2021-22 Catalog

Jewish Studies

Program Director: Hartley Lachter, Ph.D. (New York University)

Email:   lachter@lehigh.edu |  Phone: 610-758-2130

Website:  http://cjs.cas.lehigh.edu/

Supported by the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs, 610-758-3996; incasip@lehigh.edu
Williams Hall, 31 Williams Drive

The Jewish studies minor, coordinated by the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies, provides students with the opportunity to explore the history, literature, religion, and social institutions of the Jewish people from its inception to the present. The diverse selection of courses highlights the interaction of Judaism with other cultures and societies in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. Students will discover that courses in Jewish studies enhance their understanding of individual and group identity and the dynamics of religious-cultural pluralism. The program is designed to appeal to students with varied interests in any field of concentration. The flexible requirements of the minor in Jewish Studies make it an ideal compliment to any major or minor in Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, or Education. Students should coordinate their minor program in Jewish studies with the director.

The Berman Center for Jewish Studies supplements formal course offerings through an extensive program of lectures, colloquia, films, field trips, and other cultural events. The Center also provides funding to students to help them pursue study abroad experiences or other enhancements to their academic work in the field of Jewish Studies.


Students pursuing a minor in Jewish studies must fulfill 16 credit hours.

Four (4) courses from the approved course list or in consultation with the program director. 116
Total Credits16


HEBR 001Elementary Modern Hebrew I4
HEBR 002Elementary Modern Hebrew II4
HEBR 011Intermediate Modern Hebrew I4
HEBR 012Intermediate Modern Hebrew II4
HEBR 151Hebrew Special Topics1-4
HEBR 152Hebrew Special Topics II4
JST/REL 073The Jewish Tradition4
JST/REL 081Jewish Mysticism4
JST/IR 082Middle East in World Affairs Since 19454
JST/IR 086The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict4
JST/REL/ENGL/AAS 102Promised Lands: Jewish and African American Children's Literature4
JST/REL 111Jewish Scriptures/Old Testament4
JST/REL 112The Beginnings of Judaism and Jewish Origins: Jewish Diversity in the Greco-Roman World4
JST/CLSS/REL 114Christian Origins: New Testament and the Beginnings of Christianity4
JST/REL 121Sources for the Life of Jesus: the Jewish and Christian Context4
JST/REL 122Archaeology and the Bible4
JST/REL 123Armaggedon: Endtime Thinking in Judaism and Christianity4
JST/PHIL/REL 129Jewish Philosophy4
JST/REL/WGSS 138Sex, Gender, Jews4
JST/REL 152American Judaism4
JST/REL/HIST 154The Holocaust: History and Meaning4
JST/REL 156Judaism and Comic Books4
JST/REL/GS 161Globalization in the Ancient Mediterranean4
JST/REL 174Modern Theology4
JST/REL/THTR 177Jews and the Broadway Musical4
JST 180Independent Study in Jewish Studies1-4
JST 181Special Topics in Jewish Studies4
JST/REL 230Kabbalah: Jewish Mystical Tradition4
JST/REL 231Classic Jewish Texts4
PHIL 133Medieval Philosophy4


JST 073 (REL 073) The Jewish Tradition 4 Credits

Judaism is both a textual tradition and a lived religion. Students read basic Jewish texts—Bible, Talmud, Midrash—and study the ways Jews sanctify the life cycle through rites of passage, and the round of the year through the festival cycle.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 081 (REL 081) Jewish Mysticism 4 Credits

This course will examine both the history and the central texts and ideas of the Jewish mystical tradition. We will read a broad range of texts, including the ancient Sefer Yetzirah or Book of Creation, the Zohar, the works of Isaac Luria and his disciples, and the writings of some of the 18th and 19th century Hasidic rabbis. We will also explore the contemporary emergence of Kabbalah and the activities of the Kabbalah Center in contemporary America.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 082 (IR 082) Middle East in World Affairs Since 1945 4 Credits

