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Introduction to Ancient Greek Philosophy
Dr. Arie Finkelberg

Western philosophy begins in Ancient Greece: the Greeks invented the term "philosophy," defined the main topics of philosophical discourse and created its conceptual apparatus. But the Greeks not only invented philosophy, - their philosophical achievements continually influenced Western thought and still serve as a source of inspiration. The course is a historical survey of the development of Greek philosophy from its origins in the 6th century BCE to its highest point in the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle.

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  • ' ' 12/02/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 26/03/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 25/06/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 30/07/2010 9:00

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Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy

This course is a survey of western European philosophy in the early modern period, with emphasis placed on Metaphysical and Epistemological issues. It covers the major figures and themes in the Seventeenth and eighteenth century's philosophy, including Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, John Locke, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, George Berkeley, David Hume and Immanuel Kant.
The course introduces students to some central themes in the early modern period, including the nature of knowledge, truth, method and reality; conceptions of the self and of personal identity, the nature of ideas, the mind-body problem, etc.
Students are required to read selected writings of these figures.

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  • ' ' 19/02/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 21/04/2010 18:00
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This is an elementary course designed to provide the student with the essentials of Arabic grammar needed for accurate reading and comprehension of classical and modern Arabic texts. Among the topics to be discussed: verb conjugation, the sound and broken plural forms, the dual forms, agreement rules, case inflection, the number, etc.

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Grammar A:
The course starts with a survey of the phonological system of Literary Arabic. This is followed by a detailed study of the verbal morphophonemic system, and then by a survey of the main noun and adjective patterns. The final part of the course is devoted to text reading and a discussion of selected grammatical issues based upon the text.

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Grammar B:
The course is devoted to a systematic study of the syntax of Written Arabic, classical and modern. Three basic sentence types will be presented that will constitute a model for the identification of structure and for the analysis of complex sentences. This will be followed by a detailed discussion of a list of syntactic phenomena. The exercises consist of: identification of sentence types, sentence analysis using a technique acquired during the first lessons, full vocalization of the text and its translation into Hebrew.

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The theoretical part: Survey of the basic characteristics of the Judaeo-Arabic literature & language.
The practical part: Reading & analyzing texts in Judaeo-Arabic That reflect those characteristics, for example the works of Rabbi Tanchm ha-Yeralm (1219-1291).In addition, this course will provide the student with the essential tools needed for accurate reading and comprehension, for instance using a dictionary for texts written in Judaeo-Arabic

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Grammatical analysis of Arabic texts:
This course may be taken by students who successfully finished the courses Grammar A and Grammar B. Classes are devoted to reading and analyzing complex texts in both Classical and Modern Literary Arabic. Students will be required to analyze the texts, vocalize them accurately, and translate them into Hebrew. Complex syntactical issues will be discussed, which were not dealt with in Grammar B.

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Studies in the writings of Sbawayhi and Zamaxar:
This course presents the basic concepts of medieval Arabic grammatical thinking. Classes will be devoted to reading and analyzing texts dealing with fundamental issues in Arabic syntax. The texts will be taken from Sbawayhis al-Kitb (8th century) and from Zamaxars Kitb al-Mufaṣṣal (12th century) and Ibn Yaʿs commentary (13th century). Among the topics to be discussed: verb complements, auxiliary verbs, the nominal sentence and conditional sentences. Special attention will be given to developments in theory and grammatical terminology throughout the years.

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Language and style in Modern Arabic Fiction in Syria
This course will discuss the development and the unique properties of the Arabic fiction in Syria since the end of the 19th century to the present. The historical survey will be accompanied with analysis of narrative works written by the best Syrian writers, such as Abd al-Salam al-'Ujaili, Ulfat al-Idelbi, Hana Mina, Zakaria Tamer and others. The discussion will focus on the stylistic and linguistic features of these works, and on the changes initiated during the years of these features.

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This course may be taken by students who successfully finished the courses Grammar A and Grammar B. Classes are devoted to reading and analyzing complex texts in both Classical and Modern Literary Arabic. Students will be required to analyze the texts, vocalize them accurately, and translate them into Hebrew. Complex syntactical issues will be discussed, which were not dealt with in Grammar B. Special attention will be given to new features in Modern Written Arabic.

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Problems in the Language of Literature
The aim of the course is to explore changes in the concepts of literary language after the emergence of new genres in modern Arabic literature. Through reading a number of texts, the course will highlight some of these shifts in different genres.

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Existential Philosophy and the Jewish Question A reading in J.-P. Sartres Thought

The course will address Sartres philosophy as a post World War II philosophy which is trying to rethink the fundamental question of ethics (mainly in Being and Nothingness). This attempt is coupled in Sartres thought with an original effort to think the Jewish question anew (as formulated in his Reflexions sur la question juive). Those two aspects of Sartres philosophy (the question of ethics and the jewish question) and the way they interact, will be the subject of our study.

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Akkadian for beginners

Akkadian denotes the East Semitic languages. It includes the Old Akkadian as well as the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects. These dialects are Old-, Middle-, Neo- and Late-Babylonian on the one hand as well as Old-, Middle- and Neo-Assyrian on the other. Akkadian, which was written in cuneiform script, is recorded from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 1st century CE. During the 2nd millennium BCE Akkadian became the language of communication in the entire Near East. It has a wide variety of texts: letters, legal and administrative documents, myths, prayers, incantations, hymns and songs, lexical and encyclopaedic lists, etc. The course "Akkadian for beginners" is based on the "classical" phase of of Akkadian, namely the Old-Babylonian texts from the reign of Hammurapi. The course will start with orthography and phonology. Then the morphology of Akkadian will be taught with an emphasis on the verbal system. Elements of the cuneiform script (Old-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian), as well as the basics of Akkadian syntax, will be taught in the 2nd semester.

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Akkadian for beginners

Akkadian denotes the East Semitic languages. It includes the Old Akkadian as well as the Babylonian and Assyrian dialects. These dialects are Old-, Middle-, Neo- and Late-Babylonian on the one hand as well as Old-, Middle- and Neo-Assyrian on the other. Akkadian, which was written in cuneiform script, is recorded from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 1st century CE. During the 2nd millennium BCE Akkadian became the language of communication in the entire Near East. It has a wide variety of texts: letters, legal and administrative documents, myths, prayers, incantations, hymns and songs, lexical and encyclopaedic lists, etc. The course "Akkadian for beginners" is based on the "classical" phase of of Akkadian, namely the Old-Babylonian texts from the reign of Hammurapi. The course will start with orthography and phonology. Then the morphology of Akkadian will be taught with an emphasis on the verbal system. Elements of the cuneiform script (Old-Babylonian and Neo-Assyrian), as well as the basics of Akkadian syntax, will be taught in the 2nd semester.

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Advanced Akkadian

As in the preparatory course (Akkadian for beginners), the main tuition will concentrate on the classical language (Old and Standard Babylonian). During the 1st semester we shall finish Huehnergards Akkadian Grammar. Thereafter we shall read Old Babylonian letters and Standard Babylonian texts (mainly royal inscriptions in Neo-Assyrian script). The gradual acquisition of cuneiform signs is an integral part of the course.

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This comprehensive course is dedicated to a historical survey of Hebrew narrative fiction written since the beginning of the 19th century to the present day, introducing its prominent writers and major trends. Among Its chapters: The era of enlightenment; beginnings of Hebrew modernism; between the two World Wars; S. Y. Agnon; the 1948 generation and the statehood generation; from Neorealism to Postmodernism.

