JWST 330 (=HIST 302D and POL 493A)
Electrical Engineering Bldg 270
Dr. Alon Kantor
School of Languages & Cultures
Stanley Coulter 109
Office Hours: MWF 10:00-10:30 & by appointment
Office Hours: MW 11:30-1:00 & by appointment
Philosophy and Literature
Stanely Coulter G80
Office Hours: TTR 1:30-2:30 & by appointment
Live well. It is the greatest revenge.
This is a total syllabus. Everything that you need to know (and dare ask) about this course is to be found in this document. It is your absolute responsibility to know and be aware of everything written in this syllabus.
The purpose of this course is to critically introduce students to the “Jewish Experience,” from its inception, in the Ancient Near East, to our present time. Using several disciplines―religion, philosophy, history, literature, film, anthropology, sociology―we will explore the ways and manners by which Judaism manifests itself, as well as how we come to study Judaism academically. Thus, on the one hand, we will examine the internal (ontology) intricacies and complex textures of the core ideas which have created Judaism from within, that is, how a group of people created Judaism, in both reflexive and unreflexive fashion,in reference to their material and historical conditions. In other words, what is Judaism and what does it mean to be Jewish from the Jewish perspective which has always already been in reference to its locality. On the other hand, we will examine how Judaism has been studied externally, from without, (epistemology) by others, as well as by modern academic disciplines. For this external approach has also shaped and determined the ontological constitution of Judaism. What and how others think of us is eo ipso part and parcel of who we are.
We must understand that these internal-external approaches are intimately intertwined. It is first and foremost practice that creates and sustains an idea/phenomenon, namely, it is a mutual venture between those who lead their lives by Judaism, Jews who bear it on their backs as it were, and those who react to and study how these people indeed bear it through their historical consciousness, faith, philosophy, and daily customs.
In addition, this course is intended as a gateway to Jewish Studies major or minor at Purdue University, or for that matter, anywhere else. As a general rule, its scope and methodological approaches will make it both worthwhile and necessary for any undergraduate student who wishes to do more in-depth work in Jewish Studies.
The term “Judaism” is an abstract umbrella-like concept that covers underneath it many topics and subjects articulated by a myriad of sub-concepts: religion, philosophy, history, memory, imagination, peoplehood, culture, etc. In a manner of speaking, when we come to study Judaism, we come to study Western civilization. Thus how to study Judaism is a problem of its own. Therefore, in order to address this conundrum, we will impose an intellectual grid whose purpose is to construct our subject which will guide us through this difficulty. Note that we must remember that it is indeed an intellectual construct. By no means one should take it to be more than what it is: our framework for study.
Theology: Bible (Tanakh)
Weekly Contribution to Class Blog: Preparing for class sessions includes a weekly writing assignment in which you will share your insights regarding (1) that week’s readings (2) key questions which were discussed in the previous week (3) unique contribution inspired by your own life experience, other classes or other
sources not available to other participants (4) reactions to other contributors (respectfully, please!) creating an ongoing discussion. Blog entries must be posted every Tuesday by 10:00 AM and handed in as a hard copy at the beginning of Tuesday class. 25%
All written, handed in assignments, must be typed written in a font of 12 pts. and double spaced.
It is absolutely required that you attend all classes. Failure of attending class will result in your failure to understand the material, which will doom your successful completion of this class. Therefore, regular attendance is MANDATORY.
Attendance is monitored at the beginning of each class; lateness (more than 10 minutes) and early departure both count as absence. A maximum of three unquestioned absences is allowed. Subsequent absences may be excused on the basis of legitimate, written documentation; undocumented absences result in reduction of the course grade. Assuming attendance to be 5% of a course grade worth 100 points, undocumented absences have the following point values: 0-3 absences = 5 points; 4-9 absences = 2.5 points; 10+ absences = 0 points.
Midterm: Two hour evening exam: T/F, multiple choice and essay questions. 25%
Research Paper: 8 pages; no more, no less. The paper will represent a detailed investigation into a topic of your choice that grows out of your involvement with the material studied. 25% (Proposal 5%, Paper 20%)
By the first class of week six (6) you are to hand in a two pages (not including the bibliography) research proposal on a subject of your interest to be chosen strictly from the topics covered by our class. You will schedule to meet with one of the assistants for approval.
The proposal will outline the following points:
Due date: Second class of week 12.
Comprehensive Final: T/F, multiple choice and essay questions. 20%
Grades are recorded using the plus/minus option, as follows: A+ 97-100, A 94-96, A- 90-93, B+ 87-89, B 84-86, B- 80-83, C+ 77-79, C 74-76, C- 70-73, D+ 67-69, D 64-66, D- 60-63, F 0-59. For more on grades and on the relation between plus/minus grades and GPA, see the updated University Regulations.
No Incompletes or extensions are allowed for any reason. (You can always talk to me, but please don't hold your breath).
Make-ups are allowed ONLY (a) with a signed medical excuse, AND (b) within three calendar days of the original test; you must ALSO (c) contact me either prior to or on the day of the exam to notify me of your absence. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule. The penalty for missing the Final Exam is an "F" in the course.
Cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty―as defined in the Purdue University Regulations―are penalized with a grade of "F" in the course.
While papers and tests will not be returned to you, you can arrange to see them by making appointments.
If you have disability-related needs that may affect your performance in class, please speak to me privately ASAP.
College of Liberal Arts Classroom Civility Statement
Purdue University is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion and welcomes individuals of all ages, religions, sex, sexual orientations, races, nationalities, languages, military experience, disabilities, family statuses, gender identities and expressions, political views, and socioeconomic statuses. Please respect the different experiences, beliefs and values expressed by everyone in this course. Behaviors that threaten, harass, discriminate or that are disrespectful of others will not be tolerated. Inappropriate behaviors will be addressed with disciplinary action, which may include being referred to the Office of the Dean of Students.
Please visit Purdue’s Nondiscrimination policy for more information: http://www.purdue.edu/purdue/ea_eou_statement.html
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNNESS: In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control.
Preparedness website for additional information:
Phones in Class: Get
off the Matrix: Cell phones should never be
heard ringing in the classroom. Out of respect for your fellow
students and for the instructor, turn them off before coming to
Required Books (Available at University Book Store)
Note: If you choose to get books from other bookstores try to get the correct editions. If you do have a book in different edition it is your responsibility to find out the exact pagination. All pagination refer to the following editions.
Online course readings (to be found in the Class Schedule).
Michael Brenner, A Short History of the Jews, Princeton, 2010
Martin Buber, Two Types of Faith: A Study of the Interpenetration of Judaism and Christianity, Syracuse UP, 2004
Joseph Dan, Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2007
Norman Solomon, Judaism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, 2000
Yosef Haim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory, University of Washington Press, 1982
Required course materials must be downloaded from the course website, available via a link from the Blackboard homepage for this course.
ALL linked texts are REQUIRED READING for the course. This means that you will be held accountable for them on all exams. Please make sure that you download and read them in advance of the class for which they are listed.
You will also find maps, figures, key persons, major historical events and dates, study guides, and links to other material.
The course schedule webpage may be updated with additional material during the semester, so please check it periodically.
NOTE: In addition to the following readings for each class session you must also read Michael Brenner, A Short History of the Jews. Although the book will not be directly discussed in class I expect you to know its content. It is the backdrop on which we will pin, as it were, the rest of the readings and discussions.
Click HERE for the print version of the syllabus.