(J ST 410, RL ST 410)
Jews in the Medieval World (3) Trends in medieval Jewish society under Islam and Western Christendom.
HIST 410 Jews in the Medieval World (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
The Jews lived in widely scattered communities under Christian and Islamic rule in the medieval period. This course will examine how Jews adapted the traditions they developed in Palestine and Babylonia in the early centuries C.E. to the new conditions they encountered in Europe and the Mediterranean region from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries. It will focus on the general problem of how traditional societies survive in rapidly changing circumstances, particularly when their members are a minority population. The course will aim at developing students' skills in comparative analysis as they compare the adaptive strategies of Jews in different cultural spheres (the Franco-German region versus Spain, for example). They will also be asked to compare the different polemical stances Jews adopted vis-a-vis Christianity, on the one hand, and Islam, on the other. They will be encouraged to understand the ways in which Jews internalized certain aspects of the majority culture and rejected others. It is hoped that they will come to see how deeply Jewish history was intertwined with medieval Christian and Islamic history, despite inter-religious hostilities and the frequent need for Jews to defend against majority aggression.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of two mid-term exams (the first after the survey of the Muslim world, the second after the examination of the Franco-German region) and a comprehensive final exam.
The course will be linked to most of the courses taught in the field of Jewish Studies, especially J ST 111 (Early Judaism), J ST 114 (Modern Judaism), and J ST 118 (Modem Jewish History from 1492). It will also be linked to offerings in Religious Studies: RL ST 001 (Introduction to World Religions), RL ST 101 (Comparative Religion), RL ST 107 (Introduction to Islam), RL ST 124 (Early and Medieval Christianity), and RL ST 165 (Introduction to Islamic Civilization). Further, it would complement HIST 001 and 002 (The Western Heritage), HIST 107 (Medieval Europe), HIST 108 (The Crusades), HIST 407 (Early Medieval Society), HIST 408 (Church and State in the High Middle Ages), HIST 412 (Intellectual History of the Middle Ages), and HIST 471W (Classical Islamic Civilization, 600-1258).
The course will count for 3 credits toward: a) the 22 credits required for the minor in Jewish Studies, b) the 33 credits required for the major in Jewish Studies, c) the 30 credits required for the major in Religious Studies, and d) the 36 credits required for the History major. It will be offered once a year with an enrollment of approximately 60 students.