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  • ' ' 31/01/2010 12:30
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Text, Canon, Interpretation: Integrative Introductory Course

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Integrative Bibliographic Exercise
The Integrative Bibliographic Exercise is an obligatory course for all students in the Department of Hebrew Culture Studies (for the Integrative Introduction, see below). This course focuses on presenting and exercising the basic tools used by scholars in the departments various fields. The basic skills developed in this course are dictionary searching; searching modern bibliography, and classical Hebrew culture and Hebrew language texts. The students will become acquainted with print and electronic concordances; general and specific dictionaries of Hebrew and Aramaic; various editions of early Hebrew exegetic literature; the Talmud; medieval Jewish exegesis; and major encyclopedias and lexicons in the fields of Hebrew culture. A secondary goal of this course is to practice the critical reading of texts, and to learn to locate and identify the main arguments in academic articles.

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  • ' ' 17/02/2010 12:30
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Introduction to the Hebrew Bible Part one: Biblical literature
In this course we shall study the different names of the Hebrew Bible, its components parts and genres (historiography, law, prophecy, wisdom and psalms). We shall learn the characteristics of each genre, and why these genres where chosen. Some of the main questions in this course will be: when, where and why did the ancient authors write all this literature.

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Introduction to the Hebrew Bible Part two: Biblical research
In this stage of the study, we shall learn about the canonization of the Bible, the different versions of the Hebrew Bible, the importance of the Qumran manuscripts and especially the history of the Masorah. We shall also study the process of interpretation, including critical research (textual criticism, source criticism and more) from the end of the 18th century to the present time.


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VERSIONS AND TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE
In this course, we will first become acquainted with the variety of ancient biblical versions: the Massoretic text (the Hebrew version known to us today); texts found in Qumran; the Samaritan Pentateuch; the Septuagint (the translation to ancient Greek); the Aramaic versions, etc.
Later on, we will survey textual phenomena (various kinds of scribal changes occurring during copying), and discuss them in relation to the exegetical process, which created variant readings, thus reflecting varying understandings.
Next, we will learn how to use critical editions, which provide us with textual variants as well as reflect the ways they are dealt with in Biblical Studies.
All material will be demonstrated through analysis of biblical texts, and will be discussed with due consideration to language, style and context.

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In this course we shall meet the 24 books of the bible. We'll learn about the main ideas of each book and about their time of formation. During the course we shall focus on the different genres that constituent the biblical literature: historiography, law, prophecy, wisdom literature and psalm. In addition we'll try to understand how each genre helped their authors to convey their ideas, and how each genre connects to one another.

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Beginners The Book of Amos a textual practice for

To Beit El, "the king's sanctuary and it is a royal house", arrives an unfamiliar prophet, which is not one of the members of the prophetic guild, but a herdsman who also took care of sycamore fig trees. This prophet, Amos, argues that god prefers morality over worship and social justice over sacrifices. Furthermore, he predicts that due to the decaying social condition, god has decided to exile the kingdom of Israel from the land of Canaan. In this lesson, we will delve into the fascinating prophecies of Amos, one of the Minor Prophets, and gain through them skills that will help us investigate the bible. We will try to answer the following questions: How can we understand difficult words and expressions in the bible? What are the bible translations and why are they so important? How archaeological findings can help us in understanding the biblical text? How can the rabbinic literature help us in biblical exegesis?

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INTRODUCTION TO SEMITIC LINGUISTICS

We begin with a question: What is language? What is the importance of language as a basic means of human communication? What is linguistics? What instruments do we have for the study of language? What is language family? What is Semitic language? We shall also discuss such topics as: similarity and distinction in languages; proto-language and daughter languages; specific structures which are characteristic for Semitic languages. A special discussion is dedicated to basic concepts and terms of linguistics in general and especially Semitic linguistics. After that we'll deal with two most important fields of Semitic linguistics: phonology and morphology.
Phonology, or the science of sounds, deals with the sounds of language and their functions.
We shall discuss the basic principles of the phonological theory as applied to Semitic languages, historical comparison of sound systems of various Semitic languages.
Morphology, or the science of grammatical forms, deals with basic elements expressing sense. We'll investigate different morphological systems in Semitic languages: pronouns, noun, verb in all the richness of its forms: personal conjugation, the system of verbal stems, tenses and aspects. We'll view word structure in Semitic languages.

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The History of the Hebrew Language
This course surveys the Hebrew language over its various periods from its earliest days to the present. The different faces of the Hebrew tongue over the annals of its history are presented from the biblical era, through the period of the Second Temple (the grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew, the Talmuds and the Judean Desert Scrolls), Hebrew Piyyut and poetry, Hebrew in the shadow of Arabic, the grammar of early and late Rabbinic literature, the grammar of the Enlightenment and the language of the new Hebrew literature. The survey ultimately reaches contemporary Hebrew and sheds light on the wondrous phenomenon of the rebirth of the Hebrew tongue in spoken word as part of the Zionist endeavor and the transformation of Hebrew into a live and modern language used for all aspects of life, spoken these days by over five million people.

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The History of the Hebrew Language

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Hebrew Grammar
The morphological structure and the inflections of verbs, nouns and particles in Hebrew.

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  • ' ' 25/01/2010 9:00
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Hebrew Syntax
The parts of speech, the construction of noun clauses, verbal clauses and the compound sentence in Contemporary Hebrew. The punctuation marks.

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  • ' ' 10/02/2010 9:00
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Hebrew Grammar
The morphological structure and the inflections of verbs, nouns and particles in Hebrew.

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Linguistics - basic notions
Dr. Emanuel Allon
The study of language in the past
Modern linguistics
Phonetic vs. graphic representation:
Consonant, vowel, syllable, phoneme
allophone, homophone, letter, Nikud
grapheme, allograph, homograph

Diachronic vs. synchronic research
Descriptive vs. prescriptive approaches
Sociolinguistic notions: norm, standard, register, stratum (period), style,
Dialect, sociolect, slang.
What is a "mistake"?
Langue vs. Parol

Phonetics and phonology:
Hebrew phonetic transcription (IPA)
Cardinal vowels, vowels in various languages
Phonetics vs. Phonology

Morphology
Phoneme, derivation, inflection, linear derivation, concatenation.
Root various approaches
Grammatical categories: number, gender, person tense, define article, case
Word various approaches
Parts of speech

Pronouns

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The course is an introduction to Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages, and it introduces its' main thinkers and terms in a chronological and topical order.

Course Duties: Reading the required bibliography and a final examination

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Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Part I) - Who Is a Jew and What Is Judaism
Course

Professor Ron Margolin

This introductory course in Modern Jewish Thought will focus on two main questions: The first question, "Who is a Jew?" will be examined in light of developments in the modern secular world and the place of religion after the French Revolution and the development of nationalism and historical philosophy. The discussion will relate to the ideas of Moses Mendelssohn, Nachman Krochmal, Heinrich (Zvi) Graetz, Moses Hess and the early Zionist thinkers.
The second question, "What is Judaism?", initially raised in the Theological-Political Treatise of Baruch Spinoza, will be examined in light of writings by Moses Mendelssohn, Samson Raphael Hirsch, Ahad Ha'am, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordecai Kaplan, Emmanuel Levinas and others.
The course will culminate with a discussion of modern directions in Jewish thought: The teleology of the State of Israel, the future of Jewish life in the Diaspora, the concept of Judaism as culture, Jewish feminism and the desire for renewal in Jewish life.
Part I of the introductory course in Modern Jewish Thought during the first semester will be devoted to the question "Who Is a Jew" and survey thinkers who dealt with the question "What Is Judaism".
Part II, the continuation of the course in the second semester will probe the thought of A.D. Gordon, Franz Rosenzweig, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Emmanuel Levinas, and consider new directions in modern Jewish thought.

