Introduction to Judaism
This class is intended as a basic introduction to Judaism—its history, beliefs, traditions, and ritual practices—as a living religion from its roots in the biblical, intertestamental, rabbinic, and medieval periods until their appearance in the modern world. The course is open to students of all backgrounds and all levels of familiarity (or unfamiliarity) with Judaism. Diverse data from various epochs in Jewish religious history will be drawn together in such a way that the student will be able to assess Jewish beliefs, institutions, and practices throughout the centuries. The aim here will not only be to indicate the seminal role that the Bible and rabbinic writings play in Judaism, but also to explore how these texts have been interpreted and applied over the centuries. Furthermore, continuity and discontinuity will be highlighted so that the student will gain an appreciation of how the Jewish religious tradition has evolved and grown in history.