The following topics will be dealt with during the course:
- Jewish identity
- Basic elements of Jewish religion, important religious texts, traditions, religious movements
- The history of Jewish culture from a birds' eye view:
- under Greek and Roman rule
- under Christianity and Islam
- the Ashkenazic and Sephardic diaspora in the 16th and 17th century
- Enlightenment, French Revolution, Haskalah and Jewish Emancipation
- Shoah and postwar reconstruction, the foundation of the State Israel
Main theme in the history part is the interaction between the continuing drive to adapt and the wish to preserve Jewishness as a leitmotiv of Jewish history. This will be illustrated by life stories and texts of influential Jewish scholars, writers and intellectuals as well as by examining daily life in the Jewish communities in various periods and regions. The course will be supported by powerpoint presentations with texts and illustrations as well as sound and film fragments. The sheets will be published on Blackboard before each lecture.
Active participation of the students is expected during the lectures. Texts to be read before class will be published on Blackboard. During class we will discuss the texts and analyse key elements of Jewish culture.
An optional guided tour through the Jewish neighbourhood, including a visit to synagoge is part of the course.