Core bibliography: Julius Gutman, The Philosophy of Judaism; Nathan Rotenstreich, Jewish Thought in the Modern Age; Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current; Eliezer Schweid, Judaism and Secular Culture, Towards a Modern Jewish Culture, Judaism and Secular Culture, and History of the Philosophy of Jewish Religion, Volumes A-D.

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Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Part II) - Who Is a Jew and What Is Judaism
Course

Professor Ron Margolin

This introductory course in Modern Jewish Thought will focus on two main questions: The first question, "Who is a Jew?" will be examined in light of developments in the modern secular world and the place of religion after the French Revolution and the development of nationalism and historical philosophy. The discussion will relate to the ideas of Moses Mendelssohn, Nachman Krochmal, Heinrich (Zvi) Graetz, Moses Hess and the early Zionist thinkers.
The second question, "What is Judaism?", initially raised in the Theological-Political Treatise of Baruch Spinoza, will be examined in light of writings by Moses Mendelssohn, Samson Raphael Hirsch, Ahad Ha'am, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordecai Kaplan, Emmanuel Levinas and others.
The course will culminate with a discussion of modern directions in Jewish thought: The teleology of the State of Israel, the future of Jewish life in the Diaspora, the concept of Judaism as culture, Jewish feminism and the desire for renewal in Jewish life.
Part I, the first semester of the introductory course will be devoted to the question "Who Is a Jew" and survey thinkers who dealt with the question "What Is Judaism". Part II, the continuation of the course in the second semester, will probe the thought of A.D. Gordon, Franz Rosenzweig, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Emmanuel Levinas, and consider new directions in modern Jewish thought.

Core bibliography: Julius Gutman, The Philosophy of Judaism; Nathan Rotenstreich, Jewish Thought in the Modern Age; Isaiah Berlin, Against the Current; Eliezer Schweid, Judaism and Secular Culture, Towards a Modern Jewish Culture, Judaism and Secular Culture, and History of the Philosophy of Jewish Religion, Volumes A-D.


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Exercise in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

The coming course is intended to help the students get a more intimate acquaintance with important figures of Medieval Jewish Philosophy, with their writings and with their terminology.
The Rationalists of the 11th-15th century were deeply rooted in their ancestral tradition as well as in the cultural environment in which they lived, namely, the Aristotelian philosophy and science, with it's various interpretations.
The course will focus on several classical representative texts, through which the student will be able to better understand how the different authors tried to confront questions that challenged them from the Religious-Theological perspective as well as from the Philosophico-Scientific perspective.


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- An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism

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Reading of Early Kabbalistic Texts
Is it dangerous to study and practice Kabbalah? What is the inner and esoteric structure of the Torah? What is the image of god according to the Kabbalah? What is man's destiny in this world? How should it be achieved? What is the source of evil in this world? How can one overcome this evil? What is the mystical climax that can be achieved?
These are some of the questions to be discussed during this course. Most of the course will be dedicated to a careful reading of one of the classical books of the Spanish Kabbalah the book "Gates of Light" written by R. Joseph Gikatila, a book that has many connections to the Zohar ("Book of Splendor").
By discussing the Sefirotic system elaborated in this book, and in other texts of Gikatila, we will make acquaintance with fundamental Kabbalistic questions and concepts, and develop a reading ability of a Kabbalistic text.

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  • ' ' 29/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 10/03/2010 18:00

‏ (06901704)

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From the Book of Zohar to Hassidism

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  • ' ' 17/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 01/08/2010 12:30

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The course will review the history and development of the rabbinic literature and describe prominent figures and schools which shaped it. It will examine the character, purposes and conceptions of the rabbinic works: the Mishnah, Tosefta, Halakhic Midrashim and Talmudim.

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  • ' ' 27/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 09/04/2010 9:00

‏ (06902222)

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The Books of Ruth and Jonah

At the core of the book of Ruth is a special relationship developed between a woman and her mother-in-law. Both of these women are widows and both are fighting a battle for survival in the land of Judah. This course deals with questions of content and literary criticism, alongside a linguistic criticism of the text. We will try to understand the meaning of the characters names, the themes of the book, and some of the everyday customs, which are reflected in the narrative. The second part of the course deals with the book of Jonah, once again from the two aspects of literary and linguistic criticism, but the focus of the discussion will be to try to understand the outcomes of a prophets attempt to escape his call.

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‏ (06902223)

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Parent-child Relationships in the Bible and the Ancient World

The course deals with models of parenthood, which are reflected in biblical narratives, such as: the patriarchs as parents, as opposed to the matriarchs; the kings behavior as a parent in comparison to that of the prophets. We shall also analyze the parent-child relationship which develops between leaders of Israel and the nation of Israel, and how God functions as a parent. Some of the biblical stories will be compared with various narratives from the ancient Near East and Greek literature. In addition, we will explore what is said about parent-child relationships in the genres of biblical wisdom and law.

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  • ' ' 25/01/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 19/03/2010 9:00

‏ (06902227)

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Sexual violence in the Bible and in the ancient Near East
Sexual violence is an aggressive action with a sexual intent. Its object is to define the dominance of the attacker in a power struggle between the parties. At the first stage, this issue will be dealt according to the data available in the Biblical and ancient Near Eastern Laws; the objective will be to reveal the social concepts behind the formulation of the laws.
At the second stage, Biblical episodes dealing with violence will be examined. We will try to understand what is the function of scenes describing sexual violence in light of normative behaviour as revealed by the Laws.


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  • ' ' 22/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 22/07/2010 12:30

- ‏ (06902234)

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Love in Bible Gender Reading

In a patriarchal society, the woman is wholly dependant on the man, therefore love is based on a relation between one who is powerful and one who is powerless. Hence, the meaning of 'love' in the Bible, is not parallel to the modern sense of the word. In the course, we will discuss the way love is perceived in the Bible by taking into consideration the power relations between the sexes in a patriarchal society; we will discuss the social and cultural perceptions which underlie the concept of 'love' in the Bible. The course will explore the following issues:
A. The love of women to men (Song of Songs; Michal and David; Potiphar's wife and Joseph).
B. The love of men to women (The love of Jacob to Rachel; of Samson to Delila; of Solomon to his many wives; of Shechem to Dina; and of Amnon to Tamar).
C. Love as an expression of loyalty and friendship (David and Jonathan; Naomi and Ruth).

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  • ' ' 04/07/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 04/08/2010 12:30

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Biblical world and other ancient Near Eastern cultures
The course reviews ancient Near Eastern cultures (Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Assyrian, Hittite and Canaanite) in order to get a wider cultural and historic perspective on the Bible. The biblical literature will be examined in the context of the other ancient Near Eastern cultures and literatures paying attention to the varied influences as reflected in different genres: prose, poetry, law, wisdom literature. The students will write a final work (instead of an examination).

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‏ (06902239)

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The Abraham Narratives

The section of the Abraham narratives in Genesis 12-25 opens with Gods command to Abraham: Go from your country and your kindred and your fathers house (Gen. 12.1). In this command, Abraham is ordered to leave behind all that he knows and go forth to a promised land. Abraham obeys Gods call without questioning and settles in Canaan. Already at this early point in the story we will address the question: since Abraham is the figure with whom God chooses to establish a covenant, why doesnt the narrator supply any details about his parents, his childhood or his homeland. We will see if this information gap can be filled by certain ancient extra-biblical sources. The main goal of this course is to learn to analyze the central text units in the Abraham narratives. The discussion will include a close reading of the texts, which will give us the opportunity to refer to matters of textual-criticism (low criticism), as well as literary criticism (high criticism).

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Humour in the Bible
In this course we shall start by looking into definitions of humour and the comic from literary, philosophical and psychological angles. Our next step ill be looking for humour in the Hebrew Bible and its classification into subgroups, commencing with illustrating every category by reading a specific biblical texts or several texts.
Requirements: attendance, active participation, final paper on an individual subject.