Rise of Turkish, Iranian, and Arab nationalism; creation of Israel; decline of British and French power; growth of U.S. and Soviet influence; Middle East as the world's major oil producer.
Attribute/Distribution: SS

JST 086 (IR 086) The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 4 Credits

Origins of the Zionist movement and of Palestinian national identity. Evolution of the conflict before, during, and after the Israeli War of Independence/Palestinian Nakhba (Catastrophe). 1967 and subsequent occupations. Camp David, Oslo, and subsequent peace negotiations. The 2006 Fatah/Hamas split and state of Palestinian and Israeli politics and policy. Role of the Arab states and of global powers such as the United States.
Attribute/Distribution: SS

JST 102 (AAS 102, ENGL 102, REL 102) Promised Lands: Jewish and African American Children's Literature 4 Credits

In the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 137 asks, “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” For Jews, blacks, and black Jews, this was and is a poignant question. This course examines how these two rich, often overlapping and interacting groups tell their stories in literature for children and young adults, with a particular focus on the mediation of traumatic pasts. What does it mean to imagine promised lands beyond such pasts—and can they be reached?
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 111 (REL 111) Jewish Scriptures/Old Testament 4 Credits

The religious expression of the Hebrews, Israelites, and Jews as found in the Jewish Scriptures (TANAK/Christian Old Testament). Near Eastern context of Hebrew religion, the Patriarchs, the Exodus, the monarchy, prophecy, Exile and Return. Emphasis on historical, literary, critical problems, and newer socio-historical methods.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 112 (REL 112) The Beginnings of Judaism and Jewish Origins: Jewish Diversity in the Greco-Roman World 4 Credits

The variety of approaches to Judaism in the period following the Babylonian exile through the second century C.E. The literature studied will include Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 114 (CLSS 114, REL 114) Christian Origins: New Testament and the Beginnings of Christianity 4 Credits

Early Christianity from its beginnings until the end of the second century. Coverage includes the Jewish and Hellenistic matrices of Christianity, traditions about the life of Jesus and his significance, and the variety of belief and practice of early Christians. Emphasis on encountering primary texts.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 121 (REL 121) Sources for the Life of Jesus: the Jewish and Christian Context 4 Credits

Ancient sources that claim to provide information about Jesus of Nazareth. Approaches taken to Jesus’ life and career; early Christian interpretations of the significance of Jesus; methodology in assessing evidence for the historical Jesus and his message.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 122 (REL 122) Archaeology and the Bible 4 Credits

In this course we will examine the way that archaeological work can inform the study of the Bible. One important consideration is how archaeological data have been used either to confirm or falsify the biblical texts. We will look at how archaeologists work and how archaeological data and the Bible intersect. We will examine in detail several archaeological sites in order to understand better the difficulties in interpreting the material remains that archaeologists dig up.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 123 (REL 123) Armaggedon: Endtime Thinking in Judaism and Christianity 4 Credits

Thinking about how the world will end was an important feature of certain types of ancient Judaism. Early Christianity took over many of these ideas, and they became fundamental to later Christian theologies, including many that continue to be advocated today. This course will look at ancient Jewish and Christian texts that speak about the end of the world and will trace some of them through more contemporary developments in these two religious traditions.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 129 (PHIL 129, REL 129) Jewish Philosophy 4 Credits

Consideration of how major Jewish thinkers from the first to 21st centuries confronted questions at the intersection of religion and philosophy: the existence and nature of God, free will, evil, divine providence, miracles, creation, revelation, and religious obligation.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 138 (REL 138, WGSS 138) Sex, Gender, Jews 4 Credits

