eden and the Promised Land.
American Jewish Literature (4-quarter hours)
This course surveys more than 100 years of American Jewish immigrant narratives, beginning with the great exodus of Eastern European and Russian Jewry at the end of the 19th century and ending with recent arrivals from Israel and the former U.S.S.R. Canonical works by central authors reveal the great successes of Jewish immigrants alongside their spiritual failures. A selection of memoir, novels, short stories, and poetry in English and in translation from Hebrew and Yiddish demonstrate the multilingual character of the Jewish experience in America. Ultimately, the story of Jewish immigration emerges as an American rags-to-riches story that all immigrant groups share. While helpful, no knowledge of Jewish languages, religious tradition or cultural practice is necessary to succeed in this course.
Modern Hebrew Literature in Translation: Against All Odds (4-quarter hours)
This course offers a survey of significant works of modern Hebrew literary fiction by major authors in translation. To flesh out the historical context, a number of documents, essays, and excerpts will also be provided. Students will consider how the development of Hebrew literature has contributed to the formation of contemporary Israeli identity, and how the conflicts that define the turbulent history of Israel are treated in works of prose fiction by canonical authors. The selection of diverse literary materials exposes students to the social, political, and historical changes wrought by the rise of modern day Israel. Through lectures, close-reading, and exercises, students will gain an appreciation for some of the fundamental tensions that define Hebrew literature and Israeli culture: (1) collective vs. individual identity, (2) Jewish vs. Arab/Palestinian nationalism, (3) the concept of Diaspora vs. Zion. Our study aims to reveal the historical and ideological context of these tensions to offer a nuanced perspective on an area of the world in conflict. Readings are roughly chronological, and will be coached on various interpretive strategies, the intent of which is to make their time spent reading more valuable. While helpful, no knowledge of Hebrew, Jewish tradition, or Israeli history is necessary to succeed in this course.
Readings—Hebrew Literature (4-quarter hours)
This course covers selected authors or genres in Hebrew literature. Prerequisites: JUST/HEBR 2003 or equivalent, and instructor's permission.
Modern Jewish Literature (4-quarter hours)
This course explores stories, novels and memoirs by 20th-century Jewish writers considering issues of generation, gender and the idea of Jewish literature as a genre.
Classic Jewish Texts (4-quarter hours)
This course is a literary and historical examination of representative biblical, rabbinic, mystical and philosophical works. Prerequisite: JUST/HEBR 2003 or instructor's permission.
Elementary Hebrew (4-quarter hours each)
HEBR 1001, 1002, 1003
Elementary Hebrew is an introduction to classical grammar, syntax and modern speech patterns. It is a three-quarter-long sequence.
Intermediate Hebrew (4-quarter hours each)
HEBR 2001, 2002, 2003
Intermediate Hebrew is a continuation of language study with emphasis on the living language of contemporary Israel. It is a three-quarter-long sequence.
Prerequisite: JUST/HEBR 1003 or equivalent
Aspects of Modern Hebrew (4 quarter hours)
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed Intermediate Hebrew. It facilitates communicative competence in Hebrew across interpretive, interpersonal and presentational modes through constant immersion in Hebrew. It also expands knowledge of Israeli culture while interacting solely in Hebrew. This course is not open to native speakers of Hebrew. Prerequisite: HEBR/JUST 2003 or equivalent.
Culture and Conscience in Vienna (4-quarter hours)
This course focuses on the cultural and social history of the city of Vienna as the hub of culture, politics, and religion for Central Europe with special attention to its religious heritage as the seedbed for its rich cultural traditions. The course examines how the city's religious heritage, particularly Judaism, shaped its rich cultural heritage and the birth of modernism. A special segment of the course is devoted to the Nazi period and the Holocaust, including the study of the resistance of religious groups. The course concludes with a history of the post-Nazi period with attention to the development of Vienna as the hub of international social justice projects. The class is taught in seminar format and combines lectures with site visits to major cultural and historical sites around the city. The course consists of a weekly colloquium that discusses in a moderated format the implications, religious, social, and cultural issues, and common experiences of students engaged in international service-learning as part of a faculty-led international service learning quarter-long program in Vienna, Austria.
American Jewish History (4-quarter hours)
This course explores the origins and development of Jewish community in the United States from 1654-1948, and the interaction of American and Jewish culture and relationships among different groups of Jewish immigrants.