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Language and Style of Biblical Hebrew

The course discusses issues in biblical Hebrew syntax such as: the syntactic constituents of the biblical clause, coordination and subordination of clauses, and the biblical verb system (aspects, tenses, and moods). Issues in biblical discourse will also be introduced, as well as some main linguistic phenomena, which help us distinguish between early and late biblical Hebrew prose. The aim of the course is to prepare students to analyze matters of grammar and style, which are relevant to the interpretation of the biblical text.

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  • ' ' 01/02/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 12/03/2010 9:00

‏ (06902254)

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Beliefs and Ideologies and their place in biblical thought
The aim of this course is to clarify why we cannot understand the biblical literature as representing a single belief or ideology. The different schools of thought which were responsible of creating and shaping the different ideologies will be presented, and attention will be paid to such subjects as the conception of God (the monotheistic idea, the presence of god in the world, or only in heaven), the conception of human being, the relationship between God and the people of Israel, and more.



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  • ' ' 14/02/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 21/04/2010 18:00

נבואה מול אשור- הושע, ישעיה,מיכה‏ (06902255)

שיעור

פרופ` פרנק פולק


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Prof. Frank Polak: Facing Assyria - Hosea, Isaiah, Micah
Prophetic literature includes three books that deal with the position of Israel and Judah vis--vis the great powers of the eighth and seventh century BCE, and in particular Assyria. The first of them, Hosea, speaks of the Assyrian menace alongside Egypt as one of the existential threats confronting Israel and Judah. In the book of Micah the threat rises to a climax in the proclamation of the destruction of the Temple, but on the other hand this book brings the prophecy of divine salvation from the Assyrian conquest. The book of Isaiah represents a comprehensive divine plan according to which the Assyrian power, which was to punish Israel and Judah, will be destroyed in the process. Ultimately, following the great conflagration a new world will arise that will bring peace to humanity. Thus the book of Isaiah presents an political-theological alternative to Assyrian imperialism.
The participants in this course will write a small paper on one of the subjects of the course.

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‏ (06902256)

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Aspects in the Design of Biblical Narrative
This course will explore the basic constituents of the biblical narrative: the stages of the plot, types of characters, time and setting, and the focal points from which the narrative is told. We shall also examine some rhetorical devices such as paronomasia and lexical fields. The aim of this course is to gain a better understanding of the techniques used by the biblical narrator and how the basic constituents figure into the design of the story and its themes.

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  • ' ' 11/07/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 11/08/2010 12:30

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Israel among the Peoples: National and Group Definitions of Identity in the Land and in Exile
According to Israel's historical conscious the forefathers had arrived from Mesopotamia (Ur/Haran) or from Egypt to a land settled by Canaanite peoples. This course follows major historical junctions which compelled biblical authors to define and re-define the people's (or groups from within) identity, and to distinct it (them) from other groups and peoples in the region. We will study three circles of national definitions: Between Israel and the Canaanites (the Fathers stories, the distinction from the 'seven peoples' or from 'the peoples of the land' in the Priestly literature and in Deuteronomy), between Israel and Judah (from the Separation of the Kingdom to the Destruction of Israel, and the question of the 'Samarians'), between the Judean Exiles in Babylon and the People who Remained (the struggle which started in the early exilic period and continued untill the Restoration period). The methodology is inter-disciplinary: We will read the biblical texts utilizing sociological approaches of Ethnicity, Group-identity definitions, and 'Otherness'.

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‏ (06902258)

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  • ' ' 16/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 19/07/2010 9:00

‏ (06902302)

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MAP OF THE LANGUAGES
The course is supplying its participants with the basic information on various languages of the world, on criteria for their classification, on the notions of genealogical tree and typological classification. Different language structures are presented using actual examples, analysis of a short text in a number of languages, like Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hindi, Swahili and others.

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  • ' ' 15/02/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 30/04/2010 9:00

‏ (06902303)

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LANGUAGES AND WRITING SYSTEMS
The course deals with various writing systems and their relations with spoken languages.
It begins with the invention of writing in the Near East and describes the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, the cuneiform writing. The invention of the Phoenician consonantal script and its spread to various languages; the Aramaic script and its descendants from Near East to Mongolia and Manchuria. The Berber writing. South Arabian script and Ethiopian syllabic writing. The Greek, Latin, Gothic, Cyrillic, Armenian and Georgian alphabets. Devanagari and other Indic scripts, Tibetan and the scripts of Indo-China. Chinese hieroglyphs and Japanese syllabic writing. Korean writing system. Recent inventions od scripts in Africa and North America.

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  • ' ' 05/02/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 14/05/2010 9:00

‏ (06902304)

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Introduction to Vernacular Aramaic
The course begins in an outline of the history of Aramaic as well as some of the salient characteristics of the classical phases of this language. The following lessons are dedicated to modern Aramaic and its wide and diverse spectrum of regional idioms. The bulk of the course deals with the diversity of vernacular Aramaic dialects spoken in south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and north-western Iran. The main linguistic features of these dialects, often compared with classical Aramaic varieties, is the focus of most of the lessons. Audio and video recordings of Neo-Aramaic, including radio broadcasts, songs and films, are presented throughout the course. Aramaic speakers invited to some of the lessons present their native dialects. Knowledge in Aramaic or Semitic linguistics is not a prerequisite for this course.

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Linguistic and Social Space in Ethiopia EXERCISE

Dr. Anbessa Teferra


The aim of the course is to provide basic knowledge with subjects related to language and society in Ethiopia. In this course are included among other things:


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  • ' ' 29/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 17/03/2010 18:00

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Ethiopia: History, Language, and Culture EXERCISE

Lecturer: Dr. Anbessa Teferra



The aim of the course is to provide basic knowledge with subjects related to history, language, and culture in Ethiopia. In this course are included among other things: a brief history of Ethiopia, classification of Ethiopian languages, cultural codes, various religions, material culture of various ethnic groups, etc.


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  • ' ' 09/07/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 11/08/2010 12:30

‏ (06902400)

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  • ' ' 27/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 03/03/2010 18:00

‏ (06902401)

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  • ' ' 27/06/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 29/07/2010 9:00

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Mishnaic Hebrew
The course presents the rudimental grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew, focusing mainly on phonology and morphology. The course is accompanied by Mishnaic readings (based on reliable manuscripts), which demonstrate different grammatical phenomena that are not raised in the lectures themselves. Moreover, the course addresses the philological-historical aspects of Mishnaic Hebrew as well as its geographical background, and provides an overview of research into this field and a brief survey of Talmudic literature.

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  • ' ' 17/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 25/07/2010 12:30

‏ (06902403)

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ADVANCED SYNTAX

The first part of the course introduces three aspects of syntactic analysis: the formal aspect, the semantic aspect and the pragmatic aspect. Different syntactic issues are discussed while emphasizing the contribution of the different analysis aspects. The second part of the course focuses on presenting the syntactic structures of verbal sentences in contemporary Hebrew. A semantic method is suggested (based on principles from generative grammar, case grammar, functional grammar, construction grammar and more), which enables predicting the syntactic realization of different contents. The predictions concern the verb valency, the parts of speech of the sentential components and the different syntactic positions of the various semantic role bearers. After setting the frame of syntactic predictions, semantic and pragmatic accounts for opaque realizations of verbal sentences will be systematically presented, considering the verb valency, as well as the linguistic categories and syntactic positions of the realizations of arguments in the different cases.

