Modern Jewish Thought

Spring 2021
THEO2260/GERM 2160: MW, 3-4:15 PM

Syllabus

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Class Notes

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πŸ“– Simon Noveck, ed., Contemporary Jewish Thought: A Reader, 2007. First Ben Yehuda Press Edition. ISBN 9780978998066
πŸ“– Martin Buber, I and Thou, ISBN 9780684717258
πŸ“– Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, ISBN 9780486258492
πŸ“– Other readings at Canvas to be printed and brought to class

Modern Jewish Thought

πŸ“– Primary Literature (read as homework)
πŸ“Œ Secondary material to be covered in class (Students will be responsible for citing the material on exams. If citing in essays, students should cite more precisely with author and page number.)
✎ 1-2 page critical response (write)
πŸ“₯ 3-4 page essay (write)
πŸ‘“ speaker
DateAssignments are due on the date to the left.
Week 1INTRODUCTION, SPINOZA
Mon, February 1πŸ“Œ Spinoza's excommunication (herem)
Wed, February 3πŸ“– Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (excerpts, Preface, Ch. 3, Ch. 17 + skim selection of your choosing p. 19-30, 71-88, 287-315 (56 pages))
πŸ“Œ Willi Goetschel, Spinoza’s Modernity: Mendelssohn, Lessing, and Heine (2004, excerpt)
Week 2Shabbtai Zvi & False Messiahs of the 17th century
Mon, February 8πŸ“– Gershom Scholem, Redemption through Sin (1936 [1971]), 78-141, (63 pages)
Wed, February 10πŸ“– The Memoirs of GlΓΌckel of Hameln, transl. Marvin Lowenthal (Ch. 3, 40-65)
✎ 1-2 page critical response (write)
Woche 3Mendelssohn & 18th-19th century Emancipation
Mon, February 15πŸ“– David Sorkin, Moses Mendelssohn and the Religious Enlightenment (1996) Intro, Ch. 8-9 (41 pages)
πŸ“– Primary documents: Frederick II, Charter Decreed for the Jews of Prussia (1750) + Mendelssohn on Michaelis (7 pages)
πŸ‘“ Tomer Mangoubi, Karaite Judaism

Wed, February 17πŸ“– Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem (1783), Ch. 2, 50-103 (53 pages)
Week 4Reform Judaism, 19th century
Mon, February 22πŸ“– Susannah Heschel, Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (1998) Ch. 1, 23-49 (27 pages)
πŸ“– Reform Judaism primary documents (The Jew in the Modern World, 1980) 145-168 (24 pages)



Wed, February 24Orientalism
πŸ“– John M. Efron, German Jewry and the Allure of the Sephardic (2015) Ch. 3, 112-160 (49 pages)
πŸ“Œ Pittsburgh Reform Platform, 1885
πŸ“Œ Ivan Davidson Kalmar and Derek J. Penslar, Orientalism and the Jews, (2005, Intro.)
✎ 1-2 page critical response (write)
Week 5Zionism, 20th century
Mon, March 1πŸ“– Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State (1896), Preface - Ch. 3, 67-122 (54 pages)
Wed, March 3🚫 Mid-Semester Breakβ€”no class
Thurs, March 4Mid-Semester Make-Up
πŸ“– Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State (1896), Ch.4 - Conclusion, 123-157 (35 pages)
πŸ“Œ Michael LΓΆwy, Redemption and Utopia: Jewish Libertarian Thought in Central Europe (1992, excerpts)
Week 6
Mon, March 8πŸ“– Abraham Isaac Kuk, including "The Land of Israel," "The Rebirth of Israel," "The Experience of Mysticism" (Noveck, 95-128) 34 pages
πŸ“– Todd Presner, β€œClear Heads, Solid Stomachs, and Hard
Muscles” (2003, 28 pages)
Wed, March 10Messianism in Secular Thought
πŸ“– Walter Benjamin, β€œTask of the Translator,” β€œTheses on the Philosophy of History” (Illuminations, 1968) 69-82, ,255-266 (26 pages)
πŸ“– Walter Benjamin, β€œTheologico-Political Fragment,” 312-313 (2 pages)
Week 7
Mon, March 15πŸ“– Martin Buber, including The Word β€œGod,” God and the World’s Evil, Jewish Renaissance (Noveck, 243-275) 33 pages
πŸ“₯ Essay on Messianism.
Wed, March 17πŸ“– Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923) First Part, 51-85, 33 pages
Week 8Buber
Mon, March 22πŸ“– Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923), Second - Third Part 87-144, 58 pages
Wed, March 24πŸ“– Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923), Third Part 144-168, 25 pages
✎ 1-2 page critical response
Week 9
Mon, March 29🚫 Passoverβ€”no class
πŸ“– Passover Haggadah. Focus on the section of Magid ("The Telling")


