Professor Marc Saperstein
This course is being offered in conjunction with Prometheus. Every student registered for the course will receive a password to access the course on the web (www.prometheus.gwu.edu). More detailed information about individual sessions, links for additional resources, and a chat room for discussing issues pertaining to the course, will be available. Most important: assigned readings in addition to the four required books will be accessible through Prometheus in the Gelman electronic reserve, enabling you to access them from your own computer.
Examines the position of the Jews in relation to church and state; traditional Jewish society and selfgovernment of the Jewish community; movements of Jewish spirituality in their cultural contexts (philosophy, mysticism, German and Polish Hasidism); changing population centers; the background of emancipation and enlightenment.
Jacob R. Marcus The Jew in the Medieval World (revised edition, with an introduction and updated bibliographies by Marc Saperstein. Page assignments below are to this edition, not to the old one. Students should bring this to class regularly, as we will be referring to it virtually every meeting.)
Kenneth Stow, Alienated Minority: The Jews of Medieval Latin Europe (bookstore)
Jacob Katz, Tradition and Crisis: Jewish Society at the End of the Middle Ages (bookstore)
Jonathan Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 15501750 (bookstore)
Readings on Electronic Reserve, available as link on Prometheus; indicated by * below.
Tues, Sept 2Introduction: Jewish History from Without and Within
Thurs, Sept 4The Jews in Antiquity
Marcus, pp. xxvxxiii (Preface), xiiixxiv (Introduction).
Marcus, pp. 313, 120-23
*Gavin Langmuir, "Majority History and Postbiblical Jews"
Tues, Sept 9 and Thurs, Sept 11Jews in Christian Europe Before 1096
Marcus, pp. 22-26, 124-27, 404-6, 270-73
*Charters in Chazan, pp. 5863 (bring to class on Thursday)
Stow, 873, 77101
Tuesday: Agobard of Lyons, "On the Insolence of the Jews" (Prometheus link)
Tues, Sept 16The Crusades, Martyrdom
Marcus, pp. 128-36, 147-52, 340-41
Stow, pp. 10220
Antiochus Strategos, "The Sack of Jerusalem"
"Contemporary Christian historians on the attacks against Rhineland Jews" (both links on Prometheus)
Thurs, Sept 18Shifts in JewishChristian Relations (12th Century)
Marcus, pp. 2730, 13546
Stow, pp. 23147
Tues, Sept 23Shifts in JewishChristian Relations (13th Century)
Marcus, pp. 15373
Stow, pp. 247- 80.
Innocent III's "Constitution" on behalf of the Jews, and "Letter to Philip Augustus of France," (links on Prometheus)
Thurs, Sept 25Inner Life: Jewish Law, Talmud Study, Community
Stow, pp. 135209
Katz, pp. 11324
Marcus, pp. 341-42, 447-51
Responsum of R. Joseph Colon (distributed)
A court case and rabbinic responsum regarding a daughters inheritance, Barcelona, 1293 (link on Prometheus)
A short written exercise (34 pages), analyzing the passage entitled "Responsum of R. Joseph Colon," which will be distributed by September 18, is due on Thursday, September 25. It will not be accepted late, as the text will be discussed in that class.
Tues, Sept 30Inner Life: Rationalism and its Opponents
Marcus, pp. 214-18
Stow, pp. 7377
*Yitzhak Baer, Conflicts over Philosophy, from A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, 1: 96110, 289305
Thurs, Oct 2 German Hasidism (Hasidut Ashkenaz)
Marcus, pp. 432- 33
Stow, pp. 12134
"The Doctrine of Repentance of German Pietism" (distributed)
Tues, Oct 7¾ Classical Jewish Mysticism (Kabbalah)
Zohar: "The Bodies of the Torah and the Soul of the Torah" (distributed)
Stow, pp. 73-77
Katz, pp. 19094
Israel, pp. 65-66
*Baer, "Social Background ... of the Zohar," from A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, 1: 26177
Thurs, Oct 9Mid-Term Exam (in class)
Tues, Oct 14Fourteenth Century Disasters (Black Death, 1391 Pogroms)
Marcus, pp. 49- 55
Stow, pp. 28197
*Solomon Alami, "Why Catastrophes Come" ("Iggeret Musar")
Thurs, Oct 16Conversos and the Spanish Inquisition
Marcus, pp. 195-201
"The Establishment of the National Inquisition in Spain" (distributed)
*"Inquisitorial Trials of Ines Lopez" (Gelman Electronic Reserve)
Catholic Encyclopedia article in "Inquisition" (Prometheus)
"The 1432 Synod of Valladolid and the Reconstruction of Castilian Jewry" (Prometheus)
Tues, Oct 21The Expulsion from Spain and its Aftermath
"The Edict of Expulsion" (link on Prometheus: print and bring to class)
Marcus, pp. 59- 64
Stow, pp. 297302
A short written exercise (34 pages), analyzing the passage entitled "The Edict of Expulsion" (link for October 21) is due at the meeting on October 21. It will not be accepted late, as the text will be discussed in that class.