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  • ' ' 31/01/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 12/03/2010 9:00

‏ (06902404)

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Semantics
The course deals with the classical issues within the theory of meaning: the various approaches to meaning; the expressive aspect of meaning and its sociolinguistic effects; changes of meaning (=semantic shifts); semantic relations; the influence of foreign languages on the structure of the lexicon.

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  • ' ' 30/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 01/08/2010 12:30

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Arabic Grammar and its Affiliations with Hebrew

Mr. Tal Kittenplon


The aim of this course is to present a review of the phonological and morphological characteristics of literary Arabic based on comparison with Hebrew. It manifests Arabic's profound contribution to the historic research of the Hebrew Language.

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  • ' ' 06/07/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 10/08/2010 12:30

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The science of language
Dr. Emanuel Allon

Modern linguistics language as a science
Data, corpus, sentence, proof
Language as a system of syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations

Syntagmatic relations:
Order and sequence
Agreement and government
Components

Paradigmatic relations:
Selection group (inflection)
Grammatical paradigms
Value
Zero value

Synchronic language processes:
Analogy
Distribution of phones in Modern Hebrew: [f],[x],[v],[p], [k], [b].
Indirect evidence of older language states.
Neutralization.


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  • ' ' 12/02/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 07/05/2010 9:00

‏ (06902600)

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Maimonides' secrets of the Guide
In the course we will focus on Maimonides esotericism and its relation to earlier and later phases in the Jewish tradition. We will try to analyze and decode some of the secrets embodied in Maimonides masterpiece.

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  • ' ' 30/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 04/08/2010 12:30

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Maimonides' secrets of the Guide
In the course we will focus on Maimonides esotericism and its relation to earlier and later phases in the Jewish tradition. We will try to analyze and decode some of the secrets embodied in Maimonides masterpiece.

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Apotheosis in Jewish medieval theology
The course will provide an extensive analysis of several theories of philosophical, spiritual and mystical transformations in Jewish medieval literature. A special emphasis will be given to the absorption of the ancient idea of apotheosis in the medieval Jewish sources.

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  • ' ' 08/07/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 12/08/2010 12:30

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R. Zeev Wolf of Zhitomir is one of the most outstanding disciples of the Great Maggid, R. Dov Baer of Miedzyrzec. He is thus a central figure of the third generation of Hasidism. His great homiletical book, "Or haMeir" (printed for the first time in 1798, shortly before its author's death, and many times since then), should be regarded as a very intriguing interpretation of the spiritual world of his admired teacher. One of his main spiritual interests is the negating attitude towards the concrete world and its possessions, values, urges, pains and sufferings, but it encompasses all the major questions which arose in the Hasidic world.

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EVIL AND THE WAYS OF ITS CORRECTION IN HASIDIC THOUGHT

The concept of Evil in Hasidic thought assumes that Evil is nothing but a falsified and distorted aspect of God's essence. Moreover, in its dark depths, Evil conceals divine lights, which have their origin in the highest levels of the Godhead. Following R. Moses Hayyim Luzzatto's profound system concerning the problem of Evil, Hasidism makes a further step by stating that Evil is a necessary precondition for the full revelation of man's redemptive phase and the appearance of the divine all-embracing good, which is the only true being. Hasidism deals with the problem of Evil as a human rather than a metaphysical one, thus reflecting the crucial shift from theosophy to psychology in its circles and writings. Regarding Evil as a distorted divine substance, Hasidism seeks the ways of correcting and returning it to its holy origin, as suggested, for example, in the theory of uplifting the alien thoughts and faulty qualities, or the sanctification of the profane, as major themes in Hasidic writings.


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The Jewish Magical Tradition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

In spite of the biblical prohibition against magic, divination, necromancy and so on, the Jewish world has always been rife with many magical practices. In this course we shall examine the biblical legislation and the biblical stories which deal with magic and divination, and study the Jewish magical tradition in the Second Temple period and in Late Antiquity, as it emerges from the exorcisms, amulets, incantation bowls and other magical texts written by or for Jews at the time. We shall also examine the rabbis' attitudes towards magic, and end with the numerous magical texts from the Cairo Genizah.
Students can also take the subsequent course, which will cover the development of the Jewish magical tradition from the Middle Ages to the present, but each of the two courses is a self-standing unit. The lectures will be conducted in Hebrew.


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  • ' ' 16/02/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 28/04/2010 18:00

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The Jewish Magical Tradition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Period

In spite of the biblical prohibition against magic, divination, necromancy and so on, the Jewish world has always been rife with many magical practices. In this course -- which is a continuation of the course on the Jewish Magical Tradition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, but is open even to students who did not take that course -- we shall examine the Jewish magical tradition from the Cairo GEnizah to our own days. We shall begin with the Jewish magical texts of the Middle Ages, in the Cairo Genizah and in the Ashkenazic and Sephardic worlds, examine the relations between the world of Kabbalah and that of Jewish magic, and study the transformation of the Jewish magical tradition in the age of print, ending with the Jewish magical practices of the twenty-first century. The lectures will be conducted in Hebrew.


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  • ' ' 28/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 02/08/2010 12:30

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Josephus and the Sages
The course will examine a group of legends dealing with figures and events from the Second Temple era, which were preserved in parallel versions in the writings of Josephus and in rabbinic literature. We will investigate this surprising phenomenon and compare the literary structure and historical significance of these tales in both corpuses in order to learn more about the tendencies and orientations with which they were reworked in each corpus.

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  • ' ' 16/06/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 18/08/2010 9:00

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Biblical figures in Rabbinic Aggadda: part one

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Biblical figures in Rabbinic Aggadda: part two

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The place of the world Theology an Ecology in ancient Judaism.

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The earliest document preserved in rabbinic literature Megillat Ta'anit, the Scroll of Fasting commemorates forgotten historical events from the Second Temple era. These events were identified and interpreted in the "Scholium", the later commentary on Megillat Ta'anit. The course will explore the purpose of the Scroll, the nature and significance of the events included in it and the way the Sages tried to shape the national memory. The course will also deal with the Scholium, its date, provenance and the credibility of its traditions.

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Methodology and Ideology in the Study of Rabbinic Literature

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Prof. Frank Polak: The Book of Job: Wisdom, Protest and Hope (Undergraduate Seminary).
The book of Job recounts the fate of Job as narrative, presenting his reactions and the responses of his wise peers as a series of poetic speeches. Thus our book transcends the narrow boundaries of genre conventions. The break with convention stands out in the sustained dialogic structure, which bestows a distinct dramatic character on the book. The center of stage is taken by the fate of Job, the just sufferer who was mortally hit by divine decision not in order to punish him for his sins, but with the aim to test his loyal devotion. Is the person who is described as a perfectly just person, to admit his sins, as his peers argue, and in accordance with the conventional doctrine of retribution? Is he allowed to argue his perfect innocence? And what is the status of his plea of innocence in view of the divine answer from the stormwind? Thus the book of Job raises serious questions concerning divine justice. But does it also provide an answer? And if it does, what is the answer? These issues form the focus of our seminary, which also will deal with the socio-historical background for the questions that the book of Job puts on the agenda.
Requirements: the participants will write a seminary paper, or a smaller paper as referat.

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Narrative and law in the book of Exodus
One of the quintessential characteristics of the Pentateuch is the combination between law and narrative. What is its origin? How is it reflected in the book of Exodus? What is the aim of the combination between the two genres? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in the seminar. We shall focus on several narratives, through which we get to know varied commentary traditions and different research approaches, and we shall examine the literal-narrative characteristics of the legal writing, as reflected in the Book of the Covenant.