Wed, March 31πŸ“– Franz Rosenzweig, including On Jewish Learning, Hebrew Language, The Builders: Concerning the Law (Noveck, 213-236) 24 pages
πŸ“– Margarete Susman, "God the creator". In: Nahum N. Glatzer (Ed.), The Dimensions of Job: A Study and Selected Readings. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2002 (originally published by Schocken Books, 1969). ISBN 9781592440061. p. 86-92 (7 pages)
Woche 10
Mon, April 5πŸ“– Franz Rosenzweig, Star of Redemption (1921, Part 3, Book 1), 317-369. Read for the theme of blood
Wed, April 7πŸ“– Susanne Hillman, β€œ'A Germ So Tiny': Margarete Susman's Messianism of Small Steps," Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 96, No. 1 (2013), pp. 40-84.
Week 11
Mon, April 12πŸ“₯ Essay on Jewish Statism, peoplehood.
πŸ“– Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem (Penguin, Ch. 2 and Epilogue), 21-35, 270-279 (25 pages)
πŸ“– Hannah Arendt & Gershom Scholem, "Eichmann in Jerusalem - An Exchange of Letters." Encounter 22:1 (January 1964), 51-56 (6 pages)
Wed, April 14πŸ“– Solomon Breibart, Exploration in Charleston's Jewish History, "A Neglected Figure in American Jewish Reform: The Reverend Mr. Gustavus Poznanski" (55-60) 6 pages
πŸ“– Kaufmann Kohler, including "Evolution and Religion," "The Nature and Purpose of Prayer," "Mission of Israel" (Noveck, 293-326) 34 pages
Week 12Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism
Mon, April 19πŸ“– Mordechai Kaplan, including "An Approach to Jewish Religion," "A Conception of God," "The Social Structure of American Jewish Life" (Noveck, 329-361) 33 pages
Wed, April 21πŸ“– Rachel Adler, Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics. Philadelphia and Jerusalem: 1998 (excerpts)
Week 13Feminist Jewish Theology
Mon, April 26πŸ“– Passover haggadot (Course Reserves, Handout)
✎ Prepare for Essay 3 by completing handout (Canvas)
Wed, April 28
Week 14Hasidism, 18th century to Todaz
Mon, May 3πŸ“– The Religious Thought of Hasidism: Text and Commentary, Edited by Norman Lamm, Michael Scharf Publication Trust of Yeshiva University
πŸ“– Sue Fishkoff, The Rebbe's Army: Inside the World of Chabad-Lubavitch (Ch. 4 & 14, 66-87, 261-284, 46 pages)
Wed, May 5

πŸ“Œ Michael Brenner, Renaissance of Jewish Culture in Weimar Germany (1996, excerpts)
πŸ“Œ Hannah Arendt, β€œIntroduction,” in Illuminations (1955)
πŸ“Œ Walter Benjamin/Gershom Scholem, The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem, 1932–1940
Psychoanalysis of Jewish Theology
πŸ“Œ Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism (1939, excerpt)
πŸ“Œ Yosef Yerushalmi, Freud's Moses (1993, Introduction)
πŸ“Œ Siegfried Kracauer, β€œThose Who Wait,” in The Mass Ornament
πŸ“Œ Naomi Seidman, Faithful Renderings (2006, excerpt)

Fri, May 14 πŸ“₯ Essay 3 on Passover haggadot. Essay and makeup work due by 12pm noon.