History of the Modern Jewish Experience (4-quarter hours)
Study concepts, documents, movements and practices of modern Jewish history.
The Arab-Israeli Conflict: 1881–2000 (4-quarter hours)
This course aims to introduce students to the political, social and cultural history of the Arab-Israeli conflict from the initial Jewish migration to Palestine in the 1880s through the Oslo Accords.
The Modern Middle East: 1798–1991 (4-quarter hours)
This course traces the history and development of the modern Middle East from Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 through the Persian Gulf War in 1991. We pay special attention to the impact of colonialism and great power diplomacy on the region.
US Foreign Policy in the Middle East (4 quarter hours)
This course aims to introduce students to both Middle Eastern history and American Foreign Policy by exploring the politics and culture of U.S. involvement in the Middle East in the post-WWII period. In doing so this course pays special attention to the impact of the Cold War in the Middle East, American policy towards the Arab-Israeli conflict, the role of oil in American foreign policy, American responses to the rise of Islamist movements, the impact of media and culture on the formulation of America's Middle Eastern policies, and U.S. relations with dictatorial governments in the Middle East.
Contemporary Israel (4-quarter hours)
This course covers the history of Jewish and non-Jewish life in the land of Israel from rabbinic times, and explores the significance of land and state of Israel to world Jewry.
History of Zionism and Israel (4-quarter hours)
This course covers a brief history of Jewish and non-Jewish life in Israel from rabbinic times to rise of modern Zionism, the history of Zionism and development of political, religious, economic, and social culture and institutions of modern Israel, and the significance of the land and state of Israel to world Jewry.
US-Israeli Relations (4 quarter hours)
This course deals with the history of United States-Israeli relations from 1948 - 2011. Some of the key topics covered include: the U.S. decision to recognize Israel; cultural foundations for U.S. support of Israel; Christian Zionism; the origins of the U.S.-Israeli "Special Relationship"; the Cold War in the Middle East; U.S. peacemaking successes and failures; the role of the pro-Israeli lobby; and the impact of September 11, 2001 on U.S.-Israeli relations.
Judaic Studies (JUST)
Spaces of Memory: Texts and Contexts of Argentina's Dirty War (4-quarter hours)
From 1976–1983, the Argentine military government engaged in a campaign of terror against its citizens, some of whom were suspected of dissidence and subversion while many others were considered a threat "by association" to the stability of the regime. It is estimated that during the seven years of this "Dirty War" some 30,000 civilians were "disappeared," abducted by the government and sent to secret spaces where they were detained, tortured and eventually killed. This course, taught in Buenos Aires, explores the construction of memory in both texts and physical spaces touched by the violence, repression and disappearance in Argentina. The course also examines anti-Semitism during the military dictatorship, as well as the role of memory in reconstructing: discourses; testimonial literature, and the modern and postmodern views of representation; narratives of exile and dispersion; and points of convergence between this literature and other survivor testimonial narratives—particularly those of the Shoah. Students will meet with writers and activists whose work is informed by the atrocities of the "Dirty War," and will visit the Organization of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and public spaces of memory, such as the Parque de la Memoria, the ESMA, the AMIA building, the Baldosas, etc.
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (4-quarter hours)
Israeli Society Through Film: Narratives of the Holocaust, War and Terror in Israeli Life (4-quarter hours)
This course analyzes fundamental aspects of Israeli-Jewish collective identity through a consideration of the trauma of the Holocaust, and explores the representation of these issues in Israeli film from the 1960s to today. The course presents and analyzes narratives of human experience in traumatic times and their after-effects via cinematic perceptions of Holocaust survivors and their offspring, the relationship the Israeli native Sabra and the Holocaust survivor, the impact of war on soldiers and their families, and the Israeli experience of terror. Screenings of Israeli film is a central part of the course. All films are in Hebrew with English subtitles. No prerequisites
Topics in Judaic Studies (1- to 4-quarter hours each)
JUST 2700, 2701, 2702
Topics vary, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the department and studies of the faculty.
The Holocaust (4-quarter hours)
This course is a multidisciplinary study (literature, history, religion, philosophy, sociology) concerning treatment of Jews in Nazi Europe from 1930 –1947.