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GEEZ FOR BEGINNERS

Geez is the old Ethiopian language which had been in use since the 4th century. It is not a spoken language anymore but is used in Ethiopian church and also by Ethiopian Jews. Numerous ancient texts are preserved in Geez, even translations of texts whose original is lost. Study of Geez is important for Semitic linguistics since it is an old Semitic language. Besides it is important for those who are interested in Ethiopian history and for those who are investigating Biblical texts.
The study begins with learning the unique Ethiopian script, the phonetics and morphology of the language. Rather soon students begin reading Geez texts, Biblical translations and original chronicles.
Exam.

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  • ' ' 16/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 02/08/2010 12:30

‏ (06903307)

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Amharic for Beginners- Lecture

Lecturer: Dr. Anbessa Teferra


Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia and most Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Israel. Even though Amharic is the official language and also a language which has preserved some of the original Semitic features, it diverged very much from most sister Semitic languages because of the influence of Cushitic languages. Within the framework of the course the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language will be taught at beginners and intermediate level. Likewise reading of simple and intermediate level texts and listening of recordings in spoken Amharic will also be included.


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Amharic for Advanced Students - Lecture

Lecturer: Dr. Anbessa Teferra


Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia and most Ethiopian Jewish immigrants in Israel. Even though Amharic has preserved some of the original Semitic features, it diverged very much from most sister Semitic languages because of the influence of neighboring Cushitic languages. Within the framework of the course the phonology, morphology and syntax of the language will be taught at an advanced level. Likewise reading of intermediate and advanced level texts and listening of recordings in spoken Amharic will also be included.


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Linguistic Variation and Cultural Variation
Prof. Shlomo Izre'el
Graduate seminar. Education, ethnic origin, age, sex, social attribution, geographic location these and many other characteristics affect language. When we speak with family members we speak differently than we speak to strangers; we use yet a different language when we speak to a large audience or when we speak over the phone; our language differs when we speak about personal vs. non-personal topics, when we tell a story or when we talk politics. We will try to examine linguistic and social variability, and see how culture affects linguistic behavior.

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Phoenician
Prof. Shlomo Izre'el
Phoenician, a Canaanite language, is a sister language to Hebrew, belonging to the Northwestern branch of the Semitic family. We will read Phoenician inscriptions from different periods and different locations, from the Levant and from the western Mediterranean regions. We shall examine phonological, morphological, syntactical and lexical features unique to Phoenician and those features that it shares with its cognate languages. We shall touch upon diachronic processes that are attested for Phoenician. The main goal of the course is to acquire the methodology for studying ancient languages which lack enough data for a comprehensive description.

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Syntax of Biblical Hebrew
The use of tenses and moods in Biblical Hebrew, the accents and their functions, the noun phrase construct state, apposition and their meanings, the compound sentence and its stylistic use, modality and aspect in special kinds of sentences.

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  • ' ' 29/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 24/03/2010 18:00

‏ (06903402)

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Biblical Aramaic
The course deals with the grammar and lexicon of the Aramaic parts of the Bible, most of which are chapters in the books of Ezra and Daniel. The grammar outlined throughout the course is according to the Tiberian vocalization of the text, and is accompanied with comparisons to Biblical Hebrew. Closely related texts such as papyri from Egypt and the Genesis Apocryphon of the Dead Sea scrolls are also read and examined.

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  • ' ' 21/06/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 25/07/2010 12:30

‏ (06903403)

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The Language of Modern Hebrew Prose
The course follows milestones the revolution in Modern Hebrew which has occurred mostly in periodicals novels and short stories from the turn of the 19th century. The students will get occurred with personal stylistic choices and norms of individuals such a Moses Mendlsshon, Abraham Mapu, Menadle, Bialik Brener Gnesin and more. It will examine the innovative aspects of the emergent Modern Hebrew with its relations to the old layers of traditional Hebrew as well as the ongoing developing new registers and it ever growing lexicon .
Demands: active participation, two term papers.

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The language of Modern Hebrew poetry
The language of poetry spans between two poles: the normative and the innovative use of language. The course offers linguistic tools for examining the emergence of Modern Hebrew poetry. It lexical. syntactic, pragmatic, prosodic aspect are examined form a linguistic and a historical point of view pointing at the unique phenomenon of the returning of Hebrew to full life as well as to its relations tendencies and styles in European poetry. The course begins with poets of the enlightenment era and ends in the present days.
Demands: active participation, two term papers.

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  • ' ' 25/01/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 05/03/2010 9:00

‏ (06903410)

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Stylistics theory and practice
What is style? What is a stylistic norm? How does it emerge? What guides the editor's choices? The course deals with these questions as well as with the principles of clarity, accuracy, richness, coherence, structure, and more as they are reflected in prosaic fictional an non fictional style.
Demands: participation only with the approval of the department consultant
active participation, class work and final paper.

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Pragmatics
The course will start by presenting the interface(s) between pragmatics and semantics. It will continue by discussing major theories and methodologies within the pragmatic field. The final part of the course will be devoted to analysing syntactic material from a pragmatic viewpoint.

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  • ' ' 08/02/2010 9:00
  • ' ' 09/04/2010 9:00

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The Early Piyyut in Eretz Israel - its Language and Background
The grammar of Piyyut, whose roots lie in the early Piyyut of the land of Israel, bears a new face in the annals of the Hebrew tongue. Alongside its overt innovations, a multitude of concealed fragments of the languages spoken in the days of the first Piyyut poets affected their works.
The course will address the history of the Piyyut, with a central role to scrutinizing the works of important paytanim of the land of Israel such as Yosse Ben Yosse, Yannai and Kallir, including works that have become assets of inalienable value to the jewish culture, some of which are still today recited by many.
Analysis of Piyyut will relate to the connections between its content and the Midrash,, the unique and evolving linguistic morphology of the Piyyut, its background and its ties to the tongues that were in use in the land of Israel during the Byzantine era.

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  • ' ' 03/02/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 14/04/2010 18:00

‏ (06903450)

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The lexical and conceptual system of the Hebrew language Seminar
The course aims at qualifying the students to investigate the structure of the lexical and conceptual structure of the Hebrew language forma diachronic (using all kinds of dictionaries) and synchronic ( based on new cognitive theories) point if view. It will focus on certain semantic fields such as Truth, Colors Feelings, Space and Time, Norm, Difference, Negativity and more and on metaphorical schemas and structures both universal and unique to Hebrew. The course will draw the line between the stable and the ever changing aspect of the lexicon as reflected in cognitive semantic theories.Demands: active participation, seminar (or term) paper.

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PROBLEMS IN ANCIENT HEBREW

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The Origins of Contemporary Normative Hebrew
The image of normative contemporary Hebrew as designed by decisions of the Academy of the Hebrew Language during the course of its existence of over fifty years is based mainly on classical Hebrew grammar mainly biblical grammar. However, other influences exist as well, which created, ultimately, a grammar that differs in many details from that of the Bible and that is based also on other linguistic strata as well.
The seminar will scrutinize these issues, investigating them on a few levels including the practical realm and the desire to construct a grammar possessing rules that are as solid as possible.
In this framework, linguistic phenomena that emerged in later generations will be investigated, and the extent of their influence on decision-makers will be explored. Furthermore, changes in the line of thought affecting the work of the Academy from its early days through the present will be surveyed. The Origins of Contemporary Normative Hebrew

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Semantic Groups of Verbs
The seminar is based on the knowledge acquired in the Advanced Syntax course. Groups of verbs will be analyzed, in terms of their meaning, usage and syntactic frame. The data will be collected from written texts in the literature of contemporary Hebrew. During the course each student will choose one semantic group on which to perform the analyses. The different verbs will be examined according to their meanings (basic meaning, and specific meaning such as presuppositions, arguments incorporations, adverbial predicates etc.), as well as according to their syntactic frames (both opaque and transparent semantically). The overall picture of the array of verbs in contemporary Hebrew will be derived from each groups partial contribution, regarding their dictionary meaning, linguistic usage and syntactic behavior.


