Introduction to Judaism

University of Minnesota

Jewish Studies 1034, 3034, Religious Studies 1034, 3034: Introduction to Judaism

Syllabus, Winter, 1995

Professor Tzvee Zahavy

Teaching Assistants: Jennifer Gibson, Katherine Walls

Through lectures, reading and discussion, this course introduces the student to the literature and symbolism of Judaism, and traces their development from ancient times to the present day.


J. Neusner, The Way of Torah, 5th edition, Wadsworth

_____, American Judaism, Adventure in Modernity, KTAV Readings in Judaism and Jewish History, Volume One, edited by Tzvee Zahavy (photocopy, Wilson Reserve)

Supplementary for JWST/RELS 3034:

(S) _____, Invitation to the Talmud, Harper and Row

(S) _____, There We Sat Down, KTAV

(S) _____, Life of Torah, Wadsworth

The Tanakh=Hebrew Bible=Old Testament, any edition.

Supplementary: additional readings may be added.

CDROM: The Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed (profs. copy)

Course requirements and Grading: All students must complete reading assignments of each lecture. Additional materials may be added during the quarter. Students in 1034 and 3034 will write two take-home essay exams, one at mid-quarter and one at the completion of the quarter. Students in 3034 will be responsible for supplementary readings and will be assigned additional questions on the exams. All students must attend the scheduled lectures.

Grading: ABCDF or S/N. S=C or better; No incompletes, no excuses, no late papers.

Lecture topics and readings:

Introduction to the course,

Neusner, Way of Torah, ch. 1

Definitions, Way of Torah, chs. 2-4

Torah and Israel, Way of Torah, ch. 5

Prayers and meanings, Way of Torah, chs. 11-12, 17

Rituals and Significances, Way of Torah, ch. 13

Passover Seder, other meals, Way of Torah, chs. 14-15

Way of Life, Life of Law, Way of Torah, ch. 16

Cycle of Life, Way of Torah, ch. 19

Torah Centered religion, Way of Torah, chs. 20

Mishnah, Way of Torah, ch. 6

Talmud, Way of Torah, ch. 8

Midrash, Way of Torah, ch. 9

Judaism and Christianity, Way of Torah, ch. 10

Rabbi and Philosopher, Way of Torah, ch. 21

Mystics, Way of Torah, ch. 22

Common Folk, Way of Torah, ch. 23

Women in traditional Judaism, Way of Torah, chs. 7, 24

Modernity, Way of Torah, ch. 25

New Social contexts, Way of Torah, ch. 26

New Theologies, Way of Torah, ch. 27

Zionism, Way of Torah, ch. 28

New way of life, modes of piety, Way of Torah, ch. 29

New and Old Together, Way of Torah, chs. 30

American Judaism, American Judaism, pp. 15-34

American Rabbis, 35-60

The community, 61-86

Zionism and Israelism, 87-116

New theological problems, 117-142

Judaism in a secular world, 143-154

Women's rights, the new right, reversion, Way of Torah, chs. 31-32

Final summary, defining Judaism, ancient and modern.