01:30 PM to 02:45 PM MW
Planetary Hall 120
Section Information for Spring 2024
This course will trace almost 1000 years of Jewish history (mid-sixth century BCE - fifth century CE) in order to examine the development of early Judaism and the formation of diverse Jewish communities. In locales as disparate as Egypt, Babylonia and Rome, Jews turned Judaism into a global religion, distinct from the biblical tradition that rooted its worship in the central Jerusalem Temple. Prayer and study, as mobile forms of religious practice, replaced sacrifice and enabled the Diaspora to become a vital alternative to life in Judea. Our course of study will include the many religious developments of the period such as the appearance of different sects – Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, the Dead Sea sect, and Christians – and numerous literary inventions, including the formation of the biblical canon, the advent of apocalyptic literature, and the redaction of the Talmud. Attention will also be paid to Jewish life within different imperial contexts—such as that of the Persians, Greeks and Romans—that resulted in both the absorption of foreign ideas like Greek philosophy and the rejection of foreign power through numerous revolts. This course will, therefore, give students both an introduction to Judaism as well as a broad survey of Ancient Mediterranean history.