Graduate-Level Courses: Hebrew and Judaic Studies (HEJS)

Uconn Campus


A terminal Master of Arts in Judaic Studies may be pursued. Students who wish to pursue the Doctorate of Arts degree do so through the Department of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages by combining their interest in a relevant culture and literature (e.g., German, Spanish, Italian, French, Arabic) with a concentration in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. Visit our Judaic Studies Graduate Program page to learn more.

Graduate-level courses offered in Hebrew and Judaic Studies:

HEJS 5300 – Topics in Biblical Studies:  Topics in the historical, literary, and philosophical study of the Bible with special emphasis on current methodological issues.

HEJS 5301 – Hebrew Wisdom Literature:  Systematic examination of classical wisdom texts in the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic Literature focusing on their contribution to world ethical literature.  Taught in English.

HEJS 5303 – Religion of Ancient Israel:  Significant aspects of the religion of ancient Israel: The god-human relationship, the origins of good and evil, law and covenant, kingship, prophecy, ritual and morality, repentance, and redemption.

HEJS 5305 – Bible and Archaeology:  Chronological and cultural structure of the Ancient Near East from the third millennium (3000 BCE) through the beginnings of the Byzantine period (4th century CE) with an emphasis on the textual information presented by the Bible.

HEJS 5311 – History and Literature of Talmudic Palestine:  A discussion of select topics and texts pertaining to religious, social, and political currents in Talmudic Palestine.

HEJS 5313 – Israel and the Ancient Near East:  History, literature, religion and archaeology of the Ancient Near East emphasizing the role Israel played within the context of Mesopotamia and Egyptian history and culture.

HEJS 5315 – Ancient Jewish Fictions:  Hellenistic Jewish Literature in the context of ancient fictions. Johnson

HEJS 5316 – Jewish Martyrdom in the Middle Ages:  Lecture and discussion on Medieval Studies, Religion, English, Comparative Literature – from late antiquity through the middle ages, from rabbinic legends to medieval resistance.

HEJS 5325 – Seminar on the Holocaust: Philosophical and Historical Issues: Study of philosophical and historical issues related to the occurrence and analysis of the Holocaust.

HEJS 5326/ENGL 6750/CLCS 5313 – Translating Scriptures:  Seminar style, open to students in Judaic Studies, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Medieval Studies, Classical and Mediterranean Studies, English, and Medieval Studies – others with permission.  This course examines the history of bible translation from some of its earliest iterations in the Greek Septuagint and Aramaic Targumim through the medieval and early modern period to the diverse modern Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish translations.  Studying translation raises critical questions about cultural and linguistic specificity, theoretical issues surrounding interpretation, not to mention rhetorical and formal matters.  The stakes are even higher when the text in question is considered sacred—and often read differently—by so many religious traditions.  We will read and compare selections from multiple translations in addition to the many letters, prefaces, and written controversies that emerged around different translation efforts.  No special knowledge of Hebrew or Greek is expected; students with knowledge of other languages who are interested in working on bible translations in those languages are enthusiastically encouraged to enroll. Shoulson

HEJS 5343 – Seminar on American Jewry:  Applications of sociological theory and methods to the analysis of American Jewry.

HEJS 5351 – Seminar on Modern Jewish Philosophy:  Study of the principal issues and figures in Jewish philosophy from the Enlightenment to the present.  topics considered include the nature (and possibility) of Jewish philosophy, the concepts of God, nature, and the world, the status of religious knowledge, law and practice, the concept of election in relation to the people and the land of Israel.  Thinkers to be considered and read include Moses Mendelssohn, Solomon Maimon, S.R. Hirsch, Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig, Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, A.J. Heschel, and Joseph Soloveitchik.  Prerequisite: at least 6 credits of Judaic Studies graduate courses.

HEJS 5353 – Modern European Jewish History:  Selected topics in Modern European Jewish History between the Enlightenment and the establishment of the State of Israel.