How do Jews of all genders tell their stories? What are the varied Jewish approaches to sexuality? How have feminist movements affected Jewish rituals? In this course, we will consider how religion, gender, sexuality, race, and class intersect in the lives of Jews, with a particular focus on North America. Topics will include: Jewish women’s memoirs; the voices of LGBTQ Jews; recent innovations in Jewish ritual and leadership; Jewish masculinities; and the gendering of Jewish children’s literature, among others.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 151 (HMS 151, PHIL 151, REL 151) Judaism, Medicine, and Bioethics 4 Credits

This class traces the relationship between Jews and medicine from 1100 to 2020. How does Jewish religion and culture cultivate an affinity for the healing arts? How does Jewish law, ethics, and culture inform contemporary bioethics?
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 152 (REL 152) American Judaism 4 Credits

Diverse cultural and social forms through which American Jews express their distinct identity. Is American Jewry an example of assimilation and decline or creative transformation? What, if anything, do American Jews share in common? Compatibility of Judaism with individualism, pluralism, and voluntarism. How have the Holocaust and the State of Israel shaped the self-understanding of American Jewry?
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 154 (HIST 154, REL 154) The Holocaust: History and Meaning 4 Credits

The Nazi Holocaust in its historical, political and religious setting. Emphasis upon the moral, cultural and theological issues raised by the Holocaust.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 156 (REL 156) Judaism and Comic Books 4 Credits

Is The Thing Jewish? What does Superman have to do with the bible? Do Orthodox Jewish girls fight trolls? In this course, we will closely examine comic books and graphic novels in order to expand our understanding of what Jewishness might mean. With a POW! and a BAM!, we will consider many topics “from Krakow to Krypton,” including American Jewish history, how representations of Jews are gendered, global Jewish traditions, monsters and mutations, biblical adaptations, and more!
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 161 (GS 161, REL 161) Globalization in the Ancient Mediterranean 4 Credits

We often think of globalization as a modern phenomenon. Yet as early as the twelfth century BCE, transportation, trade, political and religious networks tied the Mediterranean basin together. This course will examine in three periods-the Late Bronze Age, the Hellenistic period, and the Roman period-how these networks were organized and how they affected a range of Mediterranean and Near Eastern peoples. We will use some modern approaches to globalization as analytical tools for understanding the ancient world.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 174 (REL 174) Modern Theology 4 Credits

Major 20th century movements within Christian and Jewish theology understood as responses to the problems of modern times. May be repeated for credit as the subject matter varies.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.

JST 177 (REL 177, THTR 177) Jews and the Broadway Musical 4 Credits

The history of American musical theater is deeply interwoven with the history of American Jews. This course examines how Jews have taken part in musical theater on multiple levels-as composers, lyricists, producers, and performers, among other roles. It also examines how Jews are depicted in Broadway musicals, with particular attention to gender and ethnicity.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 180 Independent Study in Jewish Studies 1-4 Credits

Directed readings or research on a Jewish Studies related topic under the direction of a Jewish Studies faculty member. May be repeated for credit up to eight credits. Must have consent of the program director.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.
Attribute/Distribution: HU, SS

JST 181 Special Topics in Jewish Studies 4 Credits

Study of a subject or issue in Jewish Studies not covered in other courses. May be repeated for credit as subtitle varies.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.

JST 230 (REL 230) Kabbalah: Jewish Mystical Tradition 4 Credits

Explores the history of the quest to know God, through mystical experience or theosophical speculation, as found in Jewish tradition. Examines such issues as the tensions between institutional religion and personal religious experience, between views of God as immanent in the world or transcending it, and between imagery for God and religious experience of God.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

JST 231 (REL 231) Classic Jewish Texts 4 Credits

Many people know that the Hebrew Bible (“Old Testament”) is a foundational scripture for Judaism. Fewer are familiar with the post-biblical Jewish classics. Yet these works shaped the understanding of God, the identity of the Jewish people, and the vision of history and of the ethical life that inform Judaism today. As students read the Talmud, Midrash, and traditional prayer-book, they will become familiar with the wisdom of the rabbinic sages, and the central concepts of Judaism.
Attribute/Distribution: HU

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