Varieties of Mystical Experience RELST-UA.240 (Same as HBRJD-UA.240), Russ-Fishbane
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10am-2pm. Class #1115. 4 pts. Location TBA
What exactly is this thing we call mysticism? As the general, secular public treats religion, so does the mainstream religious public treat mysticism, a special case, replete with mystery and the repository of great potential. Mysticism has served as the space for the bleeding edge of religion, where destabilizing forces have emerged but reactionary, regressive forces as well. Mystical religious communities have been both the most tolerant and the most exclusive, the most libertine and the most abnegating. Is there such a thing as mysticism? Can it be elicited from the religious frameworks in which it resides, or is it merely a modern, academic convention? In this course, we aim to work out some answers to those questions.
Introduction to Judaism RELST-UA.679 (Same as HBRJD-UA.102), Jassen
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 10am-2pm. Class #1116. 4 pts. Location TBA
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.