Thurs, Oct 23¾ Refuge, Forced Conversion, and Massacre in Portugal
Marcus, 65- 69
*Yerushalmi, The Lisbon Massacre of 1506 and the Royal Image in Shevet Yehudah, pp. 48- 62
Tues, Oct 28 and Thurs, Oct 30¾ Renaissance and Italian Jewry
Marcus, pp. 191- 94, 283- 88, 438- 46, 458- 67, 477- 81, 489- 91, 497- 501
Stow, pp. 302308
Israel, pp. 13-18, 60- 64, 143- 49, 160- 62
*Cecil Roth, "The Jews in Renaissance Society"
Tues, Nov 4Reformation; Jewish Communities of Germany and Central Europe
Marcus, pp. 18590, 22426
Luther, selections from "On the Jews and Their Lies" (link on Prometheus)
Israel, pp. 413, 7289, 15760
Statement of paper topics due on Tuesday, November 4
Thurs, Nov. 6Jewish Communities of Poland, Catastrophe in 1648
Marcus, pp. 23339, 51322
Katz, pp. 65112, 18384
Israel, pp. 22-28, 151-57
Tues, Nov 11, Thurs, Nov 13"Traditional Jewish Society" in Central and Eastern Europe
Marcus, pp. 221, 372- 80, 491- 96, 505- 12, 523- 32
Berakhiah Berakh, from Introduction to "Sefer Zera Berakh" Distributed: a response to the Catastrophe of 1648. Compare with Nathan Hanover in Marcus, pp. 234- 36.
Israel, pp. 119- 50
Katz, pp. 362, 12469 (bring to class)
Tues, Nov 1817th-Century Challenges to Traditional Society: "Marrano Skepticism"
*Uriel da Costa, "My Double Life and Excommunication" (electronic reserve)
Marcus, pp. 38190,
Israel, 177- 84
Thurs, Nov 20- 17th-Century Challenges to Traditional Society: Sabbateian Movement
Marcus, pp. 295-303
Katz, pp. 17079, 18490
Israel, pp. 169- 77
Tues, Nov 25¾ Polish Hasidism
Marcus, pp. 30919
Katz, pp. 195213
Israel, pp. 21015
Thurs, Nov 27¾ Happy Thanksgiving!
Tues, Dec. 2 and Thurs, Dec 4¾ Enlightenment and the Beginnings of Emancipation
Marcus, pp. 7679, 97110, 39195
Katz, pp. 21453
Israel, pp. 101-18, 194-210
Papers (see below) are due on Thursday, December 4
In addition to thorough reading, regular attendance, and thoughtful participation in class discussions, requirements for the course are as follows:
1. A brief written exercise (34 pages) analyzing the passage "Responsum of R. Joseph Colon," due in class on Thursday, September 25 (10% of final grade)
2. A brief written exercise (34 pages) analyzing the passage "The Order of Expulsion," due in class on Tuesday, October 21 (10 % of final grade).
3. A midterm exam, taken in class on Thursday October 9 (15%)
4. A short paper (1012 pages) analyzing one primary text or an issue of dispute among historians, the topic to be chosen by the student from a list to be distributed or in consultation with the instructor. A statement of the paper topic should be submitted to the instructor by Tuesday, November 4, and is due at the final meeting of the course, Thursday, December 4. (30%)
5. A final exam, which must be taken by all students (30%). This exam will be cumulative (especially in the essay questions), but will emphasize material in the second half of the course.
6. Participation in class discussions, 5% of the final grade, will be used to determine a grade in borderline cases
Instructors Office Hours are Wednesdays from 23:30 and Thursdays from 3:305 in 2142 G Street, second floor (Judaic Studies Building). Students are welcome and encouraged to come and discuss any issues arising from the material of the course.
In order to receive accommodations on the basis of disability, students with special needs must give notice and provide proper documentation to the Office of Disability Support Services, Marvin Center 436, 9948250.