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Parallel Spoken and Written Texts
The course will deal with the differences between the spoken medium and the written medium in contemporary Hebrew. For this purpose, texts which include both a written and a spoken version will be examined, such as: television subtitles of Hebrew talk shows alongside the actual speech; trial protocols alongside their parallel recordings; published press interviews and quotations alongside their preceding recordings. As a result of these examinations, the students will be exposed to the characteristics of different registers in contemporary Hebrews formal written and spoken language.

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S.P. Raphael, Jewish Views of the Afterlife, New Jersey and London, 1994.
C. McDannell & B. Lang, Heaven - a History, NY, 1990.



Death, Heaven and Hell in Kabbalistic Texts

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THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE CONFIGURATIONS (PARTSUFIM) IN LURIANIC KABBALAH

The Lurianic doctrine of divine configurations ("Partsufim") relates to the process of correction ("tikkun"), which takes place as cooperation between God and man after the dramatic and traumatic mythical event of the breaking of the vessels. It is based on a very complex myth of the rebirth of broken divine entities after their "death", and their gradual growth to the point of their sexual and fertile maturity. The doctrine deals with all the newly arranged structure of divine entities, but it pays special attention to the correction of the two lower "partsufim", Zeer Anpin and Nukba. As a result of the breaking of the vessels, these two are the most damaged divine worlds to be corrected, and they are in need of intense human support in order to be gradually corrected and redeemed. Along the course we'll of course also study the requested human activity to fulfill this crucial task.

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Kabbalistic Spiritual Guides for Everyday Life

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Jewish Techniques for the Attainment of Mystical Inspiration

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Kabbalah, Magic, and Practical Kabbalah in Jewish Magical Manuscripts

The Manuscript Sassoon 56 (=New York Public Library 190) contains a large collection of magical recipes, magical texts (such as Shimmush
Tehillim) and various Kabbalistic works (and esp. the writings of Abraham Abulafia). It was copied by Moshe s. of Yaakov s. of Mordechai s. of Yaakov s. of Moshe, and by his son Yekutiel, between 1464 and
1468 CE. During the seminar we shall read most of the texts found in this manuscript, and try to understand both the individual units and the nature of the manuscript as a whole. We shall also examine such questions as the relations between halakha and magic or between Kabbalah, 'practical Kabbalah', and magic, as well as the transmission history of ancient and medieval Jewish magical texts. We shall also examine other manuscripts, such as Sassoon 290, to see how they resemble our manuscript and how they differ from it.
During the seminar we shall read many texts in Aramaic and Hebrew; a knowledge of Arabic or Judaeo-Arabic will be an asset, but is not a precondition for joining the seminar. The sessions themselves will be conducted in Hebrew.

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Property, Gender, Lineage, Marriage: Reading Mishna Kidushin

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Mesopotamian Texts and Biblical Research for Beginners

This course aims to teach the basics of the Akkadian language. A selection of the laws of Hammurabi will be read in Akkadian, and texts of other genres such as wisdom, myth, and official correspondences will also be introduced.

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  • ' ' 11/07/2010 12:30
  • ' ' 11/08/2010 12:30

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Polemics and holy places in biblical literature
In spite of the law ordaining the concentration of the cult, biblical literature describes a number of holy places. What makes a place holy? Is it possible to cancel sanctity of a place? Is there any polemic on the sanctity of different places? And can sanctity migrate from one place to another? What is the status of holy places outside the country? These issues will be the center of this seminar.

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Prophets in the Shade of Empires: Theological and National Conceptions Called to Test
Israel's and Judah's subjugation to the Neo-Assyrian Empire and then Judah's subdue to the Neo-Babylonians brought new political, economical and social realities. However, this course focuses on the theological transformations to which the prophecies of Isaiah son of Amoz, Jeremiah and Ezekiel give special attention. These prophets accompany the kings and the people in Judah and in Babylon in critical crises during the late eighth and early sixth centuries BCE. Did Isaiah know Assyrian political conceptions and their ideology of war? what guided Jeremiah and Ezekiel in their diverse attitudes towards Babylon? We will identify in these prophets' words a struggle with traditional concepts, such as: concepts of war (the roles of God and Man in war), the conception of Zion, conceptions of land and of exile, and above all perceptions on the relationship between God and His people.

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Legal proceedings in ancient Israel
What were the characteristics of the legal system in ancient Israel? How did the judicial proceeding look like? Is it possible to answer these questions and other relevant questions relying on biblical narratives and laws which describe judicial proceedings? The seminar deals with the relations between the legal conceptions reflected in biblical literature and the real life judicature in the biblical society

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New Approaches to Biblical Studies
Classical bible criticism has traditionally focused mainly on textuality, sources, language, genres and history. In recent years new approaches have been added, approaches that help position the bible and options for its reading within modern and post-modern discourse and the wider contexts of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
In this course biblical texts will be read with the aid of new approaches/methodologies such as structuralism and post-structuralism, narratology and other methods of literary criticism, feminist criticisms, rhetorical criticism, psychology and psychoanalysis, ideological criticism, art and media.
Course requirements: attendance; short oral presentation [15 minutes]; final paper


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Prof. Frank Polak: From Myth to Apocalyptic - another perspective on biblical literature
Scholarly research of opens various perspectives on biblical literature. Adherents of literary-historical criticism recognize that its roots are to be looked for in poetry, such as the Song of the Sea and the poetry attributed to the book of the Upright. The importance of the poetic roots of biblical literature is proven by the discovery of the Ugaritic texts, with regard to style and content alike. Biblical prose and poetry contain many residues of ancient Northwest semitic and ancient Israelite poetry. In this seminar we will trace the residues of this literature in order to determine in which way and to which extent they contribute to the particular character of biblical literature and the evolution of the ideas expressed in it, from the book of Psalms and Pentateuchal narrative to prophetic literautre and apocalyoptic literature in the Hellenistic period (Enoch and Daniel).
Requirements: the participants will write a seminary paper, or a smaller paper as referat.

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Prof. Frank Polak, The Book Ben Sira: Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Period (Graduate Seminary).
The book of Ben Sira is a wisdom book that was composed in the Hellenistic period and is rooted in biblical literature. Reading this book is a great intellectual adventure. The tale of the discovery of its Hebrew text is a thrilling story. At first this book was known in its Greek version and in a translation into Syriac, and from some quotations in Talmudic and Midrshic literature, but at the end of the nineteenth century a number of medieval Hebrew manuscripts were found in the the Cairo Geniza, that were later joined by an ancient scroll from Masada and some fragments from Qumran. These multifarious finding places show that the Ben Sira book was widely accepted among the Jewish intelligentsia. Thus the question why it was not included in the biblical canon of Judaism is highly significant. This book stands out by its artful arrangement. Apparently independent sayings (like in the biblical book of Proverbs) are linked one to another, and thus form an encompassing exposition of outstanding ethical and religious tenets; many subjects are treated in well organized chapters. A group of chapters presents a series of characters from the Bible and Judaic history from Enoch, Noah and Abraham to
Simon the Just, the High Priest. The style of Ben Sira demands our attention as well. In many passages its language is similar to biblical poetry, and in particular to the wisdom books (Proverbs, Job) and to Psalms. In other cases the poet uses his own idiom or the linguistic register of the Second Temple period. Is the poet imitating biblical literature, or does he use its idiom for his own purposes? The present seminar touches upon all these questions and attempts in this way to characterize the intellectual atmosphere of the period between the biblical era and the Maccabean uprising.
Requirements: a seminary paper or a short paper as referat.

