units

ATS3661

Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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LevelUndergraduate
FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Michael Fagenblat and Nathan Wolski

Notes

Previously coded JWC3280

Synopsis

From the 11th to the 13th centuries Jewish expression underwent a remarkable renaissance that saw the birth of its greatest philosophical and mystical exponents. We will study Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed as a universalistic philosophy of religion, as well as an exponent of the particulars of Jewish law. The second half of the course will examine the extraordinary rise of Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition that flourished in Spain from the end of the 13th century. Besides considering the relations between Maimonides and the mystics we will also examine the different but equally daring reading techniques of philosophers and mystics alike.

Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Understand and explain the central ideas and the intellectual context of the medieval renaissance in Jewish philosophy and mysticism.
  2. Analyse, describe, differentiate and trace the influences between the basic ideas of Maimonidean rationalism and the mysticism of the early Kabbalah.
  3. Read and analyse selected texts from Maimonides' The Guide of the Perplexed and his Code of Jewish Law and selected texts from The Zohar and the Gates of Light.
  4. Be familiar with contemporary scholarly debates concerning The Guide and The Zohar.

In addition, third-year students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to:

  1. Understand the influence between the medieval texts we examine and the Midrashic literature which it draws upon.
  2. Apply the reading and interpretative skills they have learned to unseen texts of the authors to be studied.
  3. Formulate and develop their own research question.

Assessment

Written work: 60%
Test: 30%
Participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2.5 hours (1 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1.5 hour tutorial) per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Prohibitions