HEJS 5355 – Topics in Jewish Ethics:  Topics in Jewish ethics as reflected in literature and history, including social ethics, political ethics, economic and business ethics, sexual ethics, medical and bioethics, and others.

HEJS 5371 – Jews, Turks, and Moors in Early Modern Europe: Examination of the varied representations of Jews, Muslims, and Africans in early modern culture through a study of travel narratives, poetry, religious texts, and dramatic literature. Shoulson

HEJS 5390 – Independent Study: 

HEJS 5397 – Special Topics in Judaic Studies including:

HEJS 5397 – Talmudic Historiography: Using Talmudic sources for historical reconstruction.  Course includes critical study of the Talmud of the Land of Israel (the “Yerushalmi”) and the Babylonian Talmud (the “Bavli”) as well as of midrashic narratives. Miller

HEJS 5397 – Midrashic Narrative: An introduction to the corpus of rabbinic writings known as “Midrashic Literature.”  Includes both legal and non-legal materials with special attention to the various strategies used by the rabbis for understanding the biblical narrative. Miller

HEJS 5397 – Trauma and Literature: A Transcultural Perspective: A survey of recent writings on trauma that draws on anthropological, literary, psychoanalytic, sociological and therapeutic models of trauma and its meaning. Readings include classics in the field and more recent analyses of the emergence of “trauma studies” in literary and cultural studies. The theory is applied to a variety of case studies, beginning with my the professor’s research on medieval anti-Jewish violence and turning to the specific fields of interest and specialization of the students enrolled. This graduate course is open to upper-level undergraduates with the instructor’s permission. Einbinder

HEJS 5397- Modern Jewish Thought (also CLCS 3888-001 / HEJS 2104)

This course examines the Jewish encounter with modernity in its diverse and often conflicting manifestations.  We shall grapple with major ethical, religious, political, and cultural trends as they emerge from these encounters.  Among the major themes to be discussed: the tension between reason and belief exacerbated by the European Enlightenment and the rise of modern secularism; the growing conflict between the values placed on individual liberty and communal responsibility; the nature of relations between Jews and non-Jews, especially as interactions become more frequent, more intense, and more commonplace; the modern (re)emergence of Jewish messianism, Hasidism, and Zionism; the role of diaspora in modern Jewish thought; gender, sexuality, and Jewish identity.  The grad version will include more extensive readings and an independent research project. Three credits. Taught in English. Shoulson

HEJS 5397- Sociology of Anti-Semitism     (also SOCI 2509W)

This course will apply several perspectives of sociological analysis to the understanding and explanation of anti-Semitism within diverse societies.  Theoretical and empirical materials bearing on this topic will be examined and analyzed.  Students interested in such topics as religion, ethnicity, inter-group relations, prejudice, discrimination, and racism will enjoy the content.  The focus will be on introducing students to an understanding of the evolution of Jewish civilization, both within the context of the internal dynamics of the Jews and the external forces of anti-Semitism; to develop an understanding of anti-Semitism as a violation of human rights and that the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 emerged after the recognition of the consequences of the Holocaust; and to provide knowledge of the Jews as a victimized minority religious and ethnic group so as to better appreciate the experience of other victimized religious and ethnic minorities, as well as to more fully illuminate the issues of diversity and multiculturalism in the larger society in which they reside. Three credits. Taught in English.Fulfills CA 4 (Diversity & Multiculturalism) general education requirements.  Dashefsky


GRAD 5930: Full-Time Directed Studies (Master’s Level) (GRAD 397) 3.0 credits

GRAD 5950: Master’s Thesis Research (GRAD 395) 1-9 credits

GRAD 5960: Full-Time Master’s Research (GRAD 396) 3 credits.

GRAD 5998: Special Readings (Master’s) (GRAD 398) Non-credit.

GRAD 5999: Thesis Preparation (GRAD 399) Non-credit.