Topics in Judaic Studies (1- to 4-quarter hours)
Topics vary, reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the department and studies of the faculty.
Internship (4- to 5-quarter hours)
Hebrew Composition (2-quarter hours)
This course offers writing instruction in the Hebrew language. Prerequisites: JUST/HEBR 1003 or equivalent and instructor's permission
Jewish Philosophy (4-quarter hours)
This course sets out to explore the self and the sacred in Jewish tradition by exploring the nature of faith and reason, the call to ethical response and the meaning of divine revelation in multiple Jewish philosophical voices across the ages—including Philo, Saadya, Halevi, Maimonides, Soloveitchik, Buber, Rosenzweig and Levinas.
Great Thinkers: Maimonides—Politics, Prophecy and Providence (4-quarter hours)
Using "The Guide for the Perplexed" as our central text, we explore the complex philosophical ideas of Moses Maimonides (1135–1204), one of the central figures in medieval philosophy and Jewish thought.Our study includes analyses of his ideas on: principles of faith, human perfection, intellectual vs. "imaginational" approaches to truth, pedagogy and politics, reasons for the commandments, the nature of God and divine will, the limits of human knowledge, the mechanics of prophecy, and the parameters and implications of providence.
Great Thinkers: Maimonides—Greek, Muslim and Christian Encounters (4-quarter hours)
Using "The Guide of the Perplexed" as our central text, we explore the complex philosophical ideas of Moses Maimonides (1135–1204), a central figure in the history of ideas and in the history of Jewish thought. In this course, we examine in depth the relationship between Maimonides' core ideas and various Greek, Muslim and Christian thinkers. Topics include: Aquinas and Maimonides on negative theology; Aristotle and Maimonides on creation, eternity and providence; Maimonidean emanation meets Plotinus, "The Theology of Aristotle" and the "Liber de Causis"; and relating Maimonides' cosmological and political theories to Avicenna, al-Farabi and Averroes.
Jewish Ethics and Social Values (4-quarter hours)
This course applies Jewish legal and moral norms to pressing social problems.
Philosophy Meets Mysticism: A Greek, Jewish and Muslim Neoplatonic Journey (4-quarter hours)
Looking at the poetry and philosophy of such figures as Isaac Israeli, Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Abraham Ibn Ezra, this course investigates the Jewish Neoplatonic conception of divine presence and its implications for human beings across a rich tradition of thinkers and texts. Themes addressed include: the cosmic role of love and desire; the theological significance of beauty and imagination; and the act of writing as an act of sacred devotion. In our efforts to unpack these themes in their proper conceptual contexts, we also address: the Greek Neoplatonic underpinnings of Jewish Neoplatonism in the 3rd-century thought of Plotinus; the Islamic/Arabic context of Jewish Neoplatonism in such works as The Theology of Aristotle and the Liber de Causis; and the links between Jewish Neoplatonism and Jewish mystical thought.
Modern Jewish Philosophy (4-quarter hours)
Covering a range of modern thinkers from the 17th to the late-20th century, this course's topics include reason and revelation, human autonomy and responsibility, aesthetics, post-Holocaust theology, responses to Kant, responses to Heidegger, ethics, and the quest for authenticity.
Religious studies (RLGS)
The Bible as Literature (4-quarter hours)
This course is an an analytical/critical study of selected books of the Bible with an emphasis on its literary qualities, genres, and influence. We read the Bible, one of the most important works in all of Western culture, as a masterpiece of literature. Rather than focusing on theological questions about this work as inspired scripture, we instead focus on its rich literary qualities and explore some ways in which these stories have influenced modern society. Reading select passages, we discuss its literary genres, forms, symbols, and motifs, many of which are important in modern literature, such as hero stories, origin stories, parables, apocalyptic literature, the loss of Eden and the Promised Land.
Culture and Conscience in Vienna (4-quarter hours)
This course focuses on the cultural and social history of the city of Vienna as the hub of culture, politics, and religion for central Europe with special attention to its religious heritage as the seedbed for its rich cultural traditions. The course examines how the city's religious heritage, particularly Judaism, shaped its rich cultural heritage and the birth of modernism. A special segment of the course is devoted to the Nazi period and the Holocaust, including the study of the resistance of religious groups. The course concludes with a history of the post-Nazi period with attention to the development of Vienna as the hub of international social justice projects. The class is taught in seminar format and combines lectures with site visits to major cultural and historical sites around the city. The course consists of a weekly colloquium that discusses in a moderated format the implications, religious, social, and cultural issues, and common experiences of students engaged in international service-learning as part of a faculty-led international service-learning quarter-long program in Vienna, Austria.
