Judaic Studies


The Program in Judaic Studies and Your Liberal Education

Courses in the Program in Judaic Studies provide students with an excellent opportunity to explore a wide range of social, cultural, political, religious, and psychological concerns reflected in the historical experiences of Jews and in the development of Jewish civilization throughout the ages. In your study of  Jews and Judaism, you will discover a fascinating number of ways that people have sought to answer the basic questions of human existence: What is the meaning of life? How do groups create just societies? What are the origins of intergroup conflicts?  What is the nature of religious experience? How does one determine the ethical principles by which one should live? How are we to understand gender and sexuality? How does art enrich life?   

Christianity and Islam have deep roots in Judaism, and the Western world has been profoundly shaped by deep and abiding interactions with both Jewish religious tradition and the Jewish communities in its midst.  Therefore, the Program in Judaic Studies includes the study of interactions of Jews and non-Jews in both the ancient and modern periods.

The history and culture of the State of Israel and its place in the Middle East is another focus in our courses.  Students are given the opportunity to study up to six semesters of modern Hebrew with the goal of fluency in the language.  This Hebrew sequence of courses also enables students to develop the skills necessary to make use of Hebrew as a means of understanding Jews and Judaism throughout history.

Our Courses

In our courses, you will develop your understanding of a wide variety of disciplines which our faculty members practice in their search for understanding Jews and Judaism: history, philosophy, religious studies, literary studies, and archeology and how those disciplines facilitate the growth of knowledge.

Analysis of Texts

The analysis of texts, from the Hebrew Bible to contemporary Israeli literature, from the Kabbalah to modern Jewish autobiography, from philosophical treatises to communal record books, is central to our courses. You will find in your engagement with these texts opportunities to develop your critical thinking skills and your ability to communicate both verbally and in written expression.