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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Jewish Studies (J ST)

J ST 424H (HIST 424H, RL ST 424H) Monotheism and the Birth of the West (3) The birth of monotheism and its relation to social organization, the idea of individuality, and science.

J ST (HIST/RL ST) 424H (PHIL 434H) Monotheism and the Birth of the West (3)

Learn about the formation of Western culture, while learning to analyze the texts and other evidence about its formation from a critical, rather than naive, viewpoint. The idea of monotheism probably arose very early and was even briefly implemented as a state cultic policy in Egypt in the 14th century BCE. Why, then, did it take another seven centuries to become widespread--appearing in ancient Judah, Babylon, and Ionia almost simultaneously? To answer this question, the course focuses on several developments, through the medium of primary texts and archaeology: the shift from a state hinterland based in extensive agriculture and household processing to one organized for intensive agriculture and industrial processing the rise of recognizably modern science; the promotion of individuation and an international elite culture in the context of Assyrian and Babylonian imperial ambitions; the development of the historical and archaeological arts in the context of archaizing in order to reinvent local traditions; and the socialization of monotheism and of democracy. Students will be evaluated on their discussion of the textual evidence as well as on reports in class and a final paper. This is the sole honors course treating the birth of the West. It expands on knowledge acquired in courses listed as prerequisites and in CAMS/J ST/RL ST 012; CAMS 044; ANTH/CAMS 133; CAMS/PHIL 200; HIST 100; HIST/J ST 102; and PHIL 200 and enriches the student experience in CAMS 400, CAMS 440, and CAMS 480; HIST 402; J ST 411; PHIL 437, PHIL 453, and PHIL 461. This course counts toward the major in Jewish Studies, History, and Religious Studies and toward the minor in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies. This course will be offered once every other year with 35 seats per offering.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Fall 2012
Prerequisite: J ST 004, J ST 102, J ST 110 orJ ST 120

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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