JUS 321 Women in Judaism

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This course considers the women in Jewish biblical texts through several perspectives.  First, we study the ways in which scholars reconstruct the everyday lives of women in ancient Israel. Students gain an understanding of biblical material through the study of archaeological discoveries about rural life in ancient Palestine.  They learn to evaluate the nature of Israelite woman’s power within society by filling in the social and historical context.  After contextualizing “everywoman Eve,” the course focuses on literary analysis of the narratives of about women in Genesis including Sarah, the daughters of Lot, Hagar, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, Dinah, Tamar, and Potiphar’s wife.  Students learn the ways in which these persons shaped Israel’s identity and come to appreciate the role of women in Genesis.  Reading Judith Plaskow’s Standing at Sinai and Elyse Goldstein’s ReVisions, the final unit in our course deals with Jewish theological perspectives on women in the Torah and modern Jewish practice.   It is hoped that by the end of the course students will be able to describe multiple approaches to analyzing women in Judaism. 

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