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Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Description

Introduction to Jewish History: From the Bible to Spanish Expulsion (3 cr)
Sarah Ifft Decker                                             
JSTU-J 251 (6359) / HIST-H 251 (13410)
TR 11:15-12:30 (AC C112)
GenEd S&H; GenEd WC; CASE S&H; CASE GCC; credit given for only one of J251 or HIST-H 251;
Required course for JS major and certificate students

How did Judaism arise in the ancient Near East, and how did Jews maintain a distinct religious and communal identity over centuries of encounters with other religions and cultures? Students will trace the development of Judaism and the Jewish people, exploring both the preservation of Jewish traditions and the transformations wrought by Jews’ integration into surrounding cultures. Key historical events include the origins of the ancient Israelites; the composition of the Hebrew Bible; Jewish engagement with Greco-Roman culture in antiquity; the rise of the rabbis; interactions between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the medieval world; and the Spanish Expulsion. We will also explore the formation of fundamental Jewish ideas and practices, including monotheism, covenant, Torah, Temple, liturgy, mysticism, and diaspora. Course readings incorporate a wide array of primary source texts in translation, alongside short selections of secondary literature from introductory-level books. Students will complete two midterms and a final, as well as a series of short written assignments.