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Prof. Frank Polak . Poetic Tradition and Narrative in the Torah
The central currents of biblical criticism view the narrative in the Torah as the outcome of the intertwining of a number of continuous parallel narratives (sources/documents), or as the redactional interweaving of innumerable different tales. A very different perspective is suggested by various branches of literary theory and the anthropology of language and literature, which indicate the fatal limitations of the outlook of biblical criticism. An additional perspective is supplied by the study of Ugaritic texts, and ancient Near Eastern literature in general. In this seminar we will examine various different echoes of Ugaritic literature in the narrative of the Torah, with regard to stylistic and thematic design. In addition we will attempt to assess the extent of literary continuity along the large scale units of Pentateuchal narrative, such as the mythical tale of the flood, the Abraham-Jacob cycle, the Joseph narrative, and the semi-mythical account of the exodus from Egypt. We will examine these texts in the light of various different literary theories and the information extractable from Ugaritic and other ancient Near Eastern texts.
Requirements: the participants will write a seminary paper, or a smaller paper as referat.

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The Verb Literal and Metaphorical Uses
The course focuses on the syntactic structures and the meaning of verb phrases in written contemporary Hebrew. The classification and analysis will be based on the different semantic groups to which the verbs belong, and on their argument-structure. A distinction will be made between considering the verbs in their literal, elementary, basic uses (basic meaning, specific meaning, full and reduced syntactic structure etc.), and considering the same verbs in their various metaphorical uses. The analysis of the metaphorical uses will include identifying the metaphorical digression and defining it, while observing the meaning-components in the verbs basic meaning; analyzing the semantic context which led to the metaphorical use; distinguishing between a metaphorical use of a verb per se, and a use of a whole verb phrase or a whole verbal sentence, which have undergone a metaphorical shift; identifying regularity in the transition of metaphorically used verbs from one semantic group to another and more. The corpus used consists of original Hebrew novels from the recent years.

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Investigations in Hebrew poetic language graduate seminar
The seminar will examine the innovative language of major Hebrew poets (mainly Bialik and Tcshernochovski). The students will research these poets unique historical role in the emergence of Modern Poetic Hebrew and will acquire cognitive linguistic tools to deal with these innovations (semantic markers, metaphorical and figurative patterns, semantic fields structuring and more).
Demands: active participation, seminar (or term) paper.

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The Syntax of Colloquial Hebrew
The course focuses on the characteristics of colloquial speech in general and those of colloquial Hebrew in particular, and involves reading appropriate linguistic literature. The students will experience recording and transcribing a spontaneous spoken text, after which we will discuss the unique spoken language phenomena arising from these texts. The phenomena are divided into those which are related to the performance of spoken language, and those which are a part of its grammar. We will mainly concentrate on syntactic phenomena, while continuously combining a morphemic description with an analysis of the utterances function.

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Reading Traditions of Mishnaic Hebrew
The seminar scrutinizes the morphology of Mishnaic Hebrew according to the good sources of this linguistic stratum excellent manuscripts and oral traditions. Special attention will be dedicated to a reading of the works of Ashkenazic grammarians of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, who dealt with rectification of the language of prayer: the formulation and reprinting of prayer books by Shabbethai Sofer, Zalman Hanau, Isaac Satanow, Jacob Emden, Seligman Baer, Wolf Heidenheim and others. Through their methods and amendments, a good Ashkenazic tradition of Mishnaic grammar is exposed, and will be analyzed in this seminar against a background of knowledge from other traditions.

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אקסיסטנציאליזם, אקסיסטנציאליזם דתי וההגות היהודית המודרנית‏ (06904617)

סמינר

פרופ` רון מרגולין

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Existentialism, Religious Existentialism and Modern Jewish Thought
The Hegelian doctrine of essences gave rise in the nineteenth century to a philosophical reaction giving priority to existence over essence, that is, man's immediate existence. Kierkegaard argued this priority from a God-centered point of view while Feuerbach and Nietzsche called for an anthropocentric approach to real human problems. The movement continued into the twentieth century with religious philosophers like Marcel and Jaspers and atheists like Heidegger and Sartre. Modern Jewish thinkers like Buber, Rosenzweig, Jonas and Levinas, drawing on the same philosophical sources, tried to create a Jewish alternative to the tragic mode of Nietzschean existentialism. The seminar will explore these currents of thought using selected texts by Nietzsche, Heidegger and Sartre and the above-named modern Jewish thinkers.

Core bibliography:
Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (Sein und Zeit)
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Bse)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea (La Nause)
Martin Buber, Philosophical Anthropology (P'nei Adam)
Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion

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Hans Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility, Chicago 1984
Hans Jonas, Mortality and Morality, Evanstone 1966
Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, Boston 1963
Hava Tirosh Samuelson and Christian Wiese (eds), The Legacy of Hans Jonas, Boston 2008

Morality, Responsibility and the Search for the Good After Auschwitz The Philosophy of Hans Jonas


Hans Jonas (1903-1993), the renowned student of Heidegger and Bultmann in Germany became Heidegger's greatest critic after World War II. A preeminent scholar of the Gnostic religion, Jonas was also the leading philosopher of the environmental movement, widely known for his writings on bioethics as well as for his essays on the prospect of Jewish philosophy after the Holocaust. The seminar will explore different components of Jonas' study of Gnosis, his existential world view, and his ethical philosophy in relation to the lessons of the Holocaust and the fashioning of a post-Holocaust Jewish theology. Our reading will include various works by and about Hans Jonas in an endeavor to understand his far-reaching influence on contemporary thought.

Core bibliography :Hans Jonas, The Imperative of Responsibility, Chicago 1984
Hans Jonas, Mortality and Morality, Evanstone 1966
Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, Boston 1963
Hava Tirosh Samuelson and Christian Wiese (eds), The Legacy of Hans Jonas, Boston 2008


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THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE CONFIGURATIONS (PARTSUFIM) IN LURIANIC KABBALAH

The Lurianic doctrine of divine configurations ("Partsufim") relates to the process of correction ("tikkun"), which takes place as cooperation between God and man after the dramatic and traumatic mythical event of the breaking of the vessels. It is based on a very complex myth of the rebirth of broken divine entities after their "death", and their gradual growth to the point of their sexual and fertile maturity. The doctrine deals with all the newly arranged structure of divine entities, but it pays special attention to the correction of the two lower "partsufim", Zeer Anpin and Nukba. As a result of the breaking of the vessels, these two are the most damaged divine worlds to be corrected, and they are in need of intense human support in order to be gradually corrected and redeemed. Along the course we'll of course also study the requested human activity to fulfill this crucial task.

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A Doe, a Whale and the tears of God - on Kabbalistic Mythmaking

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Purity, impurity, holiness and the profane are basic concepts of almost every religious system. The course will follow this set of terms in its development from the Bible, through second temple exegesis and into the rabbinic literature. We shall try to reconstruct lifestyles, social structures and theological-political polemics which these religious conceptions generated.

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From Canon to Canon: From Bibile to Mishnah
This seminar will examine (1) the special features of the Hebrew Bible and its formation as a canon; (2) The transition from the Biblical Canon to the Canon of the Mishnah; (3) the essence of the Mishnah as Canon. In light of these issues we shall examine the changes that occurred in Judaism as a religion in the Ancient World.

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"Goi": A History of A Concept

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Hebrew Styles and their Usage in Contemporary Hebrew
This course analyzes the different styles in use in Modern Hebrew writing and Hebrew styles over the generations that influenced its development. The course will address a range of higher literature, press language and publicistic writing, as well as grammar of scientific-research writing and of office/formal writing. The course will be accompanied by a reading and analysis of text and exposure of the sources of various linguistic uses in the strata of the language over its generations and spanning its differing styles.

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Aspects of Poetic Language

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