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (4-quarter hours)
The legacy of the Hebrew Bible has been great for both Western and World culture. In this course, we read the books of the Hebrew Bible critically as literature, as religious text and as a course of sociological knowledge. The students gain a general overview of the narrative and historical development of the text while simultaneously being introduced to the various modes of biblical interpretation. Emphasis is placed on situating the literature and religious expression of the Bible within its ancient Near Eastern milieu.
This course takes a multifaceted approach (historical, literary, and critical) to the writings that comprise the Christian New Testament. The New Testament are read as a collection of primary documents that chronicle the primitive Church's slow and often painful process of self-definition. In these writings it is possible to discern the tension that arose because of the strong religious and cultural ties early Christianity maintained with Palestinian Judaism, from which it emerged as a sectarian or reform movement. The careful reader also finds evidence of the new religion's encounter with the Greco-Roman world from whose variegated ethos and culture it borrowed considerably on the way to becoming an important religious force in the first century. In exploring the New Testament, then, we attempt to recover something of the sense of what it meant to be a Christian in New Testament times.
Religious Diversity in Israel (4-quarter hours)
Through religious, sociological and historical sources, as well as documentaries, movies and scholarly readings, this course examines religious diversity in Israel since its establishment (1948) to current events in its 64th year (2012).
Judaism (4-quarter hours)
Learn about basic concepts, documents, movements and practices of classical Judaism, from antiquity to the present.
Early Judaism (4-quarter hours)
This course traces the origins of Judaism from the Babylonian Exile to the formation of Rabbinic Judaism and the early Christian movement (539 BCE to 200 CE). Special emphasis is placed on Jewish culture and literature from the time of Jesus, including lost texts of the Bible, new evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the few surviving historical sources of the Jewish Second Temple Period. Students will also analyze how the Bible came to be and how sacred texts and their interpretations eventually became the new center of both Judaism and Christianity.
Myth and the Bible (4-quarter hours)
Study mythic themes in the Bible and their relationship to contemporary mythologies, and explore the role of myth in religion.
Women and the Bible (4-quarter hours)
Investigate the place of women in biblical narratives, the legal position of women in Israelite society and use of feminine imagery in the Bible.
Prophecy in Early Judaism (4-quarter hours)
Explore the development of prophecy in ancient Israel, beginning with early forms of mantic divination and continuing to classical prophecy within Israel, and its role in Israelite thought.
Dead Sea Scrolls (4-quarter hours)
This course covers the Dead Sea Scrolls in their historical, literary and religious context in English translation, together with relevant scholarly research.
Bodies and Souls (4-quarter hours)
This course examines the unique place of the body in biblical religion. We ask how the Bible and its interpreters have shaped current views on sex and the gendered body in Western society. How has the Bible been (mis)used in relation to current understandings of the physical body? Is the saying that a "human" does not have a body, but is a body as true for the Hebrew Bible as the Christian New Testament? How has Judaism and Christianity (de)valued sexuality, procreation and celibacy? How do biblical traditions shape our modern opinions about the ideal physical body and body modifications? How can we understand "out-of-body" experiences, and notions of death and afterlife in Western religion? Students are encouraged to interpret the Bible and their own beliefs from a uniquely embodied perspective.
Religion and Diaspora (4-quarter hours)
When forced to leave a homeland, displaced communities frequently turn to religion to maintain identity and adapt to—or resist—new surrounding culture(s). This course examines the role of religion and identity in three Jewish and Christian communities living in diaspora, and poses questions such as: What is the relationship between religion and (home)land? How have the biblical themes of exodus, diaspora, promise and restoration been applied to contemporary experiences? And how have our American stories been interpreted through the lens of the Bible? As part of the service-learning component, students have the opportunity to work with religious and immigrant aid organizations in the Denver community.
Justice: A Biblical Perspective (4-quarter hours)
This is a service-learning course designed for religious studies undergraduate majors—although non-majors